The Kavli Foundation
Vol. 6, Issue 1  2013
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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:
Let's Talk Science: Why It's More Important Than Ever for Scientists to Engage the Public

Three communications specialists state a strong case for why scientists benefit from engaging the world about their work -- as well as offer advice on how to do so effectively.   
Irion, Lohwater and Schneider
Left to right: Robert Irion (UC Santa Cruz), Tiffany Lohwater (AAAS) and Howard Schneider (Stony Brook University)

Never before have there been so many opportunities for working scientists to reach out to the public about their work.. and with topics ranging from global climate change to public funding of scientific research, perhaps no better time for doing so. But how best to engage the public? To discuss in-depth, the Foundation brought together three educators specialized in science communication:
  • Robert Irion - Program Director for the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, which prepares people with a background in science for a career in journalism;
  • Tiffany Lohwater - Director of Meetings and Public Engagement at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), where she plays a lead role implementing workshops on science communication for scientists;
  • Howard Schneider - Dean of the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University and a co-founder of the Center for Communicating Science, which provides instruction nationwide to future and current scientists interested in communicating more effectively with the public. Read more 

Nck SpitzerA Conversation with KIBM's Nicholas Spitzer

Nicholas Spitzer is co-director of the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind at the University of California, San Diego. He is also someone who has made a priority of educating the public about his field, whether conducting interviews for UC-TV or serving as the inaugural editor-in-chief of In a special interview, Spitzer discussed why engaging the public about neuroscience has been personally gratifying, and how it has benefited and influenced his own work.  Read more 


Alan Alda Video: Alan Alda on "Helping the Public Get Beyond a Blind Date With Science"

About 30 scientists spent two days in a communication workshop hosted by the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology and presented by Stony Brook University's Center for Communicating Science. See evening address by Alan Alda and read about the workshop  



Kavli Prize Week Events on Video 


In September, the Kavli Prize Week was held in Oslo, Norway, with events ranging from the Prize Ceremony to the Kavli Prize Science Forum. The following events were recorded and are now available for viewing on The Kavli Foundation website:  

Kavli Prize Laureate Lectures.
The public lectures by the 2012 Kavli Prize Laureates, presented at the Blindern Campus of the University of Oslo. See Lectures
2012 Kavli Laureates

Kavli Prize Ceremony 2012
David Jewitt, Jane Luu and Michael Brown receive the 2012 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics (Credit: Scanpix)
Kavli Prize Science Forum
2012 Kavli Prize Science Forum
2012 Kavli Prize Ceremony.
His Majesty King Harald presents the Kavli Prizes in Astrophysics, Nanoscience and Neuroscience to the seven laureates from the US and Germany at a ceremony and gala performance at the Oslo Concert Hall. Masters of Ceremony: Āse Kleveland and Alan Alda. See Ceremony


2012 Kavli Prize Science Forum.  

"Science and Global Health: The Role of Basic Science." The global nature of disease calls for global solutions. So how can science help? On September 3, 2012, four international scientific experts met in Oslo, Norway to address this issue during the 2nd biennial Kavli Prize Science Forum. See Forum 


Are We Closing In On Dark Matter?

Chandra Image
In this image, dark matter and normal matter have been wrenched apart by the tremendous collision of two large clusters of galaxies. (Credit:Chandra/NASA)
This fall, a colloquium brought together more than 100 cosmologists, particle physicists and observational astrophysicists - three fields now united in the hunt to determine what is dark matter. Their goal: to take stock of the latest theories and findings about dark matter, assess just how close we are to detecting it and spark cross-disciplinary discussions and collaborations aimed at resolving the dark matter puzzle.

So where do things stand? Following the meeting, four leading participants and organizers shared their assessments:

  • Roger Blandford, Director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology;  
  • Rocky Kolb, Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago and member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics;
  • Maria Spiropulu, Professor of Physics at California Institute of Technology;
  • Michael Turner, Director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics.
"[W]e need to discover what exactly is dark matter," said Kolb. "The excitement now is that we are closing in on an answer, and only once in the history of humans will someone discover it." Full story

Astrophysics News
Very First Stars May Have "Turned On" When the Universe was 750 Million Years Old - MKI
Shining a Light on Dark Galaxies - KICC
Magnetism Combines with Gravity to Shape Black Hole's Environment - KIPAC
A Burst of Activity in the Middle of the Milky Way - MKI
NASA'S Fermi Measures Cosmic 'Fog' Produced by Ancient Starlight - KIPAC
A New Detector is Seeking the Nature of Dark Matter - KICP
First Evidence that Yellow Supergiant Became Supernova - Kavli IPMU
Hubble Goes to the eXtreme to Assemble Farthest Ever View of the Universe - KICC
First Images from the Dark Energy Camera Help SLAC-Stanford Astrophysicists Seek the Invisible - KIPAC
World's Most Powerful Digital Camera Opens Eye, Records First Images In Hunt For Dark Energy - KICP
First Stars, Galaxies Formed More Rapidly Than Expected - KICP


Investment of 51 Million Euro for Nanoscience in TU Delft and Leiden University


TU Delft and Leiden University in the Netherlands have announced that, with an amount of 51 million euro -- one of the largest ever Dutch investments in fundamental science -- scientists at the institutions will be embarking on the research programme "NanoFront," whose goal is exploring the frontiers of nanoscience in the coming ten years.


"We will be observing, monitoring and developing material at the ultimate scale: atom for atom, in a way that was completely inconceivable a few years ago," said research leader Cees Dekker, director of the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at Delft. "We will be investigating the limits of the nano world, both the quantum world in materials as well as the building blocks of living cells; the two most exciting fields in nanoscience. Moreover, we will be developing new technologies to make videos of the nano world in real time."


NanoFront will result in a major increase in the numbers of nanoscientists at Delft and Leiden. Dekker anticipates filling around one hundred new positions, including seven for prominent international scientists. Full story

Major European Investment for Building Block Quantum Computer


Quantum Computing - KIND
An important part of the grant will be used for the realization of a new laboratory. (Credit: TU Delft).
Constructing the first quantum computer switch has long been the ambition of Leo Kouwenhoven and Lieven Vandersypen from TU Delft and Carlo Beenakker from Leiden University. Now, they feel the time is right to make the move towards producing a working computer circuit, partly based on the recently discovered Majorana particle. In support of this goal, the European Union announced they would finance the study with 15 million euros.


"The research in Delft and Leiden is now so advanced that we expect to build an experimental computer circuit in the coming years in which the quantum state is protected," said Leo Kouwenhoven. "Our recent discovery of the Majorana particle will play an important role. If this works, we will have the most important building block for the quantum computer." Full story

Nanoscience News
Synchronized Nanoscale Oscillators May Spur New Devices - KIC
ERC Advanced Grant for Nanomagnets Awarded - KIND
Device Created that Can Focus Light at a Few Nanometers Across - KNI
In Birds' Development, Researchers Find Diversity By The Peck - KIBST

Researchers Develop New 'Stamping' Process To Pattern Biomolecules at High Resolution - UCLA
Hopping DNA Supercoils - KIND  


The Many Maps of the Brain

New findings from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology demonstrate that the grid system is in fact composed of a number of independent grid maps, each with unique properties. (Credit: Tor Stensola, CBM/Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience)

Your brain has at least four different senses of location - and perhaps as many as 10. And each is different, according to new research from the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience (KISN), at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

The findings, published in the December 6, 2012 issue of Nature, show that rather than just a single sense of location, the brain has a number of "modules" dedicated to self-location. Each module contains its own internal GPS-like mapping system that keeps track of movement, and has other characteristics that also distinguishes one from another.

"We have at least four senses of location," said KISN director Edvard Moser.  "Each has its own scale for representing the external environment, ranging from very fine to very coarse. The different modules react differently to changes in the environment. Some may scale the brain's inner map to the surroundings, others do not. And they operate independently of each other in several ways." Full story



Norwegian Research School of Neuroscience Established at NTNU
The Research Council of Norway has decided to fund ten new national research schools. Together they will receive a funding of 218M NOK. One of these research schools, The Norwegian Research School of Neuroscience, will be coordinated from The Norwegian Brain Center/Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at NTNU, by professor Menno Witter.


"The Norwegian Research School of Neuroscience will provide an important training opportunity for the next generation of Norwegian-trained neuroscientists by combining the specific expertise of the participating institutions," he said. "I expect that it will also pave the way for more extensive collaborative neuroscience in Norway." Full story

Neuroscience News
Novel Studies of Gene Regulation in Brain Development May Mean New Treatment of Mental Disorders - KIBM 


Important Strides Made in Studying Quantum Entanglement


Balents - KITP
Leon Balents, professor of physics and a permanent member of KITP (Credit: Rod Rolle)

Recently, theoretical physicists at KITP have made important strides in studying a concept in quantum physics called quantum entanglement, in which electron spins are entangled with each other. Using computers to calculate the extreme version of quantum entanglement -- how the spin of every electron in certain electronic materials could be entangled with another electron's spin -- the research team found a way to predict this characteristic. Future applications of the research are expected to benefit fields such as information technology.


"Quantum entanglement is a strange and non-intuitive aspect of the quantum theory of matter, which has puzzled and intrigued physicists since the earliest days of the quantum theory," said Leon Balents, senior author of a recent paper on this topic published in the journal Nature Physics. Balents is a professor of physics and a permanent member of KITP. Full story 



Theoretical Physics News
Strict Limit on CPT Violation from Gamma-Ray Bursts - Kavli IPMU  

Special Section on Science Communications
Kavli Prize Week Events on Video
Astrophysics News
Nanoscience News
Neuroscience News
Theoretical Physics News
2012 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards

Winners of the 2012 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards Announced    

Stories about the microbial hitchhikers we all harbor, the largest dam-removal project in North America, and issues raised by the new era of personal genomics are among the winners of the 2012 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards.

The awards go to professional journalists for distinguished reporting for a general audience.The winning print and online entries appeared in the The New York Times, Smithsonian magazine, KQED QUEST (San Francisco), WGBH/NOVA, The Seattle Times and American Public Media. The winning entry for children's science news appeared in Current Health Kids.

Alan I. Leshner, chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of the journal Science, said the 2012 awards "show that reporters are taking on big stories that both excite and enlighten. Science journalism, despite budget stringencies at many news organizations, remains alive and well."

The 14 recipients of this year's awards will be honored at a special celebration at the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting, set for February in Boston. Full story



California Institute of Technology.  Hirosi Ooguri, the Fred Kavli Chair in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics and a Principal Investigator of the Kavli IPMU, was selected to join the inaugural group of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society (AMS). The Fellows of the American Mathematical Society program recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication, and utilization of mathematics.


Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara (KITP).  Joseph Polchinski has been named one of three recipients of the 2013 Physics Frontier Prize from the Milner Foundation. With the award, Polchinski becomes a nominee for the foundation's $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize.  


Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at the Delft University of Technology (KIND).  Physicist Herre van der Zant has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant from the European Research Council for his research entitled Controlling Molecular Spin at the Molecular Scale. ERC Advanced Grants are awarded to outstanding scientists who lead an independent team and an ambitious, world-class programme.

Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago (KICP).  Angela Olinto was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. ... The Division of Astrophysics of the American Physical Society selected Hubble Fellow Ryan Keisler as a recipient of its Early Career Recognition Award (aka "Young Stars Award").   


Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford (KIPAC).  Deputy Director Aaron Roodman was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS)...  Blas Cabrera was a recipient of the 2013 W.K.H. Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics -- a prize named after SLAC's founding director and awarded by the APS. ... Patricia Burchat has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University (KIBS). Co-Director Rafael Yuste was named one of Nature's "Five to Watch" for 2013. "Big neuroscience is in vogue and nothing comes bigger than Yuste and his colleagues' proposed Brain Activity Map Project, which aims to record all electrical activity from every neuron in a circuit." ...Investigator Mark Churchland was a recipient of a 2012 NIH Director's New Innovator Award for his project, "A dynamical systems approach to fundamental questions in neuroscience." ...Steve Siegelbaum was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.


Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge (KICC). Martin Haehnelt has been awarded a 2 million Euro Advanced Investigator grant from the European Research Council to support his research on the Emergence of Structure during the Epoch of Reionization for five years from 1 May 2013. The grant will fund several additional PostDocs and students as well as high-performance computing and will strengthen research activities at KICC. ... Led by John Richer, scientists from KICC and Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge were selected to present their research work as part of the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, regarded as the most prestigious of the Society's outreach events.   


Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe at the University of Tokyo (Kavli IPMU).  Kunio Inoue is a recipient of the 2012 Nishina Memorial Prize, which is awarded in Japan to young physicists for their achievements in the field of atomic and sub-atomic physics. ...The Institute's 2012 Geometry Prize has been awarded to Yukinobu Toda. The Prize is awarded to researchers who have contributed to the development of geometry in a broad sense by obtaining outstanding results. ...Visiting associate astrophysicist Brice Ménard, and assistant professor of the Johns Hopkins University has been selected by the Maryland Academy of Sciences as the Outstanding Young Scientist of 2012.  


Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science (KIC). Sol Gruner's article was featured on the cover of Physics Today (Volume 65, Issue 12).  The article focused on how advances in detector technology, in concert with new synchrotron sources, x-ray optics, and computational methods, are opening new ways to probe the structure and dynamics of matter. ... Kyle Shen, Darrell Schlom and David Muller's paper, "Quantum Many-Body Interactions in Digital Oxide Superlattices," was featured as the cover story for October issue of Nature Materials (Vol. 11 No 10).


Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (KISN). The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has awarded the 13th Perl-UNC Neuroscience Prize jointly to Edvard and May-Britt Moser. The Perl Prize carries a $10,000 award and is given to recognize a seminal achievement in neuroscience. 


Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University (KIAA).  Xiaowei Liu, Acting Director of the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University, has been elected as Vice President of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) at the IAU 28th General Assembly.


Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind at UC, San Diego (KIBM). Katerina Semendeferi, a professor of anthropology in the Division of Social Sciences and an advisory board member of KIBM, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


The Kavli Foundation. The Foundation was presented the "Shokumon Award" by the University of Tokyo. The Shokumon Award recognizes and thanks individuals, corporations, and organizations that have made a major contribution to the growth of the University.