2014 Kavli Prize Popular Science Lectures

The popular science lectures bring scientists and scientific authors to Oslo to discuss engaging topics as far-ranging as science itself.

Open to the public, past topics have ranged from the science of cooking to the triggers for memory; from the intricacies of particle physics to the search for extraterrestrial life.

The Kavli Prize lectures are open to the public and are also attended by guests of the Kavli Prizes and students of the university.

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Richard Morris - "The Making, Keeping and Losing of Memory"

Richard Morris Richard Morris has been the Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh since 1993. His major goal is the understanding of memory, one of the “Grand Challenges” of contemporary neuroscience.

His research group strives to play a part in the worldwide endeavour by neuroscientists to understand the making, keeping, and losing of memory. Their overriding goal is on developing a neurobiological account of the functions of the hippocampal formation in memory. Morris has recently developed the synaptic tagging and capture hypothesis to explain why some memories persist while others do not. He is also interested in the application of concepts and techniques from his work to develop new therapeutics for Alzheimer's Disease.

He is the author of over 150 refereed journal articles and 3 books, and has won several awards for his research, most notably the Zotterman Medal of the Swedish Physiological Society in Stockholm (1999) and the Feldberg Prize (2006). Richard is also a Visiting Professor at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway, and an elected Fellow of the Royal Society in London and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Abstract • Return to top


Brian Greene - "Chasing Einstein’s Dream: The Search for a Unified Theory"

Brian GreeneBrian Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and is widely recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in superstring theory, including the co-discoveries of mirror symmetry and topology change. His first book for general audiences, The Elegant Universe, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and has sold more than a million copies worldwide. His more recent books, The Fabric of the Cosmos and The Hidden Reality, were both New York Times bestsellers, and inspired the Washington Post to call him “the single best explainer of abstruse concepts in the world today.” Greene’s latest project, World Science U, brings science education online with innovative digital courses available to anyone with an interest in science.

Greene makes frequent media appearances on programs such as Charlie Rose, The Colbert Report, and David Letterman. He has hosted two NOVA specials based on The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos which were nominated for four Emmy Awards, and won a George Foster Peabody Award. Professor Greene is the co-director of Columbia’s Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and with producer Tracy Day, is a co-founder of the World Science Festival.  AbstractReturn to top



The Making, Keeping and Losing of Memory

Memory is fundamental to human life. 2014 has been a special year in which ‘remembrance’ has been on people’s minds as they reflect on the momentous events of 100 years ago. Our everyday use of memory is, of course, very different, although it also is changing with so many aspects of human knowledge now available on the internet. Nonetheless, the loss of personal memory remains greatly feared. The inability to recollect the events of our life can develop from a minor irritation to a condition that undermines normal existence – notably in Alzheimer’s Disease. Using the themes of the ‘making, keeping and losing’ of memory, this lecture will offer examples of how the brain mediates memory, and will include reference to the contributions of this year’s Kavli Prize winners. | Return to top



Chasing Einstein’s Dream: The Search for a Unified Theory

Einstein relentlessly sought a unified theory of physics — a single mathematical framework that would encompass all of nature’s laws — but came up empty-handed. Others have since taken up his charge and, in recent decades, have made great strides. But string theory, the most developed—and controversial—unified framework, has yet to make contact with experiment and suggests a number of startling concepts, such as the possibilities that there are extra dimensions of space and that our universe is not the only universe. In this talk, which presumes no expertise, Professor Greene will describe these ideas and offer a critical assessment of their scientific merits. | Return to top