Three Women From MIT Share in $1 Million Kavli Prizes

This September, King Harald of Norway will present the Kavli Prizes in astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience. Winners of these prestigious awards are chosen by a committee of officials from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the French Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck Society in Germany, the Royal Society in London, and the National Academy of Sciences in the United States. The recommendations are then confirmed by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Each of the three Kavli Prizes includes a $1 million cash award.

Each of the three Kalvi prizes will be shared or earned outright by a woman on the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

MIT's Mildred Dresselhaus, Ann Graybiel and Jane Luu

The Kavli Prize in Nanoscience will be awarded to Mildred S. Dresselhaus, professor emerita of electrical engineering and physics at MIT. She is being honored for “her pioneering contributions to the study of photons, electron-photon interactions, and thermal transport in nanostructures.”

Dr. Dresselhaus is a graduate of Hunter College in New York City. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Jane Luu, a research technician at the Lincoln Laboratory of MIT, will share the Kavli Prize in Astrophysics with her longtime research associate David C. Jewitt of UCLA, and Michael E. Brown of the California Institute of Technology. The three astrophysicists are being honored for their pioneering work on the Kuiper Belt, a region of the solar system that lies beyond the orbit of Neptune. Dr. Luu and Dr. Jewitt recently shared the $1 million Shaw Prize for their research. (See WIAReport post on the Shaw Prize here.)

Luu is a native of Vietnam. Her father was a translator for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. When South Vietnam fell in 1975, the Luu family came to the United States and settled in Kentucky. A graduate of Stanford University where she majored in physics, Dr. Luu earned a Ph.D. in planetary astronomy at MIT.

Ann M. Graybiel, Institute Professor of Brain and Cognitive Science at MIT, will share the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience. Her co-winners are Winfried Denk of the Max Planck Institute in Munich and Cornelia Isabella Bargmann of Rockefeller University in New York. The trio is being honored for “elucidating basic neuronal mechanisms underlying perception and decision.”

Professor Graybiel’s research involves brain regions implicated in the control of movement and cognition, as well as our ability to acquire habits. Her research has implications for the study of addition, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s Disease, and in neuropsychiatric disorders such as Tourette’s Syndrome.

Dr. Graybiel is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University. She earned a master’s degree in biology from Tufts University and a Ph.D. degree in psychology and brain science from MIT.

The woman sharing the neuroscience award with MIT’s Professor Graybiel is Cornelia Isabella Bargmann, the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor and director of the Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior at Rockefeller University.

Dr. Bargmann is a graduate of the University of Georgia and holds a Ph.D. from MIT.

Filed Under: News


RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply