Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics

Coordinates: 34°24′50.29″N 119°50′27.36″W / 34.4139694°N 119.8409333°W / 34.4139694; -119.8409333

The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) is a research institute of the University of California, Santa Barbara. KITP is one of the most renowned institutes for theoretical physics in the world, and brings theorists in physics and related fields together to work on topics at the forefront of theoretical science. The National Science Foundation has been the principal supporter of the Institute since it was founded as the Institute for Theoretical Physics in 1979. In a 2007 article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, KITP was given the highest impact index in a comparison of nonbiomedical research organizations across the U.S.[1]

Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics
Field of research
Theoretical physics
DirectorLars Bildsten
LocationSanta Barbara, California, United States
CampusUniversity of California, Santa Barbara
David Gross
Walter Kohn
Robert Schrieffer
Frank Wilczek


In the early 2000s, the institute, formerly known as the Institute for Theoretical Physics, or ITP, was named for the Norwegian-American physicist and businessman Fred Kavli, in recognition of his donation of $7.5 million to the Institute.

Kohn Hall, which houses KITP, is located just beyond the Henley Gate at the East Entrance of the UCSB campus. The building was designed by the Driehaus Prize winner and New Classical architect Michael Graves, and a new wing designed by Graves was added in 2003–2004.

Kohn Hall, which houses the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.


The Directors of the KITP since its beginning have been:

The Director and the permanent members of the KITP (Leon Balents, David Gross, Alexei Kitaev, and Boris Shraiman) are also on the faculty of the UC Santa Barbara Physics Department. Former permanent members include Physics Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek and Joseph Polchinski.


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