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Supergravity theory wins scientists $3M Breakthrough Prize

•, By Erin Carson

The scientists who came up with the theory of supergravity in the 1970s are $3 million richer. 

The trio, physicists Sergio Ferrara, Daniel Z. Freedman and Peter van Nieuwenhuizen, won the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, according to a statement Wednesday. 

Supergravity is described in the prize announcement as a theory in which, "quantum variables are part of the description of the geometry of spacetime." 

"Supergravity is an amazing thing because it extends general relativity to a higher symmetry -- the dream of Einstein -- but none of us expected this," Ferrara said in a statement.

The Breakthrough prize, which bills itself as the "Oscars of Science" is sponsored by some big names from the tech world, including Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg and Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

Past recipients include Stephen Hawking for his discovery of "Hawking radiation from black holes, and his deep contributions to quantum gravity and quantum aspects of the early Universe."

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