Kavli IPMU naming ceremony

The naming ceremony of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) took place on May 10, 2012 at the Kavli IPMU building on the University of Tokyo Kashiwa campus.

The Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (IPMU) was launched in October 2007 under the World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, with the University of Tokyo as the host institution. In 2011, the University of Tokyo established the Todai Institutes for Advanced Study (TODIAS) and approved IPMU as its first member institute. In April 2012, after the University of Tokyo received an endowment from Kavli Foundation, the name of the institute was changed to the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU).

The Kavli Foundation was established by Fred Kavli to advance science for the benefit of humanity, to promote public understanding of scientific research, and to support scientists and their work. The Foundation's mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes in the fields of astrophysics, theoretical physics, nanoscience, and neuroscience, and through the support of conferences, symposia, endowed professorships, journalism workshops and other activities. To date, 16 Kavli Institutes have been established in Asia, Europe and the United States. The Kavli IPMU is the newest institute, and brings together a wide range of researchers – from pure mathematicians and string theorists to experimental particle physicists and observational astronomers – in a multi-disciplinary and collaborative environment aimed at finding answers to profound problems in cosmology.

Director Hitoshi Murayama opened the ceremony with introductory remarks and was followed by President of the University of Tokyo, Junichi Hamada, who expressed gratitude to Mr. Kavli and offered his strong support for establishing Kavli IPMU as a permanent entity of the University. Following the president's speech, Mr. Fred Kavli, Chairman and Founder of the Kavli Foundation, welcomed IPMU as a member of the Kavli family and spoke about his philanthropic effort to support science.

Speeches by distinguished guests continued. Dr. Robert Conn, President of the Kavli Foundation, Dr. Hiroo Imura, Chairman of the WPI program, Mr. Daisuke Yoshida, Director-General of Research Promotion Bureau, MEXT, and Dr. Jonathan Dorfan, President of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, presented warm and encouraging words. Then Directors of Kavli Institutes, Roger Blandford from the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, George Efstathiou from the Kavli Institute for Cosmology at Cambridge, Xiaowei Liu from the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University, and, Yue-Liang Wu from the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics China at the Chinese Academy of Science, all presented congratulatory greetings.

At the end of the ceremony, the new Kavli IPMU monument was unveiled in front of the Kavli IPMU building.

As part of the festivities, a scientific seminar introducing research subjects covered by Kavli IPMU and other Kavli Institutes was held on May 9th at the Kavli IPMU and a public lecture entitled "Mysteries of Black Holes and Neutrinos" was held on May 10th at the University of Tokyo, Hongo Campus.


Remarks by Director Hitoshi Murayama, President Junichi Hamada, Chairman Fred Kavli

Feb. 8, 2012 New Kavli Institute announced at the University of Tokyo

May 9, 2012 Japan's prime minister Yoshihiko Noda welcomes Fred Kavli and Hitoshi Murayama

May 10, 2012 Kavli IPMU Public Lecture "Mysteries of Black Holes and Neutrinos"

The Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe

The Kavli Foundation

Remarks by Hitoshi Murayama, Director of the Kavli IPMU

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a great day.  Thank you so much for coming to this ceremony today to celebrate naming of the Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, IPMU, after Mr. Fred Kavli and his Kavli Foundation.  I thank many who helped make this day a reality.  And of course my deepest gratitude goes to Fred and President Bob Conn.

When we inaugurated this building right here, I said “Dreams do not come true very often. Today, some dreams did come true.”  It is amazing that only two years later, another dream has come true.  We joined the renowned Kavli family of institutes around the world, with a significant donation that created an endowment to help secure our future.  This is actually a dream many of us had even before the IPMU existed, to establish a Kavli institute at the University of Tokyo here in Japan.  It is my special pleasure to have directors from Kavli institutes at Cambridge, Chine Academy, Peking, Stanford with us today, to welcome us to the Kavli family.

When Fred, Bob, I met Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Yoshihiko Noda yesterday, he made a beautiful remark to Fred.  “Basic science is an important and common resource for all of humanity and we really admire what you are doing in terms of supporting basic science and the needs of science.”  And he added “We are also honored that you have chosen Japan and the University of Tokyo to be supported by The Foundation.  We at the government truly believe that we need to attract global talent to Japan to foster science in Japan. The fact that the IPMU has received global attention and your interest and investment is a wonderful thing.”

Then Minister Hirofumi Hirano added, “the fact that you have actually chosen one of the six WPI centers to become a Kavli institute is a very good sign that we have made the right choices.”

But what impressed me the most at the meeting is a truly pure motivation of Fred in supporting basic science using his own resources.  He never tells us what we should work on, whom to hire, what to spend the money on.  I find his generosity simply amazing.  Fred, you are such a wonderful man.  I feel already that I’ve known you for a very long time.

Needless to say, Fred and Bob would never have chosen us to support unless we produce cutting-edge research.  I thank every member of Kavli IPMU for your excellent work.  And we can do even better!

Thanks to this gift, a strong commitment from President Hamada, and vigorous support from the MEXT, I believe we are making a big stride towards becoming a permanent institute. 

Finally, I would like to add my big thanks to our staffs who worked around the clock behind the scenes to make this event happen so smoothly.  We are all one team, aiming at the goal to become a truly world-leading international center of research attacking the most basic questions about the Universe.

Thank you, Fred, Bob, and all of you here today.

Remarks by Junichi Hamada, President of the University of Tokyo

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a wonderful day to name IPMU after Mr. Fred Kavli and his Foundation, honoring his very generous gift to the University establishing an endowment for the Kavli IPMU.  I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to Mr. Kavli for his incredible support to IPMU and the University of Tokyo.  I’ve been greatly impressed by his very pure, selfless, and sincere motivation in his philanthropic support of basic science to advance human knowledge.  Fred, you are amazing.

I’d also like to thank distinguished guests from other Kavli institutes around the world to share the excitement and joy of this development.  I’m happy to see that IPMU has joined such a powerful family of excellent research centers.  It is also an honor to the University to be listed together with such prestigious universities that host Kavli institutes.

I regard Kavli IPMU as a treasure of the University.  My vision for the University highlights “The Publicness of Knowledge and the Importance of Internationalization,” and IPMU is a poster child of my vision.  It is the first truly international center within the University of Tokyo.  It produces first-rate science on the most basic questions of humanity about the Universe we live in.  Kavli IPMU is extremely visible both domestically and internationally.  It shares its scientific fruit with the general public very well, and is creating a very positive and forward-looking perception of the University.  This gift from Mr. Kavli is a wonderful concrete evidence of its international recognition.

Using this occasion let me reiterate my commitment to support the Kavli IPMU.  In fact,

I have created a new framework called Todai Institutes for Advanced Study, or TODIAS, to sustain Kavli IPMU as a permanent entity of the University.  It was the first major structural reform of the University since 1948.  In addition, I’m in the process of creating a sizable number of permanent positions for the Kavli IPMU, working with the Ministry as well as within the University.  I am boosting our effort to build up endowment, to create a stronger foundation for the secure future of the Kavli IPMU and the University as a whole.   This gift is a model for the future of the University, and I will work with the government to make this kind of arrangements easier.

Lastly but not the least, I’d like to congratulate Prof. Hitoshi Murayama for his strong leadership and receiving this amazing gift.

Thank you to you all.

Remarks by Fred Kavli, Chairman and Founder of the Kavli Foundation

Good morning.

President Hamada, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It’s a great honor and special pleasure to be back here in Japan, such a strong and trusted friend, an ally of the United States, in a fight for freedom and peace and a partner in our mission to gain knowledge and understanding of the universe, nature and the human being.

I grew up on the other side of the planet earth in a green valley in Western Norway, flanked by tall mountains –– where I would experience the power and beauty of nature as thunder and lightning would shake the valley from mountainside to mountainside.

And at times the whole sky was aflame with the northern lights shifting and dancing across he sky, down in the white clad mountaintops.  In the stillness and loneliness of the white mountains, I would so clearly see the Milky Way and the stars and the immenseness of the universe –– so big beyond imagination.

I pondered the universe, the planet, nature and the wonders of man.  I’m still pondering.

The universe so big beyond imagination yet composed of particles so small –– beyond comprehension –– and those little creatures that have taken command of the planet earth –– not because of their strength not because of their longevity –– but because of their brain.

It has been a long road from the while mountaintops of Norway.  After studying physics at the Norwegian Technical University, I came to America and settled down in southern California where I had a long journey through the business world.

My interests are now back full circle to where I started –– to the universe –– from the smallest building blocks –– to the vastness and incredible wonders of space –– and to the immerging master of nature –– the human brain

It’s a special pleasure to welcome the IPMU into the Kavli international family in support for the benefit of humanity.

The IPMU is a proud example of the best of science, having acquired an international reputation of excellence –– probing the deepest secrets of the universe in humanity’s quest for greater knowledge and understanding.

The Kavli Foundation is dedicated to advancing science, promoting public understanding of science and the role of scientific research and supporting scientists and their work.

This is accomplished through our institutes and a network of activities which we call the Kavli family.

The Kavli family now is composed of:

  • 16 institutes worldwide,
  • As well as the Kavli prizes for Astroscience, Nanoscience, and Neuroscience, sponsored in partnership with Norway;
  • The Kavli Endowed Professorships;
  • The Kavli Frontiers of Science, a program of the U.S. National Academy of Science;
  • The Kavli Futures Symposia;
  • Science Journalist Workshops and Awards;
  • The Kavli Royal Society International Center in the U.K., and other activities.

The Kavli IPMU is joining 15 other Kavli Institutes–– 

In Physics and Astrophysics at:

  • The University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB),
  • Stanford University,
  • The University of Chicago,
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),
  • Peking University,
  • The Chinese Academy of Sciences,
  • And the University of Cambridge.

In Nanoscience at:

  • The California Institute of Technology (Caltech),
  • Cornell University,
  • Delft University and
  • Harvard University.

In Neuroscience at:

  • Yale University,
  •  Columbia University,
  • The University of California at San Diego (UCSD), and
  • The Norwegian University of Science and Technology

I support science because of curiosity and because I believe in its long-range benefit to humanity.

Science helps us lead healthier lives.

Practically everything we touch in our daily lives has been improved or developed through basic research.

The progress of our entire standard of living is tied closely to the fruits of science and research.

We owe our comfort, health and longevity as we know it today, to science and technology.

100 years ago our life expectancy was 47 years.

We had no cure for tuberculosis or polio.

We had no antibiotics.

So many diseases were deadly.

We travelled by foot or horse and communicated by letters which took months to reach us.  We owe our life today to this progress science has provided us.

We support science worldwide through our philanthropic effort.  Philanthropy is a great tradition in the United States of giving back to society and I am very pleased to be able to share our philanthropic tradition with Japan –– a great friend of America.  It is a privilege to partner with IPMU in our quest to support excellence in science through cooperation across national borders worldwide.

Thank you.