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Swiss scientists received the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience

NINE pioneering scientists from Switzerland, Germany, the UK and the USA have been named this year’s recipients of the Kavli Prizes – prizes that recognize scientists for their seminal advances in astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience.

This year’s laureates were selected for the direct detection of gravitational waves, the invention and realization of atomic force microscopy, and for the discovery of mechanisms that allow experience and neural activity to remodel brain function.

The Kavli Prize in Astrophysics went to Ronald W.P. Drever, Kip S. Thorne and Rainer Weiss. Gerd Binnig, Christoph Gerber and Calvin Quate share the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience. The Kavli Prize in Neuroscience went to Eve Marder, Michael Merzenich and Carla Shatz.

The Kavli Prize is awarded by The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and consists of a cash award of 1 million US dollars in each field. The laureates receive in addition a gold medal and a scroll. Today’s announcement was made by Ole M. Sejersted, President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and transmitted live to New York as part of the opening event at the World Science Festival, where France Córdova, Director of the National Science Foundation, delivered the keynote address.

The Kavli Prize in Nanoscience is shared between Gerd Binnig, Former Member of IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, Switzerland, Christoph Gerber, University of Basel, Switzerland, and Calvin Quate, Stanford University, USA. They received the prize "for the invention and realization of atomic force microscopy, a breakthrough in measurement technology and nanosculpting that continues to have a transformative impact on nanoscience and technology".

The realization of the atomic force microscope was reported by Binnig, Gerber and Quate in 1986, with a demonstration that the instrument could be used to obtain profiles of a solid-state surface with close to atomic resolution.

In the last 30 years the instrument has evolved dramatically and has provided fundamental insight into the chemistry and physics of a large variety of surfaces. It is still widely used today as a versatile tool for imaging and manipulation in a broad range of scientific disciplines of Science and Letters. The 2016 Kavli Prizes were awarded in Oslo, Norway, on 6 September. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon presented the prizes to the laureates. This year’s ceremony was hosted by Alan Alda and Lena Kristin Ellingsen. Prime Minister Erna Solberg hosted a banquet at Oslo City Hall in honour of the laureates.The ceremony is part of Kavli Prize Week - a week of special programmes to celebrate extraordinary achievements in science.

The Swiss State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, Mr. Mauro Dell'Ambrogio, is took part in the prize ceremony in Oslo.

For more detailed information on each of the prizes, the 2016 laureates and their work, the Kavli Prize and all the events, please see the Kavli Prize website: www.kavliprize.org