Kavli Awards Ceremony

credit: Kavli Foundation

pic credit: Kavli Foundation

This September, I was in Norway to attend the Kavli Prize Awards Ceremony. King Harald presented the million dollar award to scientists who’ve made important, or as they say seminal, contributions in these 3  fields: Nanotechnology, Neuroscience and Astronomy. Unlike the Nobel, this award is given every two years, but this prestigious prize too is usually split three-ways.

This is the first science red carpet ceremony I’ve been privileged to attend along with four journalists from Argentina, India, France and Australia. Earlier, I met fellow journalists from the host country and this too counts among the highlights of a very special week. And, of course, meeting the many senior scientists and some young researchers who were there to participate in various events.

This year only one woman got the Kavli but what an extremely special woman she is! She is 96 and the neuroscientist goes to work everyday  to study the human brain, as she has been doing for the last seven decades. Her own is still as sharp as a tack. I am pretty sure she has written a will donating it to the cause of science. I heard that she is donating the prize money to science.

Before I attended this ceremony, I told people that the Kavli is given to younger scientists unlike the Nobel which tends to be a lifetime acheivement. But this year’s Nobel in Physiology/Medicine went to John O’Keefe, a Kavli Award winner along with the younger Norwegian couple,  May-Britt and Edvard Moser for discovering the brain’s navigation system, the internal GPS which helps all of us get around. Those with Alzheimer’s lose their way home, indicating that part of the brain no loner functions in these patients. I would’ve thought the Nobel would’ve gone to Brenda Milner, the 96-year-old, but she has the Kavli.