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Lasers & Sources

Kavli, Shaw Prizes recognize achievements in photonics

SPIE Newsroom
2 June 2016

The 2016 Kavli Prize laureates were announced on 2 June in a live webcast from the Norwegian Academy of Science & Letters in Oslo and the World Science Festival in New York. Two of the three Kavli Prizes -- in Astrophysics and Nanoscience -- were closely related to photonics.

Ronald W. P. Drever, Kip S. Thorne and Rainer Weiss are the 2016 Astrophysics winners "for the direct detection of gravitational waves." Announced in February, the detection took place at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatories (LIGO) in Hanford, WA and Livingston, LA.

Kavli laureates in Nanoscience are Gerd Binnig, Christoph Gerber, and Calvin Quate, "for the invention and realization of atomic force microscopy, a breakthrough in measurement technology and nanosculpting that continues to have a transformative impact on nanoscience and technology." The invention of atomic force microscopy has spawned a wide variety of measurement and manipulation techniques ranging from magnetic-force and chemical-force microscopy to magnetic-resonance spectroscopy, and scanning-capacitance microscopy.

The biannual Kavli Prize recognizes scientists for their seminal advances in three research areas: astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience. The Kavli Prize consists of USD $1 million in each.

On 31 May, Drever, Thorne and Weiss were also named winners of the 2016 Shaw Prize in Astronomy at an announcement ceremony in Hong Kong. Established in 2002, the prize honors individuals who have achieved significant breakthroughs in academic and scientific research or applications, and whose work has resulted in a positive and profound impact on mankind. The Shaw Prize consists of three annual prizes: Astronomy, Life Science and Medicine, and Mathematical Sciences. The monetary award for each prize is USD $1.2 million.