The 10th Breakthrough Prize Ceremony was held over the weekend and brought out a truly random list of celebrities and billionaires. 


The Breakthrough Prize was established by billionaire Yuri Milner, a self-described “disappoint[ing] physicist” who hit the first tech wave at just the right moment in the 1990s to make a fortune. The Breakthrough Prize recognizes “laureates” in fundamental physics, life sciences, and mathematics. Billionaires are making the world worse, but at least Yuri Milner put some of his money toward celebrating the people who are making the discoveries and advancements that might make our world better, even if it is ultimately self-serving.


Speaking of billionaires making the world worse, of COURSE Elon Musk was there. The guy thinks he’s actually Tony Stark, and it’s events like these, at the cross section of science and celebrity, that feeds his delusion. That, and the time Jon Favreau included him in Iron Man 2 like Musk is Tony’s peer. 


Someone ask Jon Favreau if he regrets that, given how Musk has turned out. 


Tony Stark was at the ceremony, though, as Robert Downey, Jr. stepped out with his wife, Susan. Other celebrities at the event include, and I am not making this up: Brie Larson, Olivia Wilde, Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys (wearing Ralph Lauren, that was the showstopper Christy Turlington wore at the spring/summer 24 show last fall,  when I saw it, I immediately wondered who would wear it, but it looks a little underwhelming on Alicia. It needs more committed 70s styling), Jessica Chastain, Michelle Yeoh, Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom, Lizzo, Zoe Saldana and Marcus Perego, Margot Robbie, Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Glenn Close, Rob and Sheryl Lowe, Bradley Cooper, Venus Williams, and, naturally, Kris Jenner and Kim Kardashian.


Make ANY of that make sense. RDJ kind of makes sense because he popularized science in the movies, and Tony Stark is really the best marketing for billionaires, convincing a LOT of people that all techie billionaires—like Musk—are just smart rapscallions who will save us from ourselves. And the Kardashians also sort of make sense because while you cannot convince me they care about science or math, they are very rich, and straddle the line between the super wealthy and celebrities. But literally ANYONE else on that list? Why?? Celebrities, are you still so hard up for red carpet events after the dual strikes that this makes sense???


People who DO make sense at the Breakthrough Prize Ceremony are Bill Gates and his partner—girlfriend/boyfriend are dumb terms once you’re 40+—Paula Hurd, the widow of former Oracle CEO Mark Hurd. The tech billionaire dating pool is as incestuous as Hollywood, apparently, and everyone’s exes date each other. Joe Gebbia, billionaire co-founder of Airbnb (making the world worse every time!) and Wendi Dang also make sense, as does Canadian billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya, founder of Social Capital and man who once said, “Money gets to vote on good ideas.” (EVERY! TIME!)


The super rich tech bros are there to scout talent, the people and startups to back as their next venture investment. I understand what this event is, that while it’s nice the scientists and mathematicians who are actually doing the work to make advancements in human knowledge are recognized for that effort, ultimately, this is about investors finding new investments. But all these celebrities showing up like this is the Golden Globes? Explain yourselves!