Friday, March 16, 2012

Fred Kavli and His Institutes

"The curiosity of the human being is what has brought us where we are today, and I have complete confidence that it will take us where we need to be in the future. " ... Fred Kavli

Poster at The M.I.T. Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Science in Cambridge, MA

Poster at The M.I.T. Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Science in Cambridge, MA 
Fred Kavli (born 1927) is a Norwegian and naturalized American physicist, business leader, inventor, and philanthropist. He was born in the village of Eresfjord, Nesset municipality in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. Today Kavli lives in the city of Santa BarbaraCalifornia in the United States. He established The Kavli Foundation in the year 2000 to support basic scientific research. He has only recently appeared in the mainstream media for his work, primarily his philanthropic efforts. He is divorced and has two grown children. An avid art collector, Kavli has gathered a large collection of Norwegian oil paintings.



[edit]Kavli's life

Kavli grew up on the family farm in the tiny Norwegian village of Eresfjord (pop. 450).
At 14, together with his brother Aslak, he began his first enterprise creating wood pellet fuel for cars. This was during the Second World War and the Nazi occupation of Norway.
Inspired by his father's 13 years in San Francisco the young Kavli wanted to move to the US. Three days after he received his engineering physics degree from the Norwegian Institute of Technology(NTH) in Trondheim he left for America on the SS Stavangerfjord.
Having no job or sponsor waiting for him, his visa application was initially rejected, and so in 1955 he immigrated to MontrealCanada instead. The following year his visa was approved and he moved to the United States. He found work as an engineer for a Los Angeles business that developed feedback flight controls for Atlas missiles. He would rise to the position of Chief Engineer here.
Looking to start his own business he advertised in the Los Angeles Times newspaper soliciting financial backers with the simple but effective text "Engineer seeking financial backing to start own business".
Two years later he had founded the Kavlico Corporation, located in MoorparkCalifornia. Under his leadership, the company became one of the world's largest suppliers of sensors for aeronautic, automotive, and industrial applications supplying amongst others General Electric and the Ford Motor Company. In 2000 he sold Kavlico for $345 million to C-Mac Industries Inc. Kavlico is today owned by the French company Schneider Electric. Much of Kavli's wealth is a result of his real estate investments in Southern California. As a philanthropist, Kavli subsequently established The Kavli Foundation and has dedicated much of his wealth to funding research institutions and programs worldwide.
On June 19, 2006, he was appointed Grand Officer, Commander with Star, of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit by King Harald V of Norway [1] in recognition of his work on behalf of Norway and humanity. In 2008, he was also awarded an honorary doctorate, Doctor Honoris Causa, by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in recognition of his work to the benefit and advancement of science and research.[2] Kavli is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[3] He is also a former member of the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and former member of the University of California President’s Board on Science and Innovation. In 2009, Mr. Kavli received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Northwestern University.[4] In 2011 he received the Bower Award for Business Leadership from the Franklin Institute,[5] one of the oldest science education centers in the United States, and the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, which is given every biennially to one or more individuals who, like Andrew Carnegie, have dedicated their private wealth to public good, and who have sustained impressive careers as philanthropists.[6] In 2011, Mr. Kavli was also conferred the degree of doctor philosopliae honoris causa by the University of Oslo.[7]
A Trustee of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Foundation, in addition to supporting scientific research and education, his philanthropic activities include the Fred Kavli Theatre for Performing Arts at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, California, as well as other projects.

[edit]Kavli Prizes

Through The Kavli Foundation, Kavli established scientific prizes in the fields of AstrophysicsNanoscience, and Neuroscience. The Kavli Prizes are presented in cooperation with the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, and have been awarded biennially at a ceremony in Oslo since 2008.[8] Each prize consists of a scroll, gold medal, and $1,000,000 cash.
Kavli chose to focus on these three areas of interest – "from the biggest, to the smallest, to the most complex" – because he thinks these fields are the most exciting scientific fields for the 21st century with potentially great benefits.[9] Kavli has also noted his intent that the Prizes distinguish themselves from the Nobel prizes in science.[10] Consequently, one key distinction between the prizes: Kavli Prize laureates are selected by committees composed of distinguished international scientists. These committee members are recommended by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the French Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck Society, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society, with committee chairs chosen by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.[11]
The first Kavli Prize winners were announced on May 28, 2008, simultaneously in Oslo and at the opening of the World Science Festival in New York City. The first Kavli Prize for astrophysics was awarded to Maarten Schmidt and Donald Lynden-BellLouis E. Brus and Sumio Iijima shared the nanoscience prize, while Pasko RakicThomas Jessell and Sten Grillner were awarded the neuroscience prize.[12] The four US winners of the Kavli Prize were honored by President George W. Bush and Science Advisor, Dr. John Marburger, at an Oval Office reception in the White House on November 12, 2008.[13] (See Kavli Prize for laureates in subsequent years.)

[edit]The Kavli Foundation

The Kavli Foundation, based in Oxnard, California, is dedicated to the goals of advancing science for the benefit of humanity and promoting increased public understanding and support for scientists and their work.
The Foundation's mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, professorships, and symposia in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics as well as prizes in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience.
The Kavli Foundation was established in December 2000 by its founder and benefactor, Fred Kavli, a prominent California business leader and noted philanthropist whose foundation is currently actively involved in establishing major research institutes at leading universities and institutions in the United States, Europe and Asia.
The Kavli Foundation has made grants to establish Kavli Institutes on the campuses of the University of California Santa BarbaraStanford Universitythe California Institute of Technology, theUniversity of ChicagoColumbia UniversityYale UniversityNew York UniversityCornell University, the University of California San DiegoDelft University of Technology in The Netherlands, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Peking UniversityChinese Academy of SciencesHarvard UniversityUniversity of Cambridge and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. These institutions are the beneficiaries of the Kavli Foundation as on date, and the list is bound to grow in the future.
In addition to the Kavli Institutes, six Kavli professorships have been established: two at University of California Santa Barbara, one at University of California Los Angeles, one at University of California Irvine, one at Columbia University, and one at California Institute of Technology.

[edit]Kavli Institutes

The Kavli Foundation has established research institutes at leading universities worldwide. Consistent with its business-like approach, Kavli requires each partner University to match the average $7.5 million donation. The institutes are not required to focus on any specific subject but are free to do any basic research they see fit.
Three researchers associated with the Kavli institutes have been awarded Nobel prizes: David GrossFrank Wilczek and Richard Axel.
As of March 2008, there are 15 institutes in the United States, 2 in China, 1 in the Netherlands, 1 in Norway and 1 in the United Kingdom.[14] According to the Foundation eventually there might be as many 20 centres. The Institute for Physics and Mathematics of the Universe in Tokyo has also received an endowment to setup a Kavli institute from April 1st 2012 [15]
The fifteen Kavli Institutes are:


  • Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University
  • Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago
  • Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge
  • Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University in China



[edit]Theoretical physics

  • Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics China at the Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) [16]


The curiosity of the human being is what has brought us where we are today, and I have complete confidence that it will take us where we need to be in the future.


[edit]External links

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