The Kavli Foundation
NewsletterVol. 3, Issue 2 2010
Dedicated to the advancement of science for the benefit of humanity, The Kavli Foundation supports scientific research, honors scientific achievement, and promotes public understanding of scientists and their work. For more information,
Kavli Prize


Laureates Will Be Honored at Ceremony in Oslo, Norway

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announced on June 3rd the recipients of the 2010 Kavli Prizes. The 2010 laureates are:

Astrophysics - Jerry E. Nelson (University of California, Santa Cruz and Lick Observatory, US), Raymond N. Wilson (European Southern Observatory, Garching, Germany) and James Roger Prior Angel (Steward Observatory, University of Arizona), recognized for their contributions to the development of giant telescopes.

Nanoscience - Donald M. Eigler (Almaden Research Center, US) and Nadrian C. Seeman (New York University, US), recognized for their development of unprecedented methods to control matter on the nanoscale.

Neuroscience - Richard H. Scheller (Genentech, US), Thomas C. Südhof (Stanford University School of Medicine, US) and James E. Rothman (Yale University, US), recognized for discovering the molecular basis of neurotransmitter release. Full story


Ceremony and Science Forum Among Prize Week Highlights in Norway, September 6-9

Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker and John Holdren In a gala ceremony on September 7 at the Oslo Concert Hall, His Majesty King Harald of Norway will present the Kavli Prizes in Astrophysics, Nanoscience and Neuroscience to the eight 2010 Kavli Prize laureates.

The ceremony highlights a week dedicated to science, beginning Monday, September 6 with the Kavli Prize symposia followed by the Kavli Prize Science Forum. The Forum is a new biennial international event at which scientists and science policy leaders can present and discuss major topics of global importance.

Keynote speakers for the 2010 Forum are John Holdren, Science Advisor to President Barack Obama and  Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, the first Secretary General of the European Research Council and now the Secretary General of the Human Frontier Science Program.  More information on the Kavli Prize Ceremony and Week. More information on the Kavli Prize Science Forum.


The Adaptive Brain in Action:
An Interview with Tobias Bonhoeffer

Tobias BonhoefferTobias Bonhoeffer, a director at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried, Germany, is a leading researcher on how the brain adapts to its environment. Armed with new imaging methods such as two-photon microscopy, he and his colleagues are now able to view the ongoing alterations of neural circuitry in living animals.

Bonhoeffer will be sharing some results of this research at the FENS Forum of European Neuroscience in Amsterdam. In a special interview, Bonhoeffer discusses recent advances in his science and where he sees it heading, including how imaging advances may be bringing scientists closer to the point when they can not only describe precisely how learning occurs at the cellular and molecular level, but also understand which are the structures where knowledge is stored. Read interview

Cornell's Kavli Institute Refocuses on
New Tools for Nanoscience

McEuen and MullerTo expand the boundaries of nanoscience, the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science is now devoted to the development and utilization of next-generation tools for exploring the nanoscale world. Recently, the new director of the Cornell Institute -- Physics Professor Paul McEuen -- and its new co-director -- Professor of Applied and Engineering Physics David A. Muller -- discussed their plans for KIC and the direction of research in their fields. Read interview

AT KIPAC, Risa Wechsler is Shedding Light on the Dark Side

Risa WechslerRisa H. Wechsler may have established a record among Kavli-affiliated scientists.

An assistant professor of physics at Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Wechsler is a member of the Kavli Institute for Particle Physics and Cosmology (KIPAC). It's a position she accepted after serving as a member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago. In the course of her career, she has also attended several workshops on galaxy formation, cosmology, and gravitational lensing at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and twice participated in the Kavli Frontiers of Science program.

In short, her career path has led to three Kavli institutes and one program, giving her particularly extensive roots in the Kavli community. Full story

Spotlight On
The Kavli Institute for Cosmology Cambridge

CambridgeLast year, the Kavli Institute for Cosmology Cambridge (KICC) opened the doors to its new home - a building specially designed to bring together scientists from the University's Institute of Astronomy, Cavendish Laboratory (the Department of Physics) and the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. The goal: providing a single site where cosmologists from different academic departments could share knowledge and work together on major projects.

Explains George Efstathiou, KICC'S director, "The spread of research across departments owes much to the natural divisions that resulted from the diverse 'tool boxes' used to study different areas of cosmology, such as the events following the Big Bang, the birth of stars, the structure of the Universe and so on. Today, though, there are increasing overlaps and it makes sense to integrate research programs where there is common ground." Full story


An Innate Sense Of Direction

Rats from the NTNU Kavli Institute research labAre we born with an innate sense of direction, or is it learned? Research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience suggests that the brain comes hard-wired with working navigational neurons. While these neurons - head direction cells, place cells and grid cells - mature over time, they appear to function in rodents as soon as they make their first exploratory steps outside the nest. Full story

Researchers Make Magnetic Sheets Just Nanometers Thick

lanthanum strontium manganite.Using cutting-edge spectroscopy at atomic resolutions, researchers led by David A. Muller, professor of applied and engineering physics and co-director of the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science, have figured out why a metal oxide complex called lanthanum strontium manganite loses much of its ferromagnetism when scaled to nanometer thickness, as well as how to grow ultra-thin manganite films that retain their magnetic properties. Perfecting such a technique could pave the way for manganites and other oxides to replace silicon in thin-film electronics, memory storage and other technologies. Full story

More Nanoscience News

Follow us on Twitter

In This Issue
2010 Kavli Prize Winners Announced; Ceremony, Science Forum in Oslo
Neuroscience: An Interview with Tobias Bonhoeffer
Nanoscience: Cornell's Kavli Institute Shifts Focus
Astrophysics: Profile of KIPAC's Risa Wechsler
Spotlight: Kavli Institute for Cosmology Cambridge
Neuroscience News
Nanoscience News
Astrophysics News
Kavli Science Video Contest at USA Science & Engineering Festival

Michael Turner Named Director of Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics

The University of Chicago named Michael S. Turner as director of its Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, which is committed to probing some of the most puzzling scientific questions about the origin and evolution of the universe. Full story

More Astrophysics News

USA Science & Engineering Festival
Kavli Science Video Contest at USA Science & Engineering Festival

The Kavli Foundation is challenging K-12 students to grab a video camera and show the world why they love science.

The nationwide contest is part of the USA Science & Engineering Festival, which will be held October 10-24, 2010 in Washington, DC. This two-week celebration of science, based in the nation's capital, includes events ranging from student brown bag lunches with Nobel Laureates to a two-day Science Expo featuring close to 500 science and engineering organizations.

Students nationwide are invited to submit entries for the video contest, with cash awards and prizes for the top entries. The best videos will be shown at the Festival's Expo on October 23-24, 2010, where hundreds of thousands of science fans are expected to gather on D.C.'s National Mall. The first place winner will also receive a travel stipend to attend the Expo. Deadline is August 31. Rules and a submission form can be found here.


National Academy of Sciences. David A. Weitz, co-director of the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science & Technology at Harvard University, and Terrence J. Sejnowski, executive committee member of the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind at the University of California, San Diego, were elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Sten Grillner, one of three recipients of the 2008 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience, was elected as a foreign associate.

Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.The Institute and the Centre for the Biology of Memory have expanded into the theoretical field of computational neuroscience by bringing on board physicist Yasser Roudi. Roudi is establishing a research group to study the theoretical aspects of learning and memory from the worlds of mathematics and physics. Said Roudi, "The Kavli Institute is among the best in the world in its field. ... In this work, there is a great advantage to having access to the experimental data from the Kavli Institute. Even theoretical work is ultimately tied to experimental research in the sense that the results are only useful if they can be tested through experiments."

Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscience, Cornell University. KIC director Paul McEuen has been appointed director of Cornell's Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics, a major center for research in the area of condensed matter physics and related areas founded in 1959. ... KIC co-director David Muller was one of eight recipients of Cornell's Provost Award for Distinguished Scholarship for 2010, receiving the award in honor of his work in the atomic scale characterization of interfaces. ... KIC member Dan Ralph has been appointed director of the Cornell Nanoscience Facility, a prestigious national user facility that supports a broad range of nanoscale science and technology.

Kavli Institute for Bionano Science & Technology at Harvard University. KIBST co-director David Weitz announced a new start-up company named GnuBio. According to the Boston Globe, the company's plans include marketing technology that can sequence a human genome in hours at low cost.

Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, UC San Diego. KIBM has announced the eight recipients of its Innovative Research Grants. The grants provide seed money for imaginative, high-risk projects that typically unite the efforts of several laboratories. The eight selected projects were chosen for bridging disciplinary boundaries to further understanding of the origins, evolution and mechanisms of human cognition - from the brain's physical and biochemical machinery to the experiences and behaviors of the mind.

Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC, Santa Barbara. KITP Professor A. Zee was recently interviewed in-depth by Princeton Press about his book,"Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell," a book praised by Physics Today for bringing alive the "sheer beauty and elegance" of the field. Read interview