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BroadVision CEO and his wife to donate $15 million to fund particle astrophysics and cosmology institute
Pehong Chen, founder and CEO of BroadVision, and his wife, Adele, will donate $15 million to Stanford to establish a new institute for the study of particle astrophysics and cosmology. The institute will capitalize on the strengths and worldwide reputation of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) and the university's Physics and Applied Physics Departments.
Researchers at the Pehong and Adele Chen Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology Institute will explore such questions as: What powered the Big Bang? What is the role of dark matter? What are the dynamics of black holes, neutron stars and other cosmic objects?
"The time is right for this exciting new intellectual center. We'll have a confluence of some of the best minds addressing some of the most fascinating and fundamental questions about the nature of the universe and how it all began," said President John Hennessy. "We're honored by the generosity of Pehong and Adele Chen, and we look forward to many great things from this partnership."
Pehong Chen said the gift was a way of giving back to the community. He also noted that he was inspired by his older brother, Pisin, a physicist at SLAC, whom he said "had a great influence on me when I was a teen-ager. Although he didn't succeed in luring me into studying physics, I have always had great admiration for physicists whose discoveries have provided the basis of most modern technologies, and also have revolutionized our concepts about space, time, matter and the universe."
The Chen gift will be used to fund a new building at SLAC, which Stanford operates under contract with the Department of Energy (DOE), and an endowed professorship that would allow Stanford to recruit a preeminent scientist as the institute's first director.
"We anticipate that the institute will serve as a focal point for eminent researchers and visitors. To promote the best young talent in the field, we'll also appoint several named fellows," said SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan.
Ground breaking for the 25,000-square-foot building, which will be designed to accommodate 10 faculty, their staff, students and visitors, is expected later this year.
"One of the key functional attributes of the building will be a layout and ambiance that fosters interaction and a free flow of ideas," added Dorfan.
"The experimental facilities we have on site and the strong collaborations with physics and applied physics provide an ideal base to grow this outstanding intellectual center," said Peter Rosen, associate director for high energy and nuclear physics at the DOE. "This is an excellent example of the partnership between universities and DOE laboratories that has done so much to foster world-class physical science research in our country," Rosen added.
Pehong Chen, an internationally renowned expert and leader in the field of e-business software technologies, founded BroadVision in 1993. The Redwood City-based firm develops an integrated product line of applications for personalized enterprise portals. Global enterprises and government entities use these applications to sell, buy and exchange information over the web and on wireless devices.
"There are many good causes to which one can donate time and money. For my family and me, education has been the single most important element that has allowed us to prosper. The whole field of particle astrophysics holds such great challenges and such potential discoveries that could completely change how we see our world and ourselves. Now that's exciting," Pehong Chen said. "I know that Stanford has a great history of leveraging gifts of this sort, so I see a very successful future ahead in this great juxtaposition of disciplines. We're going to see some wonderful science generated from this institute."