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Fred Kavli and The Kavli Foundation

Fred Kavli and The Kavli Foundation

From Eresfjord to California

Fred Kavli (1927-2013) was born on a small farm in Eresfjord, Norway – a village nestled in the mountains along the Eira River – where he grew up experiencing “the world at its most magnificent." He was inspired by nature and curious about humankind’s existence—often contemplating some of the biggest questions in life.

His interest in science blossomed further while studying physics at the Norwegian Institute of Technology (now known as the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim). Upon completing his studies, he moved to Canada and then the United States, where he later founded the Kavlico Corporation in Los Angeles in 1958. Under his leadership, the company would become one of the world's largest suppliers of sensors for aeronautical, automotive, and industrial applications with its products found in such landmark projects as the SR-71 Blackbird and the Space Shuttle. Fred Kavli remained CEO and sole shareholder of the company until it was sold in 2000, after which he established The Kavli Foundation.

Commitment to science

One of the early activities of the foundation led to the inauguration of The Kavli Prize in 2005. Fred Kavli believed these prizes to be a great way to honor scientists and recognize outstanding research, while also promoting and celebrating science with the public—inspiring and encouraging their curiosity, support and appreciation of science.

Today, the foundation aspires to fulfill Fred Kavli's vision of advancing science for the benefit of humanity by stimulating basic research in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics; strengthening the relationship between science and society; and honoring scientific discoveries with The Kavli Prize.

"The Kavli Prizes are a token of The Kavli Foundation’s enduring commitment to science and to our fuller understanding of human beings, nature and the universe."

Fred Kavli