Three one-million-dollar science prizes at the BA Festival in York
The Kavli Prize – three international awards for outstanding contributions to the fields of nanoscience, neuroscience and astrophysics – will be awarded for the first time in 2008. The Kavli Foundation has established these international awards to recognize seminal advances in scientific research. Each prize will consist of a scroll, a medal and a cash award of USD 1 million.
The founder of the California-based Kavli Foundation, Fred Kavli, is a Norwegian-born US citizen, educated as a physicist. He is also an entrepreneur, business leader and innovator; and a philanthropist dedicated to supporting research and education with long-term impact on the human condition. In addition to funding the Kavli Prize, the Foundation has furnished grants for the establishment of Kavli Institutes on the campuses of different universities, fifteen so far – three in Europe, two in China and ten in the United States. The Foundation has also endowed six professorships.
The official announcement of the call for nominations will take place at the BA Festival of Science at the University of York on 10 September, where the prize will be presented in the festival exhibition area and through other activities. The President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Jan Fridthjof Bernt will announce the call at a press conference also attended by Fred Kavli and the President of the Royal Society, Martin Rees.
The prizes will be awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, in cooperation with the Kavli Foundation and the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, at a ceremony in Oslo every two years. The closing date for nominating candidates is 15 December of this year. The first winners of the Kavli Prize will be announced in June 2008 and the inaugural award ceremony will take place in Oslo in September.
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has appointed three prize committees, consisting of leading international scientists, to review and recommend the prizewinners on the basis of a nomination process. The three committees have five members each; four of the fifteen committee members have been awarded the Nobel Prize. The committee members are recommended by scientific academies, among them the Royal Society. Other participating academies are the Max Planck Society (Germany), the National Academy of Sciences (US), the French Academy of Science, the Chinese Academy of Science and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters is also responsible for awarding the Abel Prize, which many call “the Nobel Prize of mathematics”. All in all, these awards are helping to raise the level of research in vital areas of modern science.
The Kavli Prize was established to recognize outstanding scientific research, honour highly creative scientists, promote public understanding of scientists and their work and foster international cooperation among scientists. In the words of Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society:
“The Kavli Foundation has chosen to focus its support on three key fields of science that offer special excitement and promise: Astrophysics, Nanoscience and Neuroscience. These sciences, collectively, span the grandest scale, the smallest of dimensions and the greatest complexity. The prizes that the Foundation is now announcing will surely be a further boost to these potentially transformational subjects. It is specially welcome that there is not an explicit limit to the number who can share a Kavli Prize. This is welcome recognition that the greatest scientific advances now often require a collaborative team effort.”