8 December 2009

Tycho Brahe programme attracts star researchers

”It is important to get the most talented researchers and with the new Sophie and Tycho Brahe Fellowship we have created a very prestigious programme, which can attract the sharpest young researchers in the world”, explains Kristian Pedersen, astrophysicist and Associate professor at Dark Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohr Institute.

The Sophie and Tycho Brahe Fellowship programme is named after the most prominent Danish astronomers in history and is supported by the Danish National Research Foundation. The aim is to compete with large international fellowships in the fight to attract young researchers with outstanding scientific achievements and the prospect of a stellar career. 

”The most important thing is to get a good researcher, and not so much what they research in. We give them a lot of freedom to choose their research area and we have really succeeded in recruiting two brilliant young researchers”, says Kristian Pedersen about the two new recruits Justyn Maund and Berian James.

They are appointed to 3-year post.doc. positions, which are held in collaboration between the Dark Cosmology Centre and a foreign university. “Having the opportunity to engage in research in two leading places – both in Europe and in the USA and to meet many different people is a very important part of the position and opens great prospects for a future career”, explains Berian James about his reasons for applying for the Brahe Fellowship. 

Berian James is a trained astrophysicist from the University of Sydney in Australia and received his PhD in 2009 from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He works with observational cosmology and researches the formation and evolution of galaxies and large scale structures such as galaxy clusters. He also studies supernovae, which are exploding massive stars, with the goal of understanding the expansion of the universe. Berian James’ position is held jointly with the University of California, Berkeley with Professor Johs Bloom.

Justyn R. Maund works with the nature of cosmic explosions. He is researching how to identify the origin of special types of supernovae and is studying the shapes of the explosions with the help of polarisation measurements and spectroscopy. He also works with indicators to determine distances in the cosmos. Justyn Maund has a PhD from the University of Cambridge and a post.doc. from the University of Texas, Austin. The appointment as Brahe Fellow is in collaboration with the University of California at Santa Cruz with Professor Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz.

”Justyn Maund and Berian James have been chosen because they were simply the best”, explains a very satisfied Kristian Pedersen. The Dark Cosmology Centre expects to have chosen the next Brahe Fellow by February.