The Kavli Foundation

$1 Million Prizes in Astrophysics, Nanoscience, and Neuroscience Recognize Pioneering Advances in Our Understanding of Existence
France Córdova, Director of the National Science Foundation, Will Deliver Keynote Address at Event June 2 in NYC, Hosted by ABC News’ Chief Health and Medical Editor, Dr. Richard Besser

On June 2nd, the 2016 Kavli Prizes in astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience will be announced from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo. The international biennial Prizes, $1 million (U.S.) cash awards in each field, recognize pioneering advances in our understanding of existence at its biggest, smallest, and most complex scales.

In New York City, the World Science Festival will hold an invitation-only breakfast program, live-streamed for free at France Córdova, Director of the National Science Foundation, will deliver the keynote address at the event, which will be hosted by Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ Chief Health and Medical Editor, and will include a live satellite transmission of the announcement. The breakfast will conclude with a panel discussion of the Laureates’ Prize-winning work by three preeminent scientists: astrophysicist Nergis Mavalvala, nanoscientist Michal Lipson, and neuroscientist Cori Bargmann.

The World Science Festival’s 2016 Kavli Prizes breakfast will take place Thursday, June 2,8-10am EST, at New York University’s Grand Hall (238 Thompson Street). The live-stream will begin at 8:15am. Media interested in attending the breakfast should reach out to Blake Zidell at

Kavli Laureates are chosen by committees whose members are recommended by six of the world’s most renowned science societies and academies. Winners, who are not notified in advance of the announcement, go on to receive gold medals, presented this year by H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon, during a ceremony in Oslo. The ceremony is followed by a banquet at Oslo’s famed City Hall, the venue of such historic events as the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Since its inaugural year, all U.S. laureates have also visited the Oval Office of the White House in recognition of the honor and the laureates’ scientific contributions.

More about the Kavli Prizes

The Kavli Prizes recognize seminal scientific achievements in Astrophysics, Nanoscience and Neuroscience.

The Kavli Prize in Astrophysics recognizes 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 recognizes 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 recognizes 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 scientific organizations:

The Chinese Academy of Science
The French Academy of Sciences
The Max Planck Society (Germany)
The National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
The Royal Society (U.K.)

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.

First awarded in 2008, the Kavli Prizes have honored 31 scientists from seven countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Norway, Russia, and Sweden. In 2014, Alan H. Guth (U.S.), Andrei D. Linde (U.S.), and Alexei A. Starobinsky (Russia) shared the Kavli Prize in Astrophysics for pioneering the theory of cosmic inflation; Thomas W. Ebbesen (Norway), Stefan W. Hell (Germany), and Sir John B. Pendry (U.K.) won the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience for their transformative contributions to nano-optics; and Brenda Milner (U.K.), John O’Keefe (U.S.), and Marcus E. Raichle (U.S.) received the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience for their discovery of specialized brain networks for memory and cognition. Past awards have honored scientists for research ranging from the discovery of the Kuiper Belt to creating unprecedented methods for controlling matter on the nanoscale, to deepening our understanding of the basic neuronal mechanisms underlying perception and decision.

The Kavli Prize is a partnership between The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Kavli Foundation (U.S.), and The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. It is named after Fred Kavli, a Norwegian-born U.S. philanthropist and founder of The Kavli Foundation.

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The Kavli Foundation, based in Oxnard, California, is dedicated to the goals of advancing science for the benefit of humanity and promoting increased public understanding and support for scientists and their work.

The Foundation’s mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, professorships, and symposia in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics as well as prizes in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience.