Building Addition Dedication

Thursday, October 7, 2004
Santa Barbara, Calif.--In 2004 the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics celebrates its 25th anniversary. Since its founding in 1979, the KITP has played a dynamic, some might even say crucial, role in the development of theoretical physics. Happily, the occasion of our 25th anniversary also coincided with the awarding of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics to KITP Director, David Gross, and the dedication of our new wing at a ceremony that took place on October 7, 2004. The architect for both the new wing and the original building, Kohn Hall, is Michael Graves.

Commemorating the 25th anniversary, the institute hosted a unique 3-day conference "The Future of Physics" October 7-9, 2004. attended by the world's most distinguished theoretical physicists, leaders in their fields, including 10 Nobel Laureates. Most of the participants spoke, presenting not their standard talks describing the status of their own research.  In formats designed to enhance discussion, they identified, debated, and summarized the key developments in physics over the past 25 years. The participants assessed the current status of the physics fields, and envisioned the course of physics over the next 25 years. The conference was organized around short talks and panel discussions detailed at { } . The conference aspired to be an event that epitomizes our mission: we aim through our programming to provide the intellectual equivalent of a lightning rod for physics and all its unfolding 21st-century ramifications--in terms of string theory, quantum computing, nanoscience, bioinformatics, and neural networks--as well as for developments in the more traditional fields of 20th-century physics, such as particle and condensed matter physics and astrophysics. The final presentation of the conference addressed the questions that participants submitted beforehand as the key foci for developments in physics over the next quarter century.





Remarks at the Dedication Ceremony By Fred Kavli

Good Morning.
It's a special pleasure to be here today to celebrate the 25th anniversary of KITP and to participate in this celebration and dedication ceremony - and it is a double celebration because of David's Nobel Prize - isn't it wonderful? It finally came - and it is well-deserved - and we thank him for a lifetime of distinguished service to science - with more to come.

KITP has grown through its rich history to become a pillar of science.
It is truly an honor to address such a distinguished and diverse group of scientists from all around the world and it serves to the credit of KITP to have attracted such a distinguished group under one roof - even if it's a big one. It's no problem out here, but you will note that in the atrium, by the incredible foresight of the architect, the roof is vented lest all this brain power would lift it off.

The institute has a rich history and owes its prominence to the tireless work of many distinguished scientists, but we owe special thanks today to David Gross for his cutting-edge science and his leadership and organization of the institute and its activities. And further, special thanks to Henry Yang for his leadership and dedication to the university, to KITP, and to his tireless pursuit of excellence - UCSB faculty receiving four Nobel Prizes in six years - that is something special!

As I grew up in Norway, I would ski across the vast white expanse of the quiet and lonely mountain. At times, the whole sky was aflame with the northern lights, shifting and dancing across the sky down to the white clad mountaintops. In the stillness and loneliness of the white mountain, I pondered the Universe, the planet, nature, and the wonders of man. I am still pondering. The Universe, so big, beyond imagination, yet composed of particles so small—beyond comprehension. And those little creatures that have taken command of the planet earth - not because of their strength, not because of their longevity, but because of their brain.

It has been a long road from the white mountaintops of Norway, and since then, I have had a long journey through the business world. My interests are now back to where I started -- to the universe, from the smallest building blocks, to the vastness and incredible wonders of space, and to the emerging master of nature - the human brain.

So I came to support basic science - because of curiosity, and because I believe in its long-range benefit to humankind. Business and government often have difficulties supporting basic science because it may be hard to predict the benefits and because the possible benefits may be far off in the future. It is therefore important that we solicit the support of basic science from the public and from government.

The National Science Foundation showed great wisdom in investing in an Institute of Theoretical Physics. Great credit must be given to the NSF for their support. Without their support, KITP would not be here today.

Looking back a hundred or even 50 years, we could not imagine what science would bring us, such as the Internet. When we developed the quantum theory of matter, we did not dream of the integrated circuits, computers, and the telecommunications revolution as we know it today. We had all kinds of theories of what life might be like. Computing with a capacity as we know it today was said to be impossible because the heat would melt the northern icecap, or we would all be flying around in helicopters, or traveling propelled by rocket belts. We are exactly in the same position now. We cannot predict what research will bring us in the future, but based upon the past, the future will be more spectacular than we can ever imagine.

I started The Kavli Foundation to support science, primarily in three fields: astroscience, nanoscience and neuroscience. So you see, we are supporting science from the largest, to the smallest, to the most complex.

We first supported KITP, which has a very broad science program, and it was so successful, that we have since engaged in supporting three additional Kavli Institutes in astroscience. At Stanford University, we have established The Kavli Institute For Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago, and most recently, The Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In Nanoscience, we have established three institutes. One at the California Institute of Technology, one at Cornell University, and one at Delft University in Holland. In Neuroscience, we have established institutes at Yale, at Columbia, and at the University of California, San Diego.

We are also planning an expanded international program to support science.

We are especially pleased that in the last two days, 3 members of The Kavli Institutes have received the Nobel Prize - David Gross here at KITP; Frank Wilczek at The Kavli Institute for Astrophyics and Space Research at MIT; and Richard Axel at The Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University.

We are dedicated to creating an elite group of institutes of the best science teams supported by the best institutions. We believe that some of the best science is created in the interaction between disciplines and scientists, and we see it as an important objective to foster interaction between these institutes and with outside scientists. In many ways, KITP is the embodiment of these ideas and is recognized worldwide as a leading convener of forefront research in theoretical physics.

KITP is a jewel -- a crown jewel of science. So let us dedicate this house of science to take us on a ride among the stars to solve some of humanities most fundamental questions.

Thank you.