What is the goal of the new prizes?
Scientists are under-represented as heroes in our society. We intend to change that. This is not an objective in itself; it will in turn encourage younger people to go into science and also help to increase funding. The more attention you attract to science, the better off everybody will be.
Why do you think famous scientists are key to inspiring the next generation?
To inspire young people to go into science you need to show them the heroes of the present. People look at Usain Bolt and they go into running. You need role models to attract young talent. That is not emphasised in science. How many scientists are household names?
You launched physics prizes last year. Why did you create life sciences prizes as well?
Fundamental physics is at the forefront of answering big questions; I don't think there is any bigger question than the universe. The next set of big questions is about life – evolution, disease, genetics, longevity and so on. So the life sciences are a natural second step.