The connection between the Foundation and the observatory dates all the way back to 1975 when Erna and Victor Hasselblad donated the land to Chalmers to enable the construction of a radome-enclosed cm- and mm-wave telescope. The Hasselblads lived nearby and owned the land in the area. On 21 May 1976, Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf inaugurated the new telescope in Onsala just south of Gothenburg.
James L. Davis, Research Professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, New York, USA. He has a past as a partner with the research group Space Geodesy and Geodynamics at Chalmers, located at the Onsala Space Observatory. In the 80’s he carried out studies in the field of geodetic long-base interferometry (VLBI) to improve the accuracy of the method, and especially developing methods for corrections of the atmospheric impact. Then, in the 90’s and a few years after the turn of the millennium, Jim participated in joint projects that included GPS observations and studies of the land uplift in northern Europe. Jim today has a broad profile that extends across several research areas such as climate related research on sea level, ice cover, and glacier dynamics. It is natural for this new collaboration to link to previous work on atmospheric measurements and crustal dynamics in northern Europe where there is still improvements to be made in the accuracy of the geodetic measurements, which hopefully open for new geodynamic issues to be addressed.
Matt King is Professor of Polar Geodesy in the School of Land and Food, University of Tasmania, Australia. His field of expertise is geodetic observation of the global water cycle, including ice sheet mass balance and sea level change and particularly using the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE). He also works on reduction of systematic and random errors in these techniques in order to maximise the information content in the data and improve the reliability of the interpretations. His research currently encompasses the following broad areas: i) measurement and modelling of glacial isostatic adjustment in Antarctica for understanding previous and current ice mass changes; ii) improved observation of sea-level change and present-day polar contributors; iii) using geodetic techniques to understand ice sheet and glacier change; and iv) probing Earth’s internal structure using glacial unloading and earthquakes.
Prof. Paola Caselli obtained her PhD degree in Astronomy at the University of Bologna in 1994. Since 2014 she is one of the directors of the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, where she leads the ‘Center for Astrochemical Studies’. She is one of the most prominent astronomers in Europe. Her research ranges in topics from the study of young, planet-forming, disks to the chemistry of galaxies in the early Universe. Some of her most important contributions concern the understanding of the fundamental physical and chemical processes that regulate and control the earliest phases of star formation.
Dimitra Rigopoulou is professor of Astrophysics at Oxford University, UK. She is a highly distinguished astronomer of a strong international standing. Her research spans topics ranging from the study of young galaxies in the early Universe, to investigating the properties of nearby active- and dust-embedded galaxies. Some of her most important contributions include the understanding of the fundamental physical processes that regulate dust-enshrouded star formation in distant and local galaxies and the development of diagnostic tools (in particular in the infrared wavelength regime). Her >160 refereed journal papers have more than 15000 citations. Dimitra’s professional web-page can be found here.
Mark Birkinshaw is Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Bristol, U.K. Until 1995 he worked in the U.S.A. at the Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory and at Harvard University where he was involved in preparations for the launch of the Chandra X-ray telescope. He is best known for being the first to detect the so-called Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect, a faint distortion of the cosmic microwave background radiation due to the presence of hot gas along the line of sight. This first detection opened the door for an entire field of research and has even been used recently to detect previously unknown distant clusters of galaxies. Birkinshaw has remained at the forefront of extragalactic research through his whole career. He is actively involved in several international collaborations such as XXL (a multi-wavelength survey of two parts of the sky to study clusters and galaxies with supermassive black holes), work with LOFAR (the LOw Frequency ARray, a digital radio telescope with a core in the Netherlands and stations in several European countries, including one in Onsala); he also uses ALMA to probe galaxies lensed by foreground massive clusters.
The five affiliated professor appointments supported by the Hasselblad Foundation will be in the period 2019-2021.