24 August 2011

Emil Bjerrum-Bohr receives 10 million kroner to research the mysteries of particle physics

Emil Bjerrum-Bohr, a physicist at the Niels Bohr Institute, has been awarded 10 million kroner by the Lundbeck Foundation for the establishment of his own research group, which will study the mysteries of high energy physics by building a bridge between theoretical physics and experiments currently taking place at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

Emil Bjerrum-BohrEmil Bjerrum-Bohr is a theoretical physicist who received his PhD from the Niels Bohr Institute in 2004. He has had a successful international career as a researcher first in Great Britain and later in the U.S. at the prestigious Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, whose most famous faculty member was Albert Einstein. In 2009 he returned to Denmark to assume a newly established research position in particle physics at the Niels Bohr Institute. 

This grant of 10 million kroner from the Lundbeck Foundation will allow him to establish and lead his own research group, the Amplitude Computation Group (CAMP), at the Niels Bohr International Academy and the Discovery Center of the Niels Bohr Institute.

Pioneering work

“My project is pioneering work with the goal of creating stronger connections between experimental and theoretical physics. With large experimental facilities like the LHC-accelerator at CERN, we are entering a new era of research, where particle physics must be understood on far smaller distances and at higher energy densities. The aim of the project is to find new methods for making accurate predictions of which particles will be formed in proton collisions at CERN. In particle physics these predictions are called scattering amplitudes. However, these new methods may also lead to an entirely new understanding of physics. That’s where it gets really exciting!”, explains Emil Bjerrum-Bohr. 

There are many ‘sacred' questions and big mysteries in physics, which still need to be answered. One of them is whether you can explain gravity with a quantum theory.  There are many theories that try to explain gravity and nuclear forces, but they point in conflicting directions. The main goal for Emil Bjerrum-Bohr is to connect all of the threads and find a consistent explanation.

”As a strong theoretical group, we will challenge the old theories and ideas. We will look for inspiration from all corners of physics. Our hope is to create an entirely new understanding of particle physics that can lead to major conceptual advances”, explains Emil Bjerrum Bohr.

The Lundbeck Foundation’s award of 10 million kroner will be given over a period of 5 years, and it will be possible to create three new postdoc positions and one PhD position. The research group will be part of the Discovery Center, which is a newly created Danish National Research Center of Excellence at the Niels Bohr Institute and the Niels Bohr International Academy.