Fred Kavli Building opens to explore challenges in astrophysics and cosmology


The 25,000-square-foot Kavli Building, where scientists will explore unanswered questions in astrophysics and cosmology, was officially dedicated Friday, March 17, at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.

The Fred Kavli Building, in which Stanford scientists will explore unanswered questions in astrophysics and cosmology, was officially dedicated Friday at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). The state-of-the-art building, made possible through contributions from physicist Fred Kavli and the Kavli Foundation, is the centerpiece of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC). Activities in the building will champion the increasing convergence of particle physics—the science of the extremely small—and astrophysics—the science of the very large.

"The discoveries made by astrophysicists over the past 40 years have transformed our knowledge of the universe. All of this was immensely clear to Fred Kavli and others when they created KIPAC," said KIPAC Director Roger Blandford, a professor at SLAC and in the university's Physics Department. "The Fred Kavli Building and the research that goes on inside is a result of their foresight and initiative."

The 25,000-square-foot building includes a high-tech auditorium, conference rooms, work space for 90 people and stunning views of Stanford University and the bay. It will soon house a visualization lab offering the ability to display three-dimensional cosmological simulations on a wall-sized screen.

SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan and Stanford President John Hennessy expressed their gratitude to the donors and to the Department of Energy (DOE), a major supporter of the institute's occupants and of its operating costs.

"The DOE is pleased and proud to see that the accelerator tools, some developed here at SLAC, have been reapplied to drive the development of new tools," said Robin Staffin, associate director of high-energy physics at the DOE Office of Science. "But the greatest tool of all is that of the human mind. This is a resource in which Stanford University and SLAC have set the world's standard."

Said Hennessy: "This building will tie together SLAC and the Stanford campus in a unique and beautiful way. The work we do here will encourage the exchange of ideas and provide the foundation that will enable us to think differently."

U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo and Mike Honda attended the ceremony and congratulated SLAC, Stanford, KIPAC and Fred Kavli on the dedication of the new building.

Using the Kavli Building auditorium for the first time, Fred Kavli addressed an audience of about 150. "We invest in basic science because we believe in its long-range benefits to society," he said. "Sacrifices that we make today will build a future more spectacular than we can imagine. I am confident that the scientists here will make great discoveries and answer some of our most fundamental questions."

Also at the ceremony were Adele and Pehong Chen, whose donation endowed a chair for the institute, and Pierre Schwob, the Palo Alto entrepreneur whose donation funded the building's Pierre R. Schwob Computing and Information Center, dedicated to the computational and large-scale visualization aspects of KIPAC research.