21 June 2012
Oxford professor Subir Sarkar gets Niels Bohr professorship
Professor of theoretical particle physics and cosmology at Oxford University, Subir Sarkar, has been awarded a Niels Bohr Professorship by the Danish National Research Foundation. The professorship is a grant of 29 million kroner for a five-year appointment at the Niels Bohr International Academy at the Niels Bohr Institute.
“I am very happy to have received this professorship. My research lies at the border between particle physics and astrophysics/cosmology and my project is titled: “Connecting Inner Space and Outer Space" There is a lot going on in these areas at the Niels Bohr Institute, particularly at the Cosmology Centre and the Discovery Center and in the research group Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology. I am very much looking forward to collaborating with both the experimental physicists and the theorists who are working within this exciting field, in our common quest to understand how the universe and everything in it was shaped by the fundamental laws of physics,” explains Subir Sarkar.
Subir Sarkar, who has often been a guest at the Niels Bohr Institute, is a theoretical physicist, but he also works with experimental physics. With the new professorship he will be working at the Niels Bohr International Academy, which houses theoretical physicists, but he will also collaborate with experimental physicists at the Discovery Center.
“There is great potential in linking the two research institutions, Oxford University and the University of Copenhagen,” says professor at the Niels Bohr International Academy, Poul Henrik Damgaard. He explains that Subir Sarkar has helped define an entirely new research field, called astro-particle physics. The research field is now even more relevant because of new observations with, for example, the Planck Satellite, which explores the very early primordial universe as well as with the experiments at CERN, where they are trying to explore the very early universe in the LHC particle accelerator.
The universe holds many unsolved mysteries such as dark matter and dark energy. The research shows that the universe is not only comprised of the visible celestial bodies – planets, stars and galaxies – 70 percent of the universe’s energy is dark energy and 25 percent of everything out there is dark matter. We do not know what it is, but this is what we are working to unravel through contributions from experiments, observations and theoretical modelling.
Major driving force
“Subir Sarkar is a fantastically active researcher and a major driving force behind a number of initiatives and international collaborations. He is also a very outgoing and charismatic personality and he is very popular among the students,” explains Poul Henrik Damgaard, who is looking forward to Subir Sarkar beginning his new professorship in September.
Subir Sarkar will now build up his own brand new research group consisting of seven young researchers, including both PhD students and postdocs. His wife, Amanda Cooper-Sarkar, a professor of particle physics at Oxford University, will be attached to the Discovery Center, so the Niels Bohr Institute will have an additional benefit with the new professorship.