Female Scientists 2018
For the eighth straight year, the Hasselblad Foundation is allocating funding to female researchers in the natural sciences.
Two scientists from the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology are this year’s recipients of the Hasselblad Foundation’s annual research grants for female researchers, each worth SEK 1 million. The grant programme was established in 2011 to acknowledge female researchers and enable them to continue and further develop their research.
This year’s grants go to Brina Blinzler, Assistant Professor at the division of Material- and Computational Mechanics, Department of Industrial and Materials Science, Chalmers University of Technology and Marina Rafajlovic, Assistant Professor at Department of Marine Sciences University of Gothenburg.
The International Science Festival 2018
For the 17th time, the Hasselblad Foundation is supporting the International Science Festival.
Each year, the International Science Festival in Gothenburg creates a meeting place for knowledge, inspiration and new perspectives. The Festival attracts about 70 000 per year, which makes it one of Europe’s leading popular science events.
The Festival offers an exciting mix of science and culture. There are three separate programmes: the public programme, the school programme and the specialist programme – Forum for Research Communication.
The support amounts to SEK 300 000.
Onsala Space Observatory
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.
A Swedish contribution to the Synoptic Arctic Survey (SAS)
The Arctic Ocean is changing faster than our present approaches to properly measure and document all the different shifts as well as the driving forces behind them. Thus there is a need for a Synoptic Arctic Survey that seeks to define the present state of the Arctic Ocean and understand the major ongoing transformations. It will not be possible to assess either the consequences or the range of the ongoing changes unless necessary empirical data are collected, analyzed and understood in concert with each other. A fundamental premise for approaching, sampling and understanding the far-reaching changes in the Arctic Ocean is thus that the survey should be synoptic across the ocean, which is beyond the scope of any single nation.
Extreme Universe Space Observatory – Cosmic rays – subatomic particles from space – with the highest energies generate streaks of light that can be filmed with a super-sensitive and super-fast UV camera. This is the foundation of the international EUSO (Extreme Universe Space Observatory) project. Such particles are extremely rare; on average, only one super-energetic cosmic ray particle occurs per square kilometre and century! Consequently, there is a need to monitor some very large areas simultaneously in order to catch a sufficient number of particles on film. This is the reason behind EUSO’s ambition to place a high-speed, super-sensitive UV camera in space, 400 km above ground, at the International Space Station, ISS.
The EUSO project requires highly advanced technology and new assessment methods in the areas of optic, electronic and software engineering. The work will move forward one step at a time, beginning with a ground-based camera, then two cameras designed for balloons and a camera called Mini-EUSO that will be sent to ISS in late 2018. However, Mini-EUSO is too small for studies of the cosmic rays, but will help verify the technology and the observation method from space and will also be used to study the other phenomena mentioned above. A more advanced version is currently being developed for a 1-month balloon ride in 2020. That camera will be able to catch cosmic rays because of its relatively low altitude but hardly any of the rare super-energetic and most interesting particles.
The Hasselblad Foundation supports the Royal Institute of Technology and Christer Fuglesang in order for them to continue to represent Sweden in the EUSO-project with universities and research institutes from a total of 16 countries.
Alfie Atkins’ Cultural Centre
In Space with Alfie Atkins – a collaboration between the Alfie Atkins Cultural Centre, Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg.
Children become fascinated by space at an early age. We are surrounded by astronomy from the moment we wake up until we go to bed at night. The field is a perfect gateway to further exploration of the natural sciences, and it is exciting to deal with an area of knowledge that children already have a strong interest in. For thousands of years, humanity has been mesmerised by the moon, and according to Sweden’s national curriculum for the lower grades, pupils are to learn about constellations, the lunar phases and the movements of Earth, the moon and the sun.
Many teachers are looking for ways to further stimulate young children’s interest in science and make scientific phenomena comprehensible to them. By stimulating their curiosity through play and fun activities, the Alfie Atkins Cultural Centre makes an important contribution to young children’s learning. This makes the Centre an early link in the long chain of lifelong learning and a source of inspiration for both children and their teachers. In partnership with Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Alfie Atkins’ space project introduces the youngest children to the many wonders of space through play and fun experiences.