The IAU, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and the KAVLI Prize in Astrophysics

1) The Kavli Prize

The Kavli Prize is awarded every other year to one or more leaders in the areas of astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. Winners receive a $1,000,000 prize as well as a medal and a diploma in recognition of their cutting-edge research. The prize was established in order to recognise outstanding scientific research, honour highly creative scientists, promote public understanding of scientists and their work, and foster international cooperation among scientists. The first awards were given in 2008.

The Kavli Prize in Astrophysics will be awarded for outstanding achievement in advancing our knowledge and understanding of the origin, evolution, and properties of the universe. It will include the fields of cosmology, astrophysics, astronomy, planetary science, solar physics, space science, astrobiology, astronomical and astrophysical instrumentation, and particle astrophysics.

On 29 May 2008, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and the International Astronomical Union agreed to cooperate on future Kavli Prizes in Astrophysics.


2) Kavli Prize recipients

2022 Conny Aerts (KU Leuve, Belgium), Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard (Aarhus University, Denmark) and Roger Ulrich (University of California, Los Angeles, USA)
2020 Andrew Fabian (University of Cambridge, UK)
2018 Ewine van Dishoeck (Leiden University, Netherlands)
2016 Ronald W.P. Drever (California Institute of Technology, USA), Kip S. Thorne (California Institute of Technology, USA) and Rainer Weiss (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)
2014 Alan H. Guth (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA), Andrei D. Linde (Stanford University, USA) and Alexei A. Starobinsky (Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia)
2012 David C. Jewitt (University of California, USA), Jane X. Luu (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA) and Michael E. Brown (California Institute of Technology, USA)
2010 Jerry E. Nelson (University of California, Santa Cruz and Lick Observatory, USA), Raymond N. Wilson (European Southern Observatory, Germany) and James Roger Prior Angel (Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, USA)
2008 Maarten Schmidt (California Institute of Technology, CA, USA) and Donald Lynden-Bell (Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University, UK). The prize was jointly given "for their seminal contributions to understanding the nature of quasars."

3) Publicity

The 2008 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics was jointly sponsored and awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, and the Kavli Foundation. The prizes will be awarded at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway in September.

Beginning in 2010, the IAU and the NASL will collaborate when choosing the members of the Kavli Prize selection committee. The Academy will remain responsible for the announcement of the prize and the nomination of the winners; however, they will seek advice from the Kavli Foundation and the IAU. The IAU will also announce the names of the winners through its IAU Information Bulletin and on its web site. The agreement was signed on 29 May by the President of the NASL, Prof. Ole Didrik Laerum, and the President of the IAU, Dr. Catherine J. Cesarsky.


4) Nominations

Nominations for the Kavli Prize in Astrophysics are open to everyone; however, individuals cannot nominate themselves. The prize can be awarded to a single exceptional individual or to a group of individuals who have all contributed jointly to the research. An individual cannot be awarded the prize posthumously.

An international consortium of five scientists will sit on the committee to choose the Kavli Prize winners. These scientists are leaders in astrophysics and are chosen by the Norwegian Academy, advised by the IAU, based on recommendations made by the Max Planck Society in Germany, the National Academy of Sciences in the United States, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and the Royal Society in the United Kingdom.

Beginning in 2010, the Norwegian Academy will seek advice from the International Astronomical Union in order to establish a balanced prize committee with respect to the various fields of Astrophysics.


5) The IAU International Schools for Young Astronomers and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

For the benefit of countries and their regions that need support in development of astrophysical education and research, the NASL supports one IAU International School for Astronomy (ISYA) every year, beginning in 2009. The total amount of financial support by the NASL per year is US$ 30,000.-. The curriculum for an IAU ISYA will be determined by the IAU Division XII / Commission 46 Program Group for ISYA, together with the Local Organizer of the ISYA, and will be overseen by the IAU Vice-President in charge of IAU educational programs. Appropriate procedures for the announcement of the IAU ISYAs will be developed by the NASL and the IAU. Announcement and application information for the IAU ISYAs will be published in the IAU Information Bulletin and will be made available on the IAU web site.

Each IAU ISYA will invite earlier Kavli Laureates as one main speaker at each International Schools for Young Astronomers. For all information material about the IAU ISYA, it will be stated the school is sponsored by the Kavli Prize/the NASL.



For more information on the KAVLI prize, please visit:

For more information on nominations, please visit:

Press release: The International Astronomical Union teams up with the Norwegian Academy of Science and the Kavli Prize