Pierre Schwob Donates $1 Million to
By Davide Castelvecchi
In December 2003, Pierre Schwob of Palo Alto endowed the Kavli Institute
for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) and the Fred Kavli
Building project with a $1 million donation for the foundation of the P.
R. Schwob Computing and Information Center. The center will be housed on
the second floor of the Fred Kavli Building and will include an
interaction and collaboration area, a reading room, a video-conference
room and two visualization studios.
Pierre Schwob (left) with
Roger Blandford (Photo by Neil Calder)
“I have always been fascinated by the
mysteries of our cosmos,” says Schwob, “and I am very happy to be able
to make a contribution to furthering our understanding of these
fundamental questions. One can say that cosmology is becoming an exact
science and, as the instruments used to probe the universe and its
history now gather such immense data sets, I have an interest in helping
the development of the resources to store, analyze, visualize and share
Schwob is a software engineer. He owns several patents and is a World
Wide Web pioneer. In 1994 he started the Classical Music Archives, the
largest collection of classical music files on the net. He is the author
of an anthology of historical documents, a book on chess openings and a
book on pocket calculators.
The Schwob Center plans include a ‘hyperwall’ for the large-scale
visualizations crucial to astrophysics, and advanced graphics machines.
The conference room will have stateof-the-art audio-visual equipment
allowing on-line participation in international collaborations. The
reading room will be devoted primarily to electronic resources for
“We at KIPAC are thrilled by Pierre’s generous gift,” said KIPAC
Director Roger Blandford. Not only is he providing a focal point for the
data-and simulationintensive research we will be carrying out, but he is
also taking an active interest in how we equip and use it.”
Founded last March by physicist and philanthropist Fred Kavli, KIPAC is
bringing together the traditions of astronomy, cosmology and particle
physics—fields whose advancement is increasingly and inextricably
linked. The Kavli Building will rise between the Research Office
Building and Panofsky Grove.