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06/04/2002 - UCSB To Name Institute For Theoretical Physics For Industrialist And Philanthropist Fred Kavli

(Originally published by the University of California, Santa Barbara)

June 4, 2002

The Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara will be named in honor of Fred Kavli at a special campus ceremony to be held this Friday, June 7.

The internationally renowned institute hosts the world's leading physicists who come to Santa Barbara for special conferences and other programs dedicated to exploring some of the most challenging scientific questions of our time.

Kavli, a Norwegian-born physicist, founded and led the Kavlico Corporation to prominence as one of the world's largest suppliers of sensors for aeronautics, automotive, and industrial applications before selling the company two years ago. He subsequently established two philanthropic entities – the Kavli Foundation and the Kavli Institute – that are committed to supporting research for the benefit of humanity. The two organizations, which are based in Oxnard, are currently sponsoring research in theoretical physics, astrophysics, nanotechnology, photonics, oceanography, and earth system science.

The Kavli Foundation and Kavli Institute have provided landmark grants totaling $7.5 million to the Institute for Theoretical Physics and its programs. It is in recognition of this outstanding support that the institute is to be named in honor of Fred Kavli. A resident of Santa Barbara, Kavli is a trustee of The UCSB Foundation.

"These grants will have a lasting impact on our Institute for Theoretical Physics and the world's scientific community," said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. "Fred Kavli's pioneering spirit is an inspiration to us all. We are honored to have his name on this important institute."

David Gross, director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics, said that the Kavli support would enable the institute to respond more quickly to scientific developments. "To be really effective as the lightning rod for physics and all of its unfolding 21st-century ramifications, the Institute for Theoretical Physics must have the ability to respond rapidly to breakthroughs," said Gross. "Fred Kavli's support has given us that ability. He is both remarkably generous and remarkably visionary, and we are very grateful."

The institute is a national research center and currently receives $4 million annually from the National Science Foundation to support programs. The institute is located at UCSB because the university's proposal to the National Science Foundation 20 years ago to establish an institute for theoretical physics was selected over competing proposals from 50 other institutions. The institute is housed in Kohn Hall, a building designed by Michael Graves and named for the institute's founding director, Walter Kohn, a UCSB professor of physics who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1998. The institute is now developing plans for an addition to the building.

Kavli, Yang, Gross, and Kohn will be speaking at Friday's ceremony to name the institute. Other speakers will include Kip S. Thorne, the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology, and Fred Gluck, former Managing Director of McKinsey & Company who is co-chair of the institute's Director's Council and a trustee of The UCSB Foundation.

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