The Kavli Laureates received their awards for making fundamental contributions to our understanding of the outer solar system, to the differences in material properties at nano- and larger scales, and to how the brain receives and responds to sensations such as sight, sound and touch.
The 2012 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics was awarded to David C. Jewitt, Jane X. Luu, and Michael E. Brown for discovering and characterizing the Kuiper Belt and its largest members, work that led to a major advance in the understanding of the history of our planetary system. The Kuiper Belt lies beyond the orbit of Neptune and is a disk of more than 70,000 small bodies made of rock and ices, and orbiting the Sun. Jewitt and Luu discovered the Kuiper Belt, and Brown discovered and characterized many of its largest members, including Sedna, whose exceptionally long and elongated orbit about the Sun has fascinated scientists.
The 2012 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience was awarded to Mildred S. Dresselhaus. The first solo winner of a Kavli Prize, for more than five decades Dresselhaus has made multiple advances in helping to explain why the properties of materials structured at the nanoscale can vary so much from those of the same materials at larger dimensions. Her early work provided the foundation for later discoveries concerning the famous C60 buckyball, carbon nanotubes and graphene. Dresselhaus received the Kavli Prize for her research into uniform oscillations of elastic arrangements of atoms or molecules called phonons, phonon-electron interactions and heat conductivity in nanostructures.
The 2012 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience was awarded to Cornelia Isabella Bargmann, Winfried Denk (Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Germany) and Ann M. Graybiel, who have pioneered the study of how sensory signals pass from the point of sensation – whether the eye, the foot or the nose – to the brain, and how decisions are made to respond. Each working on different parts of the brain, and using different techniques and models, they have combined precise neuroanatomy with sophisticated functional studies to gain a rounded understanding of their chosen systems.The Kavli Prize consists of a scroll, a gold medal and a cash award of one million dollars in each field, with the prizes awarded every two years. Kavli Prize recipients are chosen by committees comprised of distinguished international scientists recommended by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the French Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck Society, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society. After making their selection for Prize recipients, the recommendations are confirmed by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. The formation of Prize Committees and the selection of prize recipients is independent of The Kavli Foundation – a nonprofit U.S.-based foundation dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of humanity, promoting public understanding of scientific research, and supporting scientists and their work. The 2012 Kavli Prize Laureates were announced last year and received their awards in a ceremony held in Oslo, Norway. The call for nominations for the 2014 Kavli Prizes occurs this fall. SOURCE The Kavli Foundation