The vision for The Kavli Prize comes from Fred Kavli, a Norwegian-American physicist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, who turned his lifelong fascination with science into a lasting legacy for recognizing scientific breakthroughs and for supporting basic research.
In 2005, The Kavli Prize was established in partnership with The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research and the U.S.-based Kavli Foundation.
The Kavli Prizes have so far honored 54 scientists from thirteen countries − the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, France, Netherlands, Lithuania, Japan, Norway, Russia, Czechia, Sweden and Switzerland.
The three Kavli Prize partners
The three Kavli Prize partners cooperate in the planning and implementation of all global Kavli Prize events. Distinct roles for the partners include:
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters administers The Kavli Prize Week in Oslo, Norway, The Kavli Prize Selection Committees and the announcement of The Kavli Prize Laureates.
The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research hosts The Kavli Prize Banquet and provides funding to The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters for the administration of The Kavli Prize.
The Kavli Foundation provides the award money and gold medals to The Kavli Prize Laureates and for publicizing the laureates and their science.
The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research and The Kavli Foundation are not part of the laureate nomination and selection process.
The Kavli Prizes recognize seminal scientific achievements in astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience.
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.
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 nanometer scale, including molecular self-assembly, nanomaterials, nanoscale instrumentation, nanobiotechnology, macromolecular synthesis, molecular mechanics and related topics.
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, computational neuroscience, and related facets of the brain and nervous system.
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters appoints the three prize committees after receiving recommendations from the following international academies and equivalent scientific organizations:
- The Chinese Academy of Science
- The French Academy of Sciences
- The Max Planck Society (Germany)
- The National Academy of Sciences (US)
- The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
- The Royal Society (UK)
The prize committees review the nominated candidates and submit their recommendations to the board of The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. The President of the Academy announces the prize winners in late May or early June every other even-numbered year.