Advancing Basic Science for Humanity
Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics
The stars and planets have inspired awe and spurred thought since the dawn of history, and perhaps no nation has been focused on the skies for as long as China. The Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (KIAA), at Peking University in Beijing, is both a tribute to China’s rich scientific tradition and an extension of it.
Established in 2006 and becoming operational in 2007, KIAA is a global center of excellence in astronomy and astrophysics, attracting scientists from around the world (with English as its working language). It also promotes basic research in China with the highest international standards and carries out research on the origin and evolution of astrophysical structures from the scales of planetary systems and stars up to that of the Universe as a whole.
The program of KIAA focuses on studies in three major areas of astrophysics:
- Cosmology, first light and galaxy assemblage;
- Gravitational physics and high-energy phenomena;
- Interstellar medium, stars and planets.
The Institute is designed to be a forum for global scientific exchange, an incubator for innovative projects, and a training center for international postdocs and students. The KIAA-PKU organizes a variety of academic activities and programs to stimulate the research and promote interdisciplinary interactions. The Institute is under the leadership of director Luis C. Ho. An international Advisory Committee, chaired by Professor Simon White from Max-Planck-Institut fuer Astrophysik, Garching bei Munchen, provides advice concerning proposed academic, workshop and visitor programs and assistance on major projects to set research directions, review proposed faculty appointments, and evaluate the performance of the KIAA and its Director. The Institute works closely with the Department of Astronomy at Peking University via coordination of research activities, sharing of research facilities and resources, and training and supervising of research students.
Peking University (which retains the traditional English spelling of its name), is one of China’s oldest and most respected universities, with US News and World Report ranking it 13th best among universities in Asia. It is a key partner for KIAA, jointly supporting the Institute (along with The Kavli Foundation) and providing it with a new building on the university campus. KIAA also draws on the university’s rich intellectual environment and pool of top-ranked students.