27 January 2010

Elite Researcher Prize to young astrophysicist

Signe Riemer-Sørensen, astrophysicist and PhD from Dark Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohr Institute receives the Danish Council for Independent Research’s Young Elite Researcher Prize, given to the most talented young researchers.

Signe Riemer-Sørensen combines something as diversified as astro- and particle-physics in her research, which at the same time is about the biggest in the universe, the galaxies - and the universe’s lightest tiny particles, called neutrinos.

Neutrinos are extremely small particles, so small they rarely interact with other matter. They race through the universe without colliding with the earth or with single atoms. In the Standard Model for particle physics, neutrinos are described as being without mass, but experiments and astronomic observations show that they do have a mass. It even turns out that the mass of neutrinos affected the formation of stars and galaxies in the early Universe.

”I am fascinated that there is so much in the Universe that we don’t understand. We can neither explain neutrinos nor dark matter, and yet we know that they affect the largest structures in the Universe like galaxies and galaxy clusters, so by exploring the largest we investigate the smallest,” says Signe Riemer-Sørensen.

The prize will be awarded on Wednesday, the 27th of January at the Glyptotech Museum, where Science Minister Helge Sander and Crown Princess Mary will honor 45 talented researchers from all over Denmark. Signe Riemer-Sørensen will receive the Young Researcher Prize and 200,000 Danish Kroner. She recently finished her PhD and will soon continue her research in a Post Doc position at the University of Queensland in Australia.