The National Academy of Sciences has announced a $10.5 million gift from the Kavli Foundation to establish an endowed fund in honor of the late physicist, entrepreneur, innovator, business leader, and philanthropist.
The Fred Kavli Endowment Fund, will provide unrestricted funding to NAS, enabling it to provide timely guidance on cutting-edge issues in science through new programs and policy studies. The funding also will support the academy's efforts to validate scientific excellence; enhance the vitality of the scientific enterprise; guide public policy with science; and communicate the nature, values, and judgments of science to government and the public through symposia, workshops, and other events that bring together experts and practitioners from a broad range of institutions and disciplines. In recognition of the gift, the auditorium of the NAS building will be renamed after Kavli.
A Norwegian-born American citizen, Kavli received a degree in engineering from the Norwegian Institute of Technology in 1955. He emigrated to the United States a year later and in 1958 founded the Kavlico Corporation, which became one of the world’s largest suppliers of sensors for aeronautics, automotive, and industrial applications. In 2000, Kavli sold the company and established the Kavli Foundation, which works to advance science for the benefit of humanity, promote public understanding of scientific research, and support scientists and their work. Kavli, who died in 2013, had a strong appreciation for the role of fundamental science in understanding the world.
"Fred Kavli was a champion of basic research and the scientific process, and his legacy is felt widely throughout society," said National Academy of Sciences president Marcia McNutt. "Through this generous gift, the NAS will build on that legacy by providing leadership on emerging issues for which science can inform effective policy and promote understanding of science."