Kavli ENSI Holds Inaugural Events

January 22, 2015

Last Thursday and Friday, nearly 200 graduate students, postdocs, and researchers came to Berkeley Lab to discuss the latest in nanoscience advances and to celebrate the endowment of the Kavli Energy NanoScience Institute (ENSI) at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley. 

In his introductions on Thursday, Lab Director Paul Alivisatos said that the Kavli Foundation has “a deep reverence for fostering new ideas and foundationally new science.” Alivisatos added: “It’s wonderful the Kavli Foundation is enabling us to work on problems that are deep and of practical importance.”

Announced last October, ENSI has a $20 million endowment; the Kavli Foundation and UC Berkeley each provided $10 million of funding. ENSI joins four other Kavli Institutes—Cornell University, California Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Delft University of Technology—focusing on nanoscience. ENSI is the 17th Kavli Institute worldwide. 

In addition to Alivisatos’ introduction, the first day of the symposium featured welcoming remarks by the chairman of the Kavli Foundation, Rockell Hankin, and an opening address by the president and CEO of the foundation, Robert Conn. 

Directors from three of the four Kavli nanoscience institutes—Paul McEuen of Cornell, Nai-Chang Yeh of CalTech, and Cees Dekker of Delft—and Sir Richard Friend, of the University of Cambridge, also spoke on topics that ranged from tools used in making and measuring nanotechnology to nanoscale experiments with bacteria.

The second day of the symposium featured talks by Berkeley Lab and UC researchers as well as the winner of ENSI’s Best Thesis Prize, Ziliang Ye of Columbia University. Carlos Bustamante spoke on molecular motors and biological nanomachines; Alex Zettl on carbon nanotube radios and using synthetic nanostructures to control energy transfer processes; Omar Yaghi on metal-organic frameworks and nanoscale energy-storage systems; and Eli Yablonovitch on record-breaking, thin-film solar cells and converting heat to power.