First Kavli Awards to Open World Science Festival

April 22, 2008

The World Science Festival ( will get underway in New York City on May 28 with an announcement naming the laureates of the three inaugural $1 million Kavli Prizes, honoring researchers in astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience. The Kavli Prizes are a partnership of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Kavli Foundation and the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.

World Science Festival

The naming of the first Kavli honorees will begin the World Science Summit, a single-day, invitation-only event at Columbia University designed to lead off the World Science Festival with a serious conversation among prominent researchers, policy-makers and widely-recognized business leaders about the important role science is playing in global affairs.

The winners will be announced during a live simulcast transmitted from Oslo, Norway at 9 a.m. in New York and 3 p.m. in Oslo. Joining the special event in New York will be Fred Kavli, founder and chairman of The Kavli Foundation, and Reidun Sirevåg, Secretary General of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo.

Among the special guests attending the announcements will be nine Nobel Laureates – David Baltimore, Steven Chu, David Gross, Dudley Herschbach, Leon Lederman, Sherwood Rowland, Horst Stormer, Harold Varmus, and Carl Wieman. Opening the Summit will be Columbia University President Lee Bollinger and World Science Festival Co-Founder Brian Greene, who will be joined by six-time Emmy Award-winning actor Alan Alda.

The Kavli Prizes recognize scientists for their seminal advances in astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience. Consisting of a scroll, medal and cash award of $1 million, each prize will be awarded every two years. Recipients are chosen by three prize committees comprised of distinguished international scientists recommended by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the French Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck Society, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and The Royal Society. The committees’ selections are then provided to the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, which reviews and then must confirm the selections before the choice of prize recipients is complete.

“The Kavli Prizes provide recognition for scientists worldwide whose work is taking humanity deeper into three of the most exciting scientific frontiers of the 21st century – astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience,” said Fred Kavli. “These are areas of science that strike at the core of understanding who we are and where we are going.”

Said Reidun Sirevåg, “We are pleased this announcement from the Norwegian Academy will be shared at the World Science Summit – a day itself dedicated to the advancement and celebration of science.”

“We’re delighted that the World Science Festival will help realize the vision of Fred Kavli by serving as the U.S. ‘launch pad’ for the Kavli Prize laureate announcements,” said Brian Greene, Co-Founder of the World Science Festival. ”The establishment of such impressive awards in three pivotal areas emphasizes the importance of basic scientific research and will provide a great honor for the inaugural winners.”

About the World Science Festival

The first annual World Science Festival will take place in New York City from May 28-June 1, 2008. The festival is a production of the Science Festival Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in New York City co-founded by Brian Greene and Tracy Day. On the Web:

The Kavli Prize


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