Every two years the Kavli Prize is awarded to scientists who work in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. In 2012 seven scientists were awarded the prize, including two members of AAAS. According to the Kavli Prize announcement "This year's laureates were selected for making fundamental contributions to our understanding of the outer solar system, the differences in material properties at nano- and larger scales, and how the brain receives and responds to sensations such as sight, sound and touch."
The $1 million awards, one for each field, are sponsored by a partnership between The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Kavli Foundation (USA) and The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. The Kavii Foundation was founded by businessman, physicist and philanthropist Fred Kavli.
Ann M. Graybiel of M.I.T., a member of AAAS, splits the neuroscience prize with two other scientists for her work studying how the brain uses information from the environment. Greybiel studies basal ganglia, which control movement and have been linked to diseases like Parkinson's. She has shown how the brain changes when animals develop new skills or habits. Her work is providing new ideas on how to break bad habits and correct repetitive behavior disorders.
Mildred S. Dresselhaus won the nanoscience prize in 2012. Dresselhaus, a member of AAAS, is a professor at MIT where she studies how carbon nanotubes conduct heat and electricity, a field she has been involved in for over five decades. Her work contributed to the discovery of buckyballs. (Our Scientia blog describes these odd molecules here) She also has done research on uniform oscillations of phonons, the elastic arrangements of atoms of molecules.
We also congratulate David C. Jewitt, Jane X. Luu and Michael E. Brown, who share the prize for astrophysics, as well as Cornelia Isabella Bargmann and Winfried Denk, the other winners of the neuroscience prize.