The Kavli Foundation
Spring  2014
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Announcement of the
2014 Kavli Prize Laureates
Kavli Prize Medal LIVE WEBCAST from the Norwegian Academy of Science & Letters in Oslo and the World Science Festival in New York City.


Date: May 29

Time: 8:30 - 10:00am EDT 



Opening Tribute to Fred Kavli
* Alan Alda - Actor, Director and Writer
* Brian Greene - Physicist and Co-Founder, World Science Festival
* Eric Kandel - Director, Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University


Announcement of the 2014 Kavli Prize Laureates

* Presentation by Nils Chr. Stenseth - President,
  Norwegian Academy of Science & Letters

* Remarks by Kavli Prize Committee Chairs

* Moderator: Adam Rutherford - Geneticist, Author and Broadcaster  


The Big, the Small, and the Complex: Panel Discussion

* Ann Graybiel, 2012 Kavli Prize Laureate Neuroscience

* Martin Rees, Master of Trinity College and Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, University of Cambridge

* Paul Weiss, Fred Kavli Chair in Nanosystems Sciences, UCLA  

* Moderator: Richard Besser - ABC News


 Program details and webcast information

Mary Sue Coleman, President of the University of Michigan  Richard A. Meserve, President of the Carnegie Institution for Science Gunnar K. Nilsen, President of BizArch Advisors
The Kavli Foundation Announces Three  New Board Directors

The Kavli Foundation's Board of Directors has announced the election of three new board members: Mary Sue Coleman, President of the University of Michigan; Richard A. Meserve, President of the Carnegie Institution for Science; and Gunnar K. Nilsen, President of BizArch Advisors.


With these appointments, the Foundation expands its Board of Directors from five to eight directors.  Board membership had been reduced from seven by the passing in late 2013 of both Fred Kavli, Founder and Founding Chairman of The Kavli Foundation, and Charles M. Vest, Past President of the National Academy of Engineering and President Emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Full story  

Alda Kavli Leadership Program
Alda Center for Communicating Science Establishes Leadership Program

The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science has established a communications workshop program specifically for scientists already on the front lines representing their field or institution.  


Called the "Alda Kavli Leadership Program," the program includes specialized versions of the Alda Center's core workshop communications sessions, along with a selection of additional sessions that target specific needs, such as engaging the media, government, donors or other important constituencies. Scientists who complete the workshop will also have access to mentoring, coaching and other follow-up activities uniquely designed for this program. In addition, program alumni will have access to an interactive web-based resource center to be launched later this year. Learn more  



Secrets of the Universe's First Light   


John Carlstrom, Walter Ogburn, Abigail Vieregg and Michael Turner The world was stunned by the recent announcement that a telescope at the South Pole had detected a cosmic fossil from the earliest moments of creation.

During a live Google Hangout, astrophysicists John Carlstrom, Walter Ogburn, Michael S.Turner and Abigail Vieregg discussed what it might reveal about the history and future of our universe. "The theoretical community is abuzz," said Dr. Turner, Director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. "We got the signal we were looking for -- that's good -- but we shouldn't have gotten one according to the highbrow theorists because they said it should be too small. So we also got a surprise. And often in science, that's the case." Webcast and transcript

Searching for Dark Matter  


Blas Cabrera, Dan Hooper and Tim Tait In late February, dark matter hunters from around the world gathered at UCLA for "Dark Matter 2014." Between sessions, three leading physicists -- Blas Cabrera, Dan Hooper and Tim Tait -- discussed the meeting's biggest highlights and prospects for future progress. Said Dr. Cabrera, "A discovery of dark matter ...[means] we would have identified the dominant form of matter in the universe that seeded structure and led to galaxies, solar systems and planets, and ultimately to our Earth with intelligent life."  Full story 




Stellar Explosions & Death Dances


Norbert Schulz and Nicola Omodei When a star dies, its final gasps can trigger the most powerful blasts of energy in the universe. They can also lead to a bizarre death dance as the voracious corpse of a dead star begins consuming a nearby companion.


In February,  a live hangout focused on the recent detection of a dying star igniting the most powerful blast ever seen -- something so powerful it radiated energy that was 500 million times that of visible light -- and the discovery that a familiar sight in the skies is actually our earliest view yet of a star being consumed by the remnant of a nearby exploded star. Joining the discussion: two of the astronomers key to these discoveries, Nicola Omodei and Norbert Schulz. View webcast 


Astrophysics News


The Next Life of Silicon

     Gabriel Aeppli, Andrei Faraon, Thomas Schenkel, Philip Wong, and Amnon Yariv

We live in the age of silicon, yet silicon microprocessors have begun to show signs of age, and for all its flexibility, silicon may be part of the problem. Researchers are already investigating new types of integrated circuits that might solve silicon's problems by communicating information with light or looking to quantum mechanics for computing. But is silicon up for the challenge, or are we entering a new age? And if so, what might that be? Five experts discussed the future of silicon.

  • Gabriel Aeppli - Professor of Physics at University College, London and former Director of the London Centre for Nanotechnology
  • Andrei Faraon - Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Material Science at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • Thomas Schenkel - Group Leader, Ion Beam Technology Group, at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • H.-S. Philip Wong - Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University   
  • Amnon Yariv - Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering at Caltech   

"I believe silicon is not at the middle or the end of its life," said Dr. Wong, "but having a midlife crisis and now is poised to do something different." Full story 


Nanoscience News


Aging and the Changing Landscape of Memory


Fred Gage, Scott A. Small and Craig Stark

For most of us, a declining memory is a normal consequence of growing old. But why? What's happening in the brain that causes age-related memory decline, and is there anything we can do to slow this decline? 


Gathering evidence in recent years suggests that the brain's ability to make new neurons in a region called the hippocampus -- specifically in a sub-region called the dentate gyrus -- is important for the acquisition of memories. This capacity for neurogenesis declines as we age, and the result is a decline in at least one kind of memory, studies show.  


But that's not where the story ends. As neuroscientists develop a more complex understanding of how memory works and the impact of aging, they're learning how exercise, an improved diet and staying mentally active may boost our ability to make new neurons where they're needed to preserve and maintain memory.


Three neuroscientists spoke recently about this emerging consensus and what they hope to learn in coming years about the changing landscape of memory as we age. The participants:

  • Fred "Rusty" Gage - Professor in the Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and member of the executive committee of the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind (KIBM) at the University of California, San Diego
  • Scott A. Small  - Professor of Neurology at Columbia University, Director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Columbia, and member of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science (KIBS)
  • Craig Stark - Professor, Professor of Neurobiology and Behavior at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), and Director of UCI's Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

Said Dr. Gage, "It's an exciting time ...[because] along with gaining a better understanding of the different types of memory, we're getting a better understanding of how we acquire, store and retrieve information."  Full Story  

Superluminal Communication, 2014 Kavli Science Video Contest
Winner of the 2014 Kavli Science Video Contest

"Science in Fiction" Video Contest Winners Honored at Science Festival 

The Kavli Foundation and the USA Science & Engineering Festival honored the winners of the 3rd Kavli Science Video contest -- an international middle and high school student competition held as part of the USA Science & Engineering Festival.

For this year's contest, the USA Science & Engineering Festival challenged students to explore how science is portrayed in the movies. Using scenes from popular science fiction movies, TV shows and video games, students created :30-:90 videos that investigated how science fictional scenes could be realized using current and developing technologies. With entry topics ranging from "Superluminal Communication" to the "A-Z's of Zombies," a panel of science and entertainment experts reviewed the entries and selected the winners.

The Kavli Science Video contest was designed to challenge students to investigate science through video storytelling while promoting participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects. Contestants this year came from all regions of the US, and as far overseas as the Philippines.The winners were honored in Washington, D.C., before a standing-room only audience at the the 3rd USA Science and Engineering Festival. View winning videos
2014 Kavli Prize Announcements
Foundation Announces New Board Directors
Alda Center Announces Leadership Program
Astrophysics News
Nanoscience News
Neuroscience News
USA Science Video Contest Winners
Science Journalism Symposium Issues Report
Community News
Kavli Symposium on Science Journalism Issues Report

The first Kavli Symposium on the Future of Science Journalism has issued a report summarizing the discussions and recommendations of its participants -- about  50 journalists and experts from 16 countries, who took part in plenary and breakout working sessions.

A collaboration with the World Federation of Science Journalists, and supported by the International Development Research Centre of Canada, the symposium was an opportunity to consider a selection of issues important to the field: defining science journalism, opportunities for international collaboration, and new tools and business models for science journalism. Topics were selected by a steering committee of science journalists.  Read overview and full report 

Community News


Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge (KICC)  George Efstathiou has been re-elected director of KICC and has accepted the position for a further three years. ... Michele Trenti, Kavli Institute Fellow, will be a faculty member at the Vatican Observatory's 2014 biennial summer school in astronomy and astrophysics. 


 Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at the Delft University of Technology (KIND)  In March, KIND celebrated its 10 Year Anniversary. ... In April, the Institute organized a colloquium featuring key note speaker Hongkun Park of Harvard University. ... Cees Dekker and Leo Kouwenhoven were named Knights in the Order of the Netherlands Lion for their pioneering scientific work of great social relevance.

Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University, Beijing, China (KIAA)  Luis C. Ho has been formally named director of KIAA and Wu Xue-Bing was officially appointed as the new associate director of KIAA.


Kavli Institute for Neuroscience at Yale University (KIN)  David McCormick was elected to the American Academies of Arts and Sciences. ... Pasko Rakic received the Child Mind Institute Distinguished Scientist Award for his "groundbreaking work in developmental neuroscience."

Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science (KIC)  KIC elected Chris Evans as a new Postdoctoral Fellow. ... Jin Sunvitich is joining KIC as a professor of  Materials Science and Engineering.  

Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford (KIPAC)  KIPAC held a special colloquium after the announcement of the first direct evidence of cosmic inflation. Participants included Chao-Lin Kuo, co-leader of the BICEP2 collaboration, and Andrei Linde, author of inflationary cosmology. (See video of colloquium and related newsletter story, "Secrets of the Universe's First Light.")


University of California, Los Angeles  Paul S. Weiss, Fred Kavli Professor of Nanosystems Sciences, has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  


Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (KISN)  May-Britt and Edvard Moser were elected Foreign Associates of the US National Academy of Sciences. May-Britt Moser is the first Norwegian woman to receive this esteemed membership, and the Mosers are the youngest Norwegians ever to be elected. The Mosers also received the 2014 Karl Spencer Lashley Award, which honors innovative work that continues exploration in the field of Neuroscience. ... Menno Witter was elected board member of the Norwegian Health Association's Dementia Research Program. The board will allocate research funding, work towards a broader international cooperation and stimulate interdisciplinary cooperation within dementia research. ... Yasser Roudi was awarded the Fridjof Nansen prize for young scientists at the annual meeting of The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.    


Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe at the University of Tokyo (Kavli IPMU)  Kavli IPMU and Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. established the Endowed Research Unit: Dark side of the Universe. This is the first endowed research unit for the field of fundamental science in the University of Tokyo. ... The 2014 Spring Prize of the Mathematical Society of Japan was awarded to Yukinobu Toda for his outstanding contributions toward "derived categories of algebraic varieties."


Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara (KITP)   

KITP has been awarded $1.5 million over five years by EPiQS, a program of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, to establish the  Moore Postdoctoral Theory Scholars Program.
Scholars will have appointments of up to three years at KITP. ... Anthony Zee has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. ... Joseph Polchinski has been named the 59th Annual Faculty Research Lecturer at UCSB. Faculty Research Lecturer is considered the highest honor bestowed by the university faculty on one of its members.


Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University  (KIBS)  Thomas M. Jessell was awarded the 2014 Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science. The Vilcek Foundation honors the contributions of immigrants to the American arts and science. Jessell was selected for "his pioneering work in discovering the principles of the molecular mechanisms that direct neuronal diversity and circuit assembly in the vertebrate central nervous system."   


Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago (KICP)  Wayne Hu has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. ... Nick Gnedin became a fellow of the American Physical Society "for pioneering work in computational cosmology, which has led to a deep understanding of the Lyman alpha forest and reionization of the universe"... KICP welcomes three new fellows in the Fall of 2014; Jason Henning,  Silvia Galli, and Dan Scolnic.


Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute at the University of California, Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Kavli ENSI)   

Eli Yablonovitch of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Materials Sciences Division, and a member of Kavli ENSI, 
was awarded the 2014 Rank Prize in Optoelectronics. The Rank Prizes are awarded to individuals who have made a significant contribution to certain scientific fields, and where an initial idea has been carried through to practical applications that have, or will, demonstrably benefit mankind.


Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology at Harvard University  Joanna Aizenberg and Michael Brenner were elected into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Joanna Aizenberg was also selected as a 2014 MRS Fellow "for pioneering contributions in fundamental understanding of biological materials; and for design and assembly of biomimetic architectures with controlled wetting, optical, and mechanical response." ...  Katia Bertoldi was selected to receive the 2014 Thomas J. R. Hughes Young Investigator Award of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).