The Shaw Prize, an equivalent to the Nobel Prizes, is awarded to living “individuals, regardless of race, nationality and religious belief, who have achieved significant breakthrough in academic and scientific research or application, and whose work has resulted in a positive and profound impact on mankind.” in the fields of Astronomy, life science & medicine and Mathematics. The prize is a medal and $1 million. Instituted in 2004, 22 prizes have been awarded to 36 individuals, with the astronomy prize dominated by cosmology and extrasolar planets (consistent with the emphasis of recent years).
This year’s prize for astronomy was split between three individuals, Charles L Bennett, Lyman A Page Jr and David N Spergel leaders of the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, or WMAP satellite, which measured fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB.
A quick rundown of other prizes awarded to CMB scientists has been put up at SarahAskew.net.