Festivities Kick-start Kavli
By Davide Castelvecchi
The ground breaking
ceremony held June 28 for the Fred Kavli Building quite literally marked
the foundation of a new era of scientific inquiry on the SLAC premises.
Commemorating this event
(pictured left to right): David Auston of the Kavli
Foundation, Pierre Schwob, Stanford provost John Etchemendy,
Fred Kavli and Jonathan Dorfan. (Photo
by Diana Rogers)
In the words of SLAC
Director Jonathan Dorfan, the building will be the centerpiece of the
newly established Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and
Cosmology (KIPAC), as well as to the entrance to the SLAC campus.
“Let us dedicate this
house of science to further our understanding of some of the most
fundamental questions,” said Fred Kavli to an audience of about 200.
Through the Santa
Barbara-based Kavli Foundation, Kavli donated $7.5 million last year to
help establish the Institute, one of nine research institutions across
the country now named after him.
Activities in the 25,000
square foot building will champion the increasing convergence of
particle physics—the science of the extremely small and astrophysics—the
science of the very large. KIPAC will address the great unanswered
questions on the cosmos, including: What are dark matter and dark
Watershed discoveries of
the last 10 years suggest that dark matter and dark energy constitute 96
percent of the Universe, while the ‘stuff’ we see and understand, such
as light and ordinary matter, makes up a mere 4 percent.
Also at the ceremony was
Pierre Schwob, the Palo Alto entrepreneur whose $1 million donation will
fund KIPAC’s Pierre R. Schwob Computing and Information Center,
dedicated to the computational and large-scale visualization aspects of
KIPAC research. In his speech, Schwob said, “The center will confront
the challenges that are presented by the literally astronomical amount
of data that KIPAC will deal with when storing, analyzing and sharing
the science that will come out.”
Inaugurated just over a
year ago, KIPAC is affiliated with SLAC and with four Stanford
departments and programs. “The Kavli Institute sets a standard for
collaboration between a research university and a research laboratory,”
said Stanford provost John Etchemendy in his brief address. “I know I
speak for [Stanford] President [John] Hennessy when I say that I am
thrilled with the progress that has been made to date,” he said.
Dorfan and Etchemendy,
along with KIPAC director Roger Blandford, expressed gratitude to the
donors and to DOE, which will be a major supporter of the Institute’s
occupants and of its operating costs.
Dorfan then invited
Kavli and Etchemendy to join him in the ceremonial ground breaking by
digging up the first few shovelfuls of dirt, thus symbolically beginning
the foundation of the Kavli building.
Construction teams will
follow suit in October and the building is scheduled to be completed in
November 2005, according to the project’s head architect Steve
Dangermond of San Francisco firm Esherick Homsey Dodge & Davis (EHDD).
The firm worked closely with Blandford and other KIPAC staff to design a
building that would address the scientists’ needs. “We have tried to
make the building as collaborative as possible, with interaction spaces
in the center,” Dangermond said. EHDD has designed several buildings at
universities such as UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz.
“The Institute is
blessed with exceptional leadership and has already attracted a cadre of
young talent,” Dorfan said. KIPAC has already hired more than 20 new
members and plans to hire seven more, said KIPAC deputy director Steve
Kahn. “There will be a lot of new faces and intellectual thrust,” he