WASHINGTON (JTA) — A physicist said he would probably donate part of the $3 million he won in a surprise award to J Street, the liberal pro-Israel group.
Edward Witten, a professor of mathematical physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton New Jersey, was one of nine physicists chosen by Yuri Milner, a Russian high-tech investor, to receive the $27 million Fundamental Physics Prize.
The award was made public this week, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the scientists were taken aback when Milner called beforehand to tell them; it is the first time he is awarding the prize.
Witten told the Inquirer that J Street, which presses for a greater US role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, would likely get some of the money. J Street congratulated Witten.
“I couldn’t be happier for Edward and that he is receiving the recognition he deserves for the work he does,” J Street director Jeremy Ben Ami said in an email to JTA. “We’re very appreciative as well that on a day celebrating his achievements, he thinks of other issues of importance to the world, such as the quest for Middle East peace.”