|Kavli Prizes to be Webcast on May 28; Announcements Open World Science Summit |
|The announcement of the Kavli Prize laureates in astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience will be Webcast on May 28, 9:00am EST (3:00pm Norway) by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. The Webcast can be seen on The Kavli Foundation website.
The Prize announcements will also open the World Science Summit, the launching event for the inaugural World Science Festival in New York City. The winners will be announced during a live simulcast transmitted from Oslo. Joining the special event in New York will be Fred Kavli, founder and chairman of The Kavli Foundation, and Reidun Sirevåg, Secretary General of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.
The World Science Summit is an invitation-only event at Columbia University that will convene prominent researchers, policy-makers and business leaders to discuss the role science is playing in global affairs.
Kavli Prizes recognize scientists for their seminal advances in three
research areas: astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. Consisting
of a scroll, medal and cash award of USD one million, a prize in
each of these areas is awarded every two years at a ceremony in Olso,
For more information about the Kavli Prizes, click here.
Mapping the Brain --
How Scientists Are Working Toward a Real-Time Map of Neural Circuits in Action
Neurobiologists have studied the brain for over a hundred years, yet
they are still far from understanding its basic operations and the
overall logic of its neural circuitry. Part of the problem is
technical: Traditionally, scientists have studied the responses of
neurons (brain cells) with electrodes, one neuron at a time. But the
brain is composed of billions of neurons, anatomically arranged in
precise circuits. The rules that govern how these neural circuits work
is difficult to untangle unless one could actually record the activity
of many neurons simultaneously - if possible in the living animal.
At the Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University Medical Center,
researchers are developing novel imaging techniques to study this
communication among brain cells. One of the Institute's key goals, says
its director Eric Kandel, is to "visualize the circuitry" of the brain.
According to Rafael Yuste, a neurobiologist and co-director of the
Institute, the "holy grail" for neuroscience is a "map of the
electrical activity of the brain."
Nanoscience Made Easy --
The advance of engineering at extremely small scales has led to marvels of manufacturing, producing tiny transistors and circuits so close-packed that palm-sized devices now have the computing power and memory once held by room-sized machines. But two things this technology is not: Simple and cheap. What Intel can manage, a typical biologist cannot. Scientists studying the basic processes of life need equipment of a different kind, not so sophisticated but much easier to use.
A Different Idea of What's Cutting Edge: Creating Tools for the Non-Expert
You could call it nanotechnology for the rest of us, and it is central to the mission of the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology (KIBST) at Harvard University.
As the Institute's co-director, physicist David Weitz, explains, "We want to develop tools that can be used by everybody -- particularly non-experts -- that incorporate nanoscience and impact biology in a way that is accessible." Read more.
Everything is Physics --Physicists like to say that, if you look deeply into any branch of science, you'll find physics at its core. Not every chemist, biologist or psychologist may agree with that notion, but the physicists do have a point: the application of physics to a wide range of scientific issues can prove fruitful for everyone involved.
How Theory Goes to the Heart of Science (Including the Science of the Heart)
At the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, such cross-fertilization across the disciplines is a guiding principle. KITP "brings together people of different communities and focuses on problems that are on the boundary," says Institute Director David Gross, who shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics.
KITP's schedule of programs reflects that view. The Institute hosts cardiologists and climate scientists as well as cosmologists and string theorists. He calls it "the pre-eminent users' facility for theoretical physics where 'physics' is defined in a very broad sense."
Finding Art From Science, Nano Picture Joins Exhibit at Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City is featuring a nanoscale picture by Michael Roukes, professor at the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at the California Institute of Technology, and his research team.
The picture appears in an exhibit titled, "Design and the Elastic Mind." The featured artwork is an electron micrograph, or nanoscale picture, of a device used in discovering the fundamental limit to the amount of heat that can be conducted by objects of atomic dimension. To make the piece, Roukes added color to the originally black-and-white photograph of the device to emphasize the elements. Of the device's design, Roukes noted, "Sometimes when you try to make really intricate, sophisticated structures, a certain amount of design aesthetic and sensibility is required. If you make structures that are impeccably designed, they also often tend to work really well."
The work will be featured with more than 200 other objects and installations related to science and technology at MoMA, including "DNA origami" by Caltech's Paul Rothermund. Roukes's contribution will be added to the museum's permanent collection.
The exhibit is scheduled to run through May 12. To see Roukes's nanostructure on display, click here. To read more, click here.
|Michael Roukes, George Whitesides Join Panelists on "Power of Small" PBS Special
Roukes, professor and former director of the Kavli Nanoscience
Institute at the California Institute of Technology
, and George
Whitesides, co-director of the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and
Technology at Harvard University
, were among the panelists on a PBS
series dedicated to nanotechnology.
"Nanotechnology: The Power of Small," was a three-part series intended to engage the public in a dialogue about the
complex implications of the broadening frontiers created through
Roukes contributed to an episode that explores
nanotechnology's potential contributions to health and human
enhancement, while Whitesides participated in the segment on the impact
of nanotechnology on information technologies and the implications to
privacy and other issues. To view all episodes, click here
To hear a companion radio interview of Whitesides, click here
|Researchers First to Observe the Middle Stages of Planet Formation
For many years, astronomers have had a clear, though ever-evolving,
picture of how planets are born. It starts with a disk of dust swirling
around a newborn star, and then gradually the dust particles stick
together to form ever-larger pieces--grains, pebbles, boulders,
protoplanets and ultimately planets. Though the theory was clear,
the only parts that could actually be observed in the real cosmos were
the very beginning and end--disks of dust that have yet to form
planets, and fully formed planets.
But this changed in March, when a team of astronomers, including Joshua
Winn of the Kavli Institute for Space Science and Astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reported the first observations of a disk of this mid-sized
material around a star--a swarm of stuff that has already progressed
from dust grains up to particles the size of a grain of sand. Read more.
|News from the Institutes
Kavli Fellowships to Support KIPAC's Young Researchers
The Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology has received a pledge of $7.5 million from Fred Kavli and The Kavli Foundation toward establishing an endowment that sponsors Kavli Fellowships for promising graduate students and young
researchers. Stanford is
offering matching funds to help attract additional gifts to build the
endowment to $20 million. Read more.
| TU Delft Launches Bionanoscience Initiative |
A new Bionanoscience department will be created at TU Delft.
Bionanoscience concerns research at the meeting point of biology and
nanotechnology and is as yet largely unexplored. It is expected to
become one of the key scientific fields of the 21st century. Over the
next decade, TU Delft is set to invest 10 million Euro derived from
strategic assets in the new Bionanoscience department, which will form
part of the university's Kavli Institute of Nanoscience. Read more.
Caltech's KNI Opens New Nano Facilities|
The Kavli Nanoscience Institute at the California Institute of Technology recently celebrated the completion of its new state-of-the art cleanroom facility. Research in the facility will involve nanotechnology-based platforms that allow scientists to detect a multitude of proteins in the body at one time. Read more.
NAS Paper Gives KITP Top Ranking
A paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences gives top
ranking to the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics when assessing
the scientific impact of national scientific facilities on
nonbiomedical research. Appearing in the Nov. 13, 2007 issue, Anne Kinney, who serves as director of the astrophysics division in NASA's science mission directorate, presents a new way to assess the impact of research publications. The method measures the number of highly cited papers and normalizes for the size of the research organization. To
read paper, click here.
Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago. Craig Hogan, a member of one of the scientific teams that co-discovered dark energy, will soon assume dual roles as Director of the Center for Particle Astrophysics at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and as a Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. Hogan's University appointment includes affiliations with the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics and the Enrico Fermi Institute, where he began his research career in 1980.
Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at Delft University of Technology. Kavli Prof. Lieven Vandersypen was named the 2008 recipient of the Nicholas Kurti European Science Prize. He was recognized for his ground-breaking work on the coherent control of nuclear and electron spins, with possible application to quantum information processing.
Kavli Institute for Cosmology at Cambridge. KICC has appointed the first of its two Kavli Institute Fellows: George Becker, focused on the large-scale evolution of matter in the early universe, and Ian McCarthy, who studies the formation and evolution of massive galaxy groups and clusters from a theoretical perspective. Progress also continues on KICC's new facility, scheduled for completion next year. For a view from a live "construction cam," click here.
Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology at Harvard University. KIBST has awarded its first interdisciplinary grants. Four interdisciplinary research grants to six faculty members, which ranged in topics from "New Approaches to Cancer Biomarker Discovery" to "What price speed? Investigating the physicochemical limits and design principles of biological motility."
Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind at UC San Diego. The third annual KIBM Symposium on Innovative Research was held on May 3, featuring the work of the 2007-08 award recipients, which ranged from studies of the neural bases of perception and of word learning to investigations of memory. KIBM and the Salk Institute are also co-hosting a visit and distinguished lecture by Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health at the NIH.
University of California, Irvine. Michael Prather, the Fred Kavli Chair and professor of Earth system science, will be the inaugural director of the UC Irvine Environment Institute: Global Change, Energy and Sustainable Resources -- a new research institute dedicated to the study of how the environment and society interact.