The New Nobels
Fred Kavli is finding-and funding-scientists who are solving the most complex puzzles in the universe.
Fred Kavli is finding ? and funding ? scientists who are solving the most complex puzzles in the universe.As a boy, Fred Kavli watched the aurora borealis from his family's farm. Surrounded by the mountains and fjords of rural Norway, Kavli often contemplated the mysteries of the natural world. Even after becoming a successful entrepreneur, Kavli never stopped considering the unknown. Today, after making millions from his research into complex electronic sensors, Kavli is funding a broad range of cutting-edge scientific research, becoming one of the most forward-thinking benefactors of 21st-century science.Kavli, now 80, is pouring his considerable fortune into the kinds of investigations that are less concerned with developing products and applications than with knowledge for its own sake. "Nothing is much more exciting than knowing the answers to the fundamental questions of life and the universe and, and everything," he says. The philanthropist's latest venture: creating a new class of prestigious scientific awards. The biannual Kavli Prizes, which are jointly sponsored by a foundation he set up and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, will award $1 million to a scientist doing world-class research in astrophysics, nanoscience, or neuroscience. The criteria, Kavli says, are simple: "We are looking to find the best scientists who are doing the best work." The first set of winners, selected by international committees of prominent scientists, was announced in May.
|Nothing is much more exciting than knowing the answers to the fundamental questions of life.|