Fred Kavli intimately understood how scientific understanding could create economic bounty—he had earned hundreds of millions of dollars applying his knowledge of physics to make precision sensors for manufacturers. So when he established the Kavli Foundation in 2000 he used it to fund theoretical physics, astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience at 17 research institutes around the world, seeding each with at least $8 million, which he asked each recipient to match. “It is unrestricted funds, which is indispensable in discovery science,” noted the foundation president. In 2008 Kavli added prizes to his science philanthropy. Every other year, three prizes are awarded, each carrying a million-dollar purse. In total, the Kavli Foundation has now funneled a quarter of a billion dollars into basic scientific investigations, confident that this will yield long-term benefits as rich as those that accrued to physicist-turned-businessman Fred Kavli himself.
- About the Kavli Prize, kavlifoundation.org/about-kavli-prize
- New York Times obituary for Fred Kavli, nytimes.com/2013/11/25/us/fred-kavli-benefactor-of-science-prizes-dies-at-86.html?_r=0