By Tom Mead
On the afternoon of Monday, March 17, distinguished guests
and a large crowd of members of the SLAC Community witnessed the
inauguration of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and
Cosmology at Stanford University and SLAC. Among the speakers was Roger
Blandford, who will take the reins in October as the Institute’s Director.
Founded by physicist and philanthropist Fred Kavli, the
Kavli Foundation is dedicated to the goals of advancing science for the
benefit of humanity and promoting increased public understanding of and
support for scientists and their work.
Fred Kavli and Roger Blandford admire the new sculpture
(Photo by Tom Mead)
In this example of that dedicated purpose, the Foundation
pledged $7.5 million to establish the new institute, which will focus on
recent developments in astrophysics, high-energy physics and cosmology.
The Institute (located in a new structure between the ROB and the
Auditorium) will open its doors in 2005.
At the site of the future 25,000 square-foot Institute,
Kavli unveiled a 7-foot tall, steel and glass sculpture that was created
at the Lab. The artwork, an as-yet-unnamed ‘window on the Universe’,
incorporates a piece of SLAC history in the form of the window from the
40-inch bubble chamber.
The sculpture was designed by Catherine Carr (MD),
fabricated by the MFD Shop and welded by Scot Johnson (MFD) and Eric
Gaillant (MFD). Ernie Miholits (SEM) designed the foundation. (See
Bubble Chamber Glass Finds New Home, p. 1.)
In his remarks after the unveiling of the sculpture Kavli
said, "Now we are starting our wild ride on the stars to new vistas."
Speakers at the Inauguration (left to right): John
Etchemendy, Persis Drell, Fred Kavli, Roger Blandford and Doug
Osheroff (Photo by Tom Mead)
Brief speeches were offered by Roger Blandford (Institute
Director and first recipient of the Pehong and Adele Chen Chair of
Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology), Fred Kavli, John Etchemendy
(Stanford University Provost), Doug Osheroff (Stanford Physics Department
Chair), and Persis Drell (SLAC Research Director). Also present was future
Institute Deputy Director and Assistant Director of Research at SLAC,
Steven Kahn (Columbia University).
As astronomers increasingly use the tools and techniques
of particle physics, astronomers and physicists will work more and more
closely together on everything from equations to electronics. Thus, the
Kavli Institute will capitalize on both rich scientific heritages and the
complementary strengths these disciplines bring to the science emerging at
Initially, Blandford intends to follow a roadmap that
balances theory, computational astrophysics and phenomenology on one side,
and experimental astrophysics and high-energy observing on the other. It
will draw upon existing strengths in theoretical physics and astrophysics,
gravitational physics and underground physics at Stanford.
As Blandford noted, "Part of the excitement of the field
is that it is impossible to predict where it will be in five years’ time
and what its scientific focus will be. What is clear is that the time is
right to build a world-class center at SLAC."