The Kavli Prize

The Kavli Prize is one of the highly respected prizes in science in the 21st century. It recognises scientists for their seminal advances in three research areas: Astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. Consisting of a scroll, a gold medal and a cash award of 1 million $, a prize in each of these areas is awarded every two years beginning in 2008.

The concept of this prize was established in 2005 through a joint venture between the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, and the Kavli Foundation. The Kavli Prize was awarded the first time on 9th September 2008 at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway- Kavli's native country. The prizes were presented by his Riyal Highness, Crown Prince of Norway.

The various scientific fields for which these prestigeous prizes  are given is described below:

  1. Astrophysics: The Kavli Prize in Astrophysics is awarded for outstanding achievement in advancing our knowledge and understanding of the origin, evolution, and properties of the universe, including the fields of cosmology, astrophysics, astronomy, planetary science, solar physics, space science, astrobiology, astronomical and astrophysical instrumentation, and particle astrophysics.
  2. Nanoscience: The Kavli Prize in Nanoscience is awarded for outstanding achievement in the science and application of the unique physical, chemical, and biological properties of atomic, molecular, macromolecular, and cellular structures and systems that are manifest in the nanometre scale, including molecular self-assembly, nanomaterials, nanoscale instrumentation, nanobiotechnology, macromolecular synthesis, molecular mechanics, and related topics.
  3. Neuroscience:The Kavli Prize in Neuroscience is awarded for outstanding achievement in advancing our knowledge and understanding of the brain and nervous system, including molecular neuroscience, cellular neuroscience, systems neuroscience, neurogenetics, developmental neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychology, computational neuroscience, and related facets of the brain and nervous system.

The selection of the Kavli laureates is independant of the Kavli Foundation. They are chosen by three prize committes comprised of distinguished international scientists recommended by the following scientific organisations:

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The Chinese Academy of Sciences

  1. The French Academy of Sciences
  2. The Max Planck Society (Germany)
  3. The National Academy of Sciences (US)
  4. The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
  5. The Royal Society (UK)

These distinguished panels of international scientist’s reviews and recommend the prize winners on basis of a nomination process. The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters administer the selection process and announce the prize winners.

[This article is contributed by Madhurrya P. Talukdar, our Consulting Editor for the Physics section.]


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