Thursday, August 02, 2007

Another Alfred Nobel?

Here's someone you may not have heard before, but if he continues with what he's doing, there's a chance that some of the things you will be using, or understand about our universe, came from efforts funded by him. This is a rather informative story of Fred Kavli, whose Kavli Institutes are now well-known centers for studies in astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience.

Why have people started comparing him to Alfred Nobel? Well, besides him being someone endowing promising scientists with research funds, there is this:

Now that élite academia is counting on Kavli's institutional largesse, he's ready to rev up individual researchers with high-profile prizes. Kavli inked an agreement with the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters to start in fall 2008 giving three awards, worth $1 million apiece, every two years.

He's willing to acknowledge one or two similarities with another Scandinavian prize giver. Kavli even worked briefly as an explosives engineer, Alfred Nobel's area of tycoonery. But Kavli insists his prizes are different. For one thing, he doesn't want them to be end-of-career accolades, as Nobels often are. Kavli wants his awards to propel less well-known scientists, and Nobel winners will be explicitly excluded from consideration.

Too bad he doesn't fund accelerator physics. :)


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