The Kavli Foundation
Newsletter Vol. 3, Issue 3 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, visit:
Kavli Prize


A Conversation with Charles M. Vest,
Forum Moderator

Charles Vest, president, National Academy of Engineering
Charles M. Vest

On September 6 in Oslo, Norway, the 2010 Kavli Prize Science Forum will bring together some of the most influential science policy figures in the world to discuss "The Role of International Cooperation in Science."

Moderating the event will be Charles M. Vest, former president of MIT and now president of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. In an interview ahead of the inaugural forum, Vest discusses the goals of this year's Forum and why international cooperation gets to the heart of some of the most basic issues facing the world's growing network of scientists. "It is in everyone's best interest if science proceeds cooperatively, efficiently, and effectively by engaging more people around the world." Read story


Among Key Questions at Forum: Can Science Balance Cooperation and Competition?

Keynote speakers (left-right): John P. Holdren, science advisor to President Barack Obama, and Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, Secretary-General of the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization
Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker and John Holdren
Cooperation comes naturally to science, but are competitive forces -- now stronger than in the past -- working against globally collaborative science?

This will be one of the issues addressed at the inaugural Kavli Prize Science Forum -- a biennial event aimed at facilitating high-level, global discussion of major topics on science and science policy. This year's focus: "The Role of International Cooperation in Science." Read story


The Future of Computing, From Extreme to Green

Can computing keep up with the needs of science?

In September, leading scientists from neuroscience, nanoscience, astrophysics, computer science and engineering will discuss this question in Tromso, Norway, continuing a dialogue that began at last year's Kavli Futures Symposium. Among the key topics -- the possibility of extremely energy-efficient computing technologies that might mirror the efficiency of the human brain.

Left to right: Tom Abel, Andreas G. Andreou, William J. Dally and Terry Sejnowski
Ahead of this next symposium, four participants discuss some of the key ideas expected to be raised.

  • Tom Abel, Associate Professor of Physics at Stanford University and the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology;
  • Andreas G. Andreou, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science and the Center of Language and Speech Processing at Johns Hopkins University;
  • William J. Dally, the Willard R. and Inez Kerr Bell Professor in the Stanford University School of Engineering and former Chairman of the Stanford Computer Science Department;
  • Terry Sejnowski, Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Francis Crick Professor at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
"I think going forward... all computing is going to have to become more green, because it's all energy-limited," says Dally. " ...It all boils down to performance per watt. And I think that, to achieve performance per watt, ...a lot of the evolution of what happened to computing in the 1980s and 1990s, much of it is going to be reversed, because it was all about getting performance at any cost." Read story

Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey Released

ALERT: A special interview with survey chair Roger Blandford and committee member Michael Turner will be issued via email later this week.

Astro2010 Decadal SurveyThe National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council has released "New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics," the result of a two-year process involving hundreds of scientists that ranks priorities in U.S. astronomy and astrophysics for the next decade.

At the top of the list for large-scale missions are the ground-based Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, or LSST, and a space-based observatory called the Wide-field Infrared Survey Telescope which is based on proposed designs for the Joint Dark Energy Mission. Read story

More Astrophysics News

New Nanopore Devices May Significantly Impact Screening of DNA Molecules

Artistic rendering of DNA translocation through a graphene nanopore.A team of researchers from the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at Delft University of Technology announced a new type of nanopore devices that may significantly impact the way we screen DNA molecules. In a paper published online in Nano Letters, they report on a novel technique to fabricate tiny holes in a layer of graphene (a carbon layer with a thickness of only 1 atom), managing to detect the motion of individual DNA molecules that travel through such a hole. Read story

More Nanoscience News

UCSB Researcher Co-Authors New Study of Magnon Hall Effect in Insulators

In a paper published in Science, UC Santa Barbara's Hosho Katsura, a postdoctoral researcher at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, and five other co-authors say they have observed a magnon Hall effect in magnets. The Hall effect occurs when a voltage difference is produced across an electrical conductor that runs through an electric current in the conductor, perpendicular to the magnetic field. This is the first time physicists have shown the Hall effect can be created in magnets without the benefit of a charge current. Read story

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Kavli Prize Science Forum: Interview with Charles M. Vest; Balancing Cooperation and Competition
2010 Kavli Futures Symposium: Extreme and Green Computing
Astrophysics: Astro2010 Decadal Survey Issued
Nanoscience: New Nanopore Devices May Impact Screening of DNA Molecules
Theoretical Physics: New Insight into the Magnon Hall Effect
Neuroscience: Brain May Be Hardwired with Working Navigational Neurons

Research Suggests the Brain Comes Hard-Wired with Working Navigational Neurons

Are 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

More Neuroscience News


Kavli Nanoscience Institute at the California Institute of Technology. Institute co-director Michael Roukes was one of Caltech's two recipients of the 2010 NIH Director's Pioneer Award, which is given to scientists for their innovative and high-impact biomedical research programs. ... Nathan S. Lewis and Harry Atwater, two founding board members of KNI, will be part of the leadership for a US Energy Innovation Hub aimed at developing revolutionary methods to generate fuels directly from sunlight. Lewis will direct the hub.

Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. In a New York Times story, "Bronx Up, Battery Down; It's Your Sense of Direction," Rosamund Langston discusses how the brain may be hard-wired with working navigatonal neurons. (See above: "Research Suggests the Brain Comes Hard-Wired with Working Navigational Neurons")

Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscience, Cornell University. The Institute announced the appointment of three KIC Postdoctoral Fellows: Yongjie Hu (PhD Harvard University); Yih-Fan Chen (PhD University of Michigan); and Matthew Graham.

Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University. Randy Bruno was named a 2010 Rita Allen Foundation Scholar - a program supporting researchers in the fields of analgesics, cancer, immunology and neuroscience. ... Nate Sawtell's research was featured in Neuron: "Multimodal integration in granule cells as a basis for associative plasticity and sensory prediction in a cerebellum-like circuit." ... Atila Losonczy's research was featured in Nature Neuroscience: "Network mechanisms of theta related neuronal activity in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons."

Kavli Institute for Neuroscience at Yale University. In Nature, Stephen M. Strittmatter provided further evidence that PrPc binding of A-β is a key early player in the cognitive decline of ADKIBM. ... The New England Journal of Medicine reported on a study led by Matthew W. State suggesting that histamine plays a role in Tourette's syndrome. ... David McCormick's research was featured in Neuron: "Endogenous Electric Fields May Guide Neocortical Network Activity," which suggests that cortical LFPs contribute to synchronization of the very network that generates them.

MIT Kavli Science Journalism Workshop. Liz Kruesi, associate editor with Astronomy magazine, attended this summer's Kavli Science Journalism Workshop on the Universe and wrote about her experience on