New York (AP) – Nine scientists will share three $1 million prizes for discoveries in how the brain can change over time, how to move individual atoms around and how Albert Einstein was right again about the universe.
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo on Thursday, June 2 announced the winners of the Kavli Prizes, which are bestowed once every two years.
The prize for astrophysics is shared by Ronald Drever and Kip Thorne of the California Institute of Technology and Rainer Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They were cited for the first direct detection of gravity waves, tiny ripples that spread through the universe. Einstein had predicted a century ago that the waves exist; the announcement that they’d been observed made headlines in February.
The neuroscience prize is shared by Eve Marder of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, Michael Merzenich of the University of California, San Francisco, and Carla Shatz of Stanford University. They were honored for discoveries in showing how the brain changes during learning and development, even as it keeps some basic stability over time.
The prize for nanoscience – the study of structures smaller than bacteria for example – goes to Gerd Binnig of the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory in Switzerland, Christoph Gerber of the University of Basel in Switzerland and Calvin Quate of Stanford. They were honored for atomic force microscopy, a technique now widely used that can reveal the arrangement of individual atoms on a surface and remove, add or rearrange them.
First awarded in 2008, the prizes are named after their founder, businessman and philanthropist Fred Kavli, a native of Norway who lived in the U.S. He died in 2013.
Kavli Prizes: http://www.kavliprize.org