The Kavli Prize Committees meet in Norway

In late 2015, the Kavli Prize Committees in Astrophysics, Nanoscience, and Neuroscience held their first meetings at The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo, Norway. Their meeting initiated the search for the 2016 Kavli Prize Laureates, with the Call for Nominations having previously ended on December 1st.

The committee members have read through all nominations received, and over the course of the next few months they will have several meetings, including a final one where they will decide on the next set of laureates. As is tradition, these meetings will take place at a Norwegian Embassy.

The 2016 laureates will be announced from the Academy’s house in Oslo on June 2nd at 2:00 pm, and will be broadcast live to the opening of the World Science Festival in New York.

The laureates will receive a gold medal and a scroll from King Harald V at a ceremony on September 6 in the Oslo Concert Hall. A banquet with over 600 invited guests from all over the world will be held in Oslo City Hall later the same day. All laureates will have given their award lectures at the University of Oslo the day prior to the banquet.


Presentation of the Committees:

The Kavli Prize Committee in Astrophysics

The Kavli Prize Committee in Nanoscience

The Kavli Prize Committee in Neuroscience


The Kavli Prize Committee in Astrophysics  | back to top

The Kavli Prize Committee in Astrophysics met at The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters on September 21.

Mats Carlsson (chair)

Professor, Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics, University of Oslo, Norway

Professor Mats Carlsson’s academic interests include solar physics, stellar atmosphere modeling, radiation magneto hydrodynamics and space projects. He has the following appointments member of European Space Agency Space Science Advisory Committee (SSAC), President for European Association for Solar Telescopes (EAST), board member at UNINETT Sigma, board member at Norwegian Space Centre (NSC), member of Science Working Group, Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) and member of Board of Reviewing Editors (BRE) in Science magazine.


Paola Caselli

Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garaching, Germany

Professor Dr. Paola Caselli is a Director and Scientific Member at the Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics since April 2014. She studied physics and astronomy at the University of Bologna (Laurea and Ph.D. in Astronomy). During her Ph.D., was a visiting student at the Ohio State University and then a Pre-doctoral Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the USA. She has been a Researcher at the INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri from 1996 until 2007, a Visiting Scientist at the UC Berkeley Astronomy Department in 2005 and a Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Astronomy, Harvard University in 2006-2007. She became Professor of Astronomy at the University of Leeds in 2007 and Honorary Professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in April 2014. Her research interest are star and planet formation, Astrochemistry and molecular spectroscopy.


Fiona Harrison (NY)

Benjamin M. Rosen Professor of Physics, Caltech; Principal Investigator for NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) mission, US

Professor Fiona Harrison's research combines the development of new instrumentation with observational work focused on high energy observations of black holes, neutron stars, gamma-ray bursts and supernova remnants. As the Principal Investigator for NuSTAR, the first focusing telescope in orbit operating in the high energy part of the X-ray spectrum, she led an international team to propose, develop and launch the mission. The focal plane detectors and instrument electronics were built in Harrison's labs at Caltech. She led the science team executing the two-year baseline mission, which extended from August 2012 - August 2014. Harrison was awarded the Presidential Early Career award by President Clinton in 2000, was named one of America's best leaders by U.S. News and the Kennedy School of Government, was awarded a NASA Outstanding Public Leadership medal in 2013, and the Bruno Rossi Prize of the American Astronomical Society in 2015. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and honorary degree Doctor Technices Hornoris Causa from the Danish Technical University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.


Carlos Frenk

Professor and Director, Institute for Computational Cosmology, US

Professor Carlos Silvestre Frenk is a Mexican-British cosmologist. His main interest lays in the field of cosmology, galaxy formation and computer simulations of cosmic structure formation. He was the inaugural Ogden Professor of Fundamental Physics at Durham University in 2001, following an endowment by Sir Peter Ogden. He still holds this chair, and is Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology at Durham, which is part of the Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics. Durham University's world-renowned theoretical cosmology research group. Along with collaborators from all over the world, he builds model universes in state-of-the-art supercomputers, trying to understand how the structures in our Universe evolved from simple beginnings to the complex structures composed of stars and galaxies that we see today. He is also Principal Investigator of the Virgo Consortium. Frenk received a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Cambridge in 1981. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the Society's Council. He won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2014.


Claude Canizares

Bruno Rossi Professor of Physics; Vice President, Associate Director, MIT's Chandra X-ray Observatory Center, US

Professor Claude R. Canizares is Vice President of MIT. He is also the Bruno Rossi Professor of Physics at MIT and associate director for MIT of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center. Prof. Canizares earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from Harvard University. He came to MIT as a postdoctoral fellow in 1971 and joined the physics faculty in 1974. In 1984, he was made a full professor. From 1990 to 2002, Prof. Canizares was the director of MIT's Center for Space Research (now known as the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research). In 2002, he was appointed Associate Provost and Vice President for Research. He left the Associate Provostship and VPR positions to become VP in 2013. Canizares is also the principal investigator for the Chandra X-ray Observatory's High Resolution Transmission Grating Spectrometer instrument. His main research interests are high-resolution spectroscopy and plasma diagnostics of cosmic X-ray sources.



The Kavli Prize Committee in Nanoscience   | back to top

 The Kavli Prize Committee in Nanoscience met at The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Arne Brataas (Chair)

Professor, Department of Physics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

Professor Arne Brataas received his Ph.D. in physics from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 1998. He was a postdoctoral fellow at TU Delft and Harvard University, and has been a professor at his alma mater since 2002. He is the chairman of the Kavli Prize committee in Nanoscience and a recipient of the 2015 ERC Advanced Grant. His main interest is in the theory of spin transport and dynamics in insulating and conducting nanostructured materials.


Mildred Dresselhaus

Professor of Physics, Emerita; Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emerita; Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US

Professor Mildred Dresselhaus (born Mildred Spiewak on November 11, 1930 in Brooklyn, New York), known as the "queen of carbon science", (Applied physics) is an institute professor and professor of physics and electrical engineering (emerita) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Dresselhaus carried out postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge on a Fulbright Fellowship and Harvard University. She received a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1958. She became a visiting professor of electrical engineering at MIT in 1967, and became a professor of physics in 1983. In 1985, she was promoted to institute professor – the first female institute professor at MIT. Dresselhaus is particularly noted for her work on graphite, graphite intercalation compounds, fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, and low-dimensional thermoelectrics. She has been a director of the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy, chair of the governing board of the American Institute of Physics, president of the American Physical Society, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and treasurer of the National Academy of Sciences. Dresselhaus has devoted a great deal of time to supporting efforts to promote increased participation of women in physics.


Laura H. Greene

Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, National Academy of Sciences, US

Professor Laura H. Greene is a Swanlund and Center for Advanced Study Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Associate Director for the Center for Emergent Superconductivity. She received her PhD in 1984 at Cornell University. Greene has held numerous professional positions at institutions all over the world before she joined the Physics faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Greene's research is in experimental condensed matter physics investigating strongly correlated electron systems. Much of her research focuses on fundamental studies to determine the mechanisms of unconventional superconductivity by planar tunneling and point contact electron spectroscopies, and on developing methods for predictive design of new families of superconducting materials. In the quest for these long-term goals, spectroscopic studies of the electronic structure of heavy fermions, unconventional superconductors, and other novel materials that show strong electronic correlations are performed. Studies of superconducting proximity effects on novel normal-state and superconducting materials are also done. Another long-term goal is in improving the current carrying capabilities of high-temperature superconductors for impacting a variety of applications, with a focus on those impacting superconductivity for energy storage, production, and transmission. Greene is a champion for diversity and is active in promoting equal rights for women and minorities in education. She is also a member of the Department of State supported COACh team, an organization for assisting in the success and impact of women scientists and engineers.


Jochen Mannhart (NY)

Professor, Dr., Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Germany

Professor Jochen Mannhart is a Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart. He studied physics at the University of Tübingen, where he obtained his Masters in 1986 and his PhD in 1987. He then worked as a guest scientist at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, USA, and later as a research associate and manager at the IBM research lab in Rüschlikon, Switzerland. He qualified as a lecturer in Experimental Physics in 1994. From 1996 to 2011 he held the Chair of Experimental Physics VI at the University of Augsburg’s Centre for Electronic Correlations and Magnetism.His research focuses on key topics in modern solid state physics: Jochen Mannhart was the first to ever produce oxidic field effect transistors, thereby demonstrating the electric field effect in high-temperature superconductors. He is an expert at producing and studying specific interfaces in complex oxides and his goal is to create and control new electronic effects. Jochen Mannhart succeeded in using so-called bicrystal technology to study the grain boundaries in superconductors and to discover fundamental techniques for optimizing cables and electronic components from high-temperature superconductors.


Ke Lu

Professor, Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang, China

Professor Ke Lu obtained his Ph.D. of Materials Science Degree in January, 1990 from the Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences. As Director of Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science, he is also Visiting Professor in Department of Materials Science & Engineering, University of Wisconsin Madison, U.S.A, University of Technology of Troyes, France and Department of Materials Science, National University of Singapore. He has 193 publications in distinguished international journals and earned many honorable titles such as Editorial Board Member of Chinese Journal of Materials Research, Editorial Advisory Board Member of International Journal of Non-equilibrium Processing (UK), Scientific Advisory Board Member of Journal of Metastable and Nanocrystalline Materials (Trans. Tech. Publ.), Advisory Board Member of Zeitschrift Fuer Metallkunde (Hanser, Germany) and so on. Professor Lu Ke’s research interests mainly lie in nanostructured materials, amorphous alloys, multilayer thin films, synthesis of advanced materials and non-equilibrium processing, metastable phase transformation: thermodynamics and kinetics, structure and properties of advanced materials and melting and superheating of low-dimensional materials.



The Kavli Prize Committee in Neuroscience  | back to top

 The Kavli Prize Committee in Neuroscience met at The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Ole Petter Ottersen (chair)

Professor of Medicine, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences and rector of the University of Oslo, Norway

Professor Ole Petter Ottersen is a physician, scholar, and the University of Oslo's elected rector for the period of 2013-2017. Ottersen leads a broad-based team whose objective is to promote the quality of research and tuition at all faculties, and his team aims to develop the University of Oslo into an internationally leading university with academic breadth centred around research.

Ottersen graduated from the University of Oslo as Cand. med. (MD) in 1980, and gained his doctorate in medicine in 1982. He became professor of the Department of Anatomy in 1992. In addition, Ottersen was academic head of the Department of Anatomy from 1997 to 1999, Vice-Dean of Research at the Medical Faculty from 2000 to 2002, and from 2002 to 2009, headed the Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience – one of Norway’s centers of excellence.

Ottersen has published over 300 articles about cell biology and neuroanatomy, with an emphasis on signal transduction and synaptic transmission, and has received a number of awards for his research, including the Anders Jahre Medical Prize for Young Scientists in 1990 and the Anders Jahre Award for Medical Research (main award) in 2008.


Susan McConnell

Professor of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University, US

Professor Susan McConnell is a neurobiologist who studies the development of neural circuits in the mammalian cerebral cortex. She is a professor in the Department of Biology at Stanford University where she is the Susan B. Ford Professor of Humanities and Sciences, the Dunlevie Family University Fellow, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. McConnell graduated with a joint A.B. degree from Harvard College and Radcliffe College in 1980. She did her doctoral work in the research group of Simon LeVay and received her PhD in neurobiology from Harvard University in 1987. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Carla J. Shatz at Stanford University. McConnell's research focuses on understanding how neurons in the developing cerebral cortex are produced, differentiated, and connected to form functional circuits.More recent work has continued to outline the molecular mechanisms underlying neural differentiation and neuronal migration, as well as axon guidance.


Antoine Triller

Professor, Ecole Normale Superieure, Biologie Cellulaire de la Synapse, Paris, France

Professor Antoine Triller is Director of Research at INSERM and Chair of the Department of Biology at Ecole Normale Supérieure. He is well-known for his studies of the intricate molecular mechanism of receptor accumulation at synapses during development. Triller has medical training at the CHU Pitié Salpêtrière. In the laboratory of Jean Scherrer, he turned to neurophysiology and initiates research on the inhibitory synapses with Henry Korn, specialist in the field. In 1979 he was hired as a researcher at Inserm. In 1981 he created a research team with Henri Korn at the Pasteur Institute in Paris and obtained his doctorate in Science 1985. In 1995, he joined the Biology Department of the Ecole Normale Supérieure. In 2004 he became deputy director of the Department of the École Normale Supérieure Biology and director of the same department from 2006. In 2010, he founded the Institute of Biology of the Ecole Normale Supérieure of which he is the director. This Institute result of the combination of all biology in the Department. Since 2011, he is also director of the Laboratory Excellence MemoLife associating 49 research teams from ENS, the Collège de France and the ESPCI.


Cori Bargmann

Torsten N. Wiesel Professor and head of the Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior at the Rockefeller University, New York

Professor Cori Bargmann received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Georgia. She received her Ph.D. in 1987 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. She pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT, until 1991, when she accepted a faculty position at the University of California, San Francisco. She remained there until 2004, when she joined Rockefeller as the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor. Dr. Bargmann also is codirector of the Shelby White and Leon Levy Center for Mind, Brain and Behavior. She has been an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1995. The Bargmann lab is studying the relationships between genes, experience, the nervous system and behavior in the nematode C. elegans.  Dr. Bargmann is also investigating how much flexibility is present in a simple nervous system. Another interest of the Bargmann laboratory is how genetic variation between individuals can cause them to behave differently from one another. A current focus of Dr. Bargmann’s research is on learning how modulatory systems, like this neuropeptide receptor, affect the flow of information between neurons.


Erwin Neher

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany

Professor Erwin Neher is a biophysicist, specializing in the field of cell physiology. He is now a director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen and heads it’s Department for Membrane Biophysics. He is also a Professor at the University of Göttingen and a co-chair of the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Göttingen. In 1967, he earned his master's degree from the University of Wisconsin and went onto complete his doctorate at the Institute of Technology in Munich, Germany, in 1970. As a doctoral student, Neher was drawn to the question of how electrically charged ions control such biological functions as the transmission of nerve impulses, the contraction of muscles, vision, and the process of conception. It was in his doctoral thesis that Neher first developed the concept of the patch clamp technique as a way of discovering the ion channels. In 1974 he shared a laboratory space with Bert Sakmann at the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen. In 1976 Neher and Sakmann published their landmark paper on the use of glass recording electrodes with microscopic tips, called micropipettes, pressed against a cell membrane. Neher returned in 1976 to the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen. He became director of the membrane biophysics department at the Max Planck Institute in 1983, and in 1987 he was made an honorary professor.