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AU professor joins exclusive club: World-renowned academy invites Bo Barker Jørgensen to join

Professor Bo Barker Jørgensen from Aarhus University is to become a member of the world's most prestigious science academy, the American National Academy of Sciences. The academy only invites researchers with very significant results, and being invited is a unique accolade.

2020.04.29 | Michaela Louise Thulesen

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"Your colleagues in the United States recognize your significant contributions to science and invite you to join our fellowship," says the letter, which only very few researchers in the world receive. This year, 26 non-American researchers will receive a letter inviting them to join the National Academy of Sciences, and one of these prominent researchers is Professor Bo Barker Jørgensen from the Department of Biology at Aarhus University.

"I'm overjoyed and proud that people think that my work has been so important that they want me to be part of the Academy. It's great", says the professor, who is the 12th Danish researcher to be invited to join the National Academy of Sciences since the academy was founded 157 years ago.

A completely different league

The National Academy of Sciences is a research club, and current members nominate new members without their knowledge. Therefore, Bo Barker Jørgensen has no idea who nominated him, and he was somewhat surprised when he received the invitation from the Academy.

"It was a great surprise to receive the invitation. I’d never imagined it could happen to me, because when I look at the other members of the Academy, I don't think I'm anywhere near their league. It's nice that others seem to think I am," says Bo Barker Jørgensen, smiling.

The professor is renowned for his research into the ecology of marine microorganisms, which has been of great importance in understanding of the substance cycles of the oceans, and this is not the first time he has made himself noticed in the vaulted circles of international research. For example, in 1989 he was invited to Germany to start the new Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, in 1995 he received the prestigious German researcher award, the Körber-Preis, and in 2017 he received the internationally acclaimed research award, the A. C. Redfield Award.

The exclusive National Academy of Sciences was founded in 1863 and is extremely well-reputed in international scientific research environments. As a member, Bo Barker Jørgensen may be asked to advise government agencies and the general public. The Academy has 2,403 American members and 501 members from other countries; 190 are Nobel laureates. Bo Barker Jørgensen is the only living member from Aarhus University

Who’s who: Professor Bo Barker Jørgensen

  • Born on 22 September 1946 in Copenhagen.
  • MSc in biology from AU in 1973. Subsequent PhD from the same place in 1977, and he received his higher doctoral degree in biology in 1979.
  • Member of the teaching staff at Aarhus University since 1973.
  • Set up the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany, 1992 and was director from 1992-2011.
  • Head of the Centre for Geomicrobiology, Aarhus University 2007-2017.
  • Professor at Aarhus University since 2011.
  • Lives in Brabrand, Aarhus, with his wife, with whom he has three children.

Members of the National Academy of Sciences from Denmark

  • 1971: Aage Bohr, University of Copenhagen, Nobel Prize winner
  • 1971: Bengt Strömgren, University of Copenhagen
  • 1973: Ben Mottelson, Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics, Nobel Prize winner
  • 1980: Hans Ussing, University of Copenhagen
  • 1988: Jens Skou, Aarhus University, Nobel Prize winner
  • 1992: C. J. Ballhausen, University of Copenhagen
  • 2007: Donald Canfield, University of Southern Denmark
  • 2011: Tom Fenchel, University of Copenhagen
  • 2014: Eske Willerslev, University of Copenhagen
  • 2018: Charles Marcus, University of Copenhagen
  • 2019: Jens Nielsen, BioInnovation Institute
  • 2020: Bo Barker Jørgensen, Aarhus University
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