MKI's 10th Anniversary Celebration

Friday, July 31, 2015

On June 18-19, 2015 the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research (MKI) held an anniversary celebration to mark its first ten years, which have seen tremendous advances in astrophysics research, science, technology, and teaching. A scientific symposium was held the morning of June 18.  MIT’s dean of science professor Michael Sipser opened the symposium with welcoming remarks for members of the MKI community, project collaborators, and invited guests, who included The Kavli Foundation president Dr. Robert Conn and their executive vice president for science programs, Dr. Miyoung Chun. Directors of two other Kavli astrophysics institutions attended—professor Tom Abel (Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology) and professor Michael Turner (Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics). The first session highlighted MKI’s first decade and featured talks by Dr. Conn (“Science and Philanthropy”), MKI director professor Jacqueline Hewitt (“Roots: The Center for Space Research, Chandra, and More”), professor emeritus Rainer Weiss (“The Origins of LIGO”), and Dr. George Ricker  (“A Decade-Long Journey to TESS”). The second session focused on the exciting science and research opportunities facing MKI in the coming decade. Speakers included Class of 1941 professor of physics and planetary science Sara Seager (“The Search for Habitable Planets”), professor Max Tegmark (“3D Mapping of our Cosmic Dawn”), Curtis (1963) and Kathleen Marble professor and associate department head of physics Nergis Mavalvala (“Gravitational Waves: A New Window on Astrophysics”), and Francis L. Friedman professor of physics Robert Simcoe (“No Small Vision: The Giant Magellan Telescope”).  MIT’s vice president for research professor Maria Zuber gave the closing remarks.  The symposium was followed by a celebratory clambake lunch for the MKI community and invited guests.  The afternoon featured laboratory tours of MKI’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), the Space Nanotechnology Laboratory (SNL), and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Laboratory as well as small discussion sessions on The Giant Magellan Telescope (Professor Simcoe) and Exoplanet Science and TESS (associate professor of physics Joshua Winn).  The anniversary event concluded with a tour of the Microelectronics Facility at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory on June 19. 


Image captions:

  1. Professor Maria Zuber presented Dr. Robert Conn and Dr. Miyoung Chun with “megaplanets” designed by glass artist Josh Simpson
  2. Dr. Robert Conn and Dr. Miyoung Chun with Professor Zuber
  3. Dr. Robert Conn and Dr. Miyoung Chun with MKI Director Professor Jacqueline Hewitt and MIT Dean of Science Professor Michael Sipser

Image credit:  Justin Knight