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Kavli Prize 2024

  • Context (IE): The winners of the 2024 Kavli Prize were announced recently.

About the Kavli Prize

  • It is awarded in honour of Norwegian-American businessman, engineer and philanthropist Fred Kavli.
  • Introduced in 2008 to support wide-ranging research to improve the quality of life for people worldwide.
  • Awarded by the US-based Kavli Foundation, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. Handed out by the Norwegian Royal family.
  • The prize comprises a $1 million cash prize (per field), a scroll, and a medal.
  • Kavli Prize was designed to be like the Nobel in the fields of astrophysics, neuroscience, and nanoscience.
  • As per the will of Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Prize is only awarded for achievements made “during the preceding year”. However, the Kavli Prize does not operate under such a restriction.

Winners in 2024

Astrophysics

  • David Charbonneau of Harvard University and Sara Seager of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for discoveries of exoplanets and the characterisation of their atmosphere.
  • They devised methods for the detection of atomic species in planetary atmospheres and the measurement of their thermal infrared emission.

Neuroscience

  • Robert Langer of MIT, Armand Paul Alivisatos of the University of Chicago, and Chad Mirkin of Northwestern University for his idea of nano-engineering, a material for the controlled release of therapeutic biomolecules, could help develop controlled drug delivery.
  • Alivisatos devised semiconductor crystals, or “quantum dots,” that could be used as multi-colour fluorescent probes in bioimaging.
  • Mirkin introduced the concept of spherical nucleic acid (SNA), a new class of nucleic acids that are densely functionalised and oriented spherically around a nanoparticle core.
  • SNAs have wide-ranging use in areas like intracellular detection, gene regulation & immunotherapy.

Nanoscience

  • Nancy Kanwisher of MIT, Winrich Freiwald of Rockefeller University, and Doris Tsao of the University of California at Berkeley for their collective effort to map the linkage between facial recognition & brain.
  • Kinwisher identified the exact brain centre for face processing.
  • Tsao & Freiwald advanced this knowledge by using functional imaging and recording from individual brain cells to map out the neural architecture of the human brain.
  • Kavli Prize is differnt than Kavli Medal. Kavli Medal and Lecture is now awarded annually for excellence in all fields of science and engineering relevant to the environment.
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