SLAC Today logo

Two Anniversaries for KIPAC at SLAC

(Photo - Kavli Building dedication)
From left: Fred Kavli, Roger Blandford and Steve Kahn at the 2006 Kavli Building dedication. (Photo: Diana Rogers.)

Today marks two important anniversaries for the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, jointly located at SLAC and Stanford University. Eight years ago this day KIPAC itself was inaugurated with a grant from Fred Kavli and the Kavli Foundation, while Pehong and Adele Chen provided for an endowed directorship, held from its inception by SLAC and Stanford astrophysicist Roger Blandford.

Three years later, March 17, 2006 saw the dedication of the Kavli Building. Among luminaries in attendance were Congressional Representatives Anna Eshoo and Mike Honda, Steven Chu (who was still at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory), Fred Kavli, the Chens, and Pierre Schwob, who generously funded the Pierre R. Schwob Computing and Information Center, dedicated to the computational and large-scale visualization aspects of KIPAC research.

"I think KIPAC has come a long way over these eight years," Blandford said. He singled out the success of the Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope as a shining example, but added, "KIPAC has an exciting research program covering all major areas of particle astrophysics and cosmology and embracing observation, simulation and theory."

KIPAC also continues to invest in the future, according to Blandford. Design of the three giga-pixel camera for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope is moving forward. KIPAC is also involved in instrumentation programs for microwave background observation, underground dark matter detection and gamma-ray and X-ray astronomy.

Blandford also credited KIPAC's less tangible but no less important assets. "We have outstanding students, postdocs, staff—including administrators— and faculty," he continued. "Our Kavli Fellowship program is well under way." KIPAC has attracted the attention of other philanthropists interested in investing in the future—Greg and Mary Chabolla have endowed a fellowship to support a graduate student, and KIPAC expects to welcome the first Chabolla student in September, according to Blandford. Government funding is essential as well.

"We are extremely grateful to the Department of Energy as well as NASA and NSF for their ongoing extensive support," Blandford said.

"I was fortunate to receive a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to partially support my work," said graduate student Yvonne Edmonds. "My growth as a graduate student has benefited from being at KIPAC and being able to take advantage of the talks and collaborations."

KIPAC is celebrating both anniversaries today with a lecture by Nobel Laureate John Mather. According to Kavli Managing Director Ziba Mahdavi, "We're getting a large cake so anyone attending the talk may share in our festivities."

For more on the Kavli Building dedication, see:
"Fred Kavli's Remarks at the Building Dedication"
"Kavli Building Dedication Speech Added to Congressional Record"
Dedication booklet "The Kavli Universe" (PDF, 7 MB)

—Lori Ann White
SLAC Today, March 17, 2011