Two AU professors at the National Academy of Sciences
Astrophysicist Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard from Aarhus University has become a member of the exclusive and highly esteemed American scientific society, the National Academy of Sciences. This means the academy now has two members from AU, as Bo Barker Jørgensen, a microbiologist, was admitted in 2020.
The two professors will formally be elected at an official ceremony in Washington on Friday 29 April.
They will be joining a very exclusive group.
The National Academy of Sciences has approx. 2,400 American members and 500 members from other countries. 190 of them are Nobel Prize laureates.
At the moment, eight members come from universities in Denmark. During the 157 years, the academy has existed, a total of 21 Danish members have been elected.
Great honour and a lot of work
Membership of the National Academy of Sciences is not just an honorary title; it entails a lot of scientific work. The academy's National Research Council is an important consultancy body for American politicians, government agencies and research institutions, not least through their Decadal Surveys, which recommend research priorities over the next ten years.
Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard is proud that some of the academy have nominated him. This was in secrecy, and he was not notified until he received the invitation.
The background is also secret, but not difficult to guess.
Leading authority on star-quakes
Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard has played a key role in developing seismic studies of the Sun and other stars. As the head of the basic research centre, the Stellar Astrophysics Centre (SAC) at Aarhus University, he has been deeply involved in the study of star-quakes and exoplanets from the two NASA space telescopes, Kepler and TESS. He has organised the more than 500 researchers at the TESS Asteroseismic Science Consortium (TASC).
"I believe that I’ll almost immediately be involved in the next round of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey. It’s a very comprehensive process that collects ideas from the entire community and brings them together in recommendations. The James Webb telescope, which was launched in December 2021, for example, is the result of a recommendation from the Decadal Survey twenty years ago," says Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard.
Who, by the way, is retiring on 30 June and will be appointed as an emeritus professor at Aarhus University.
Professor Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard
- Born 6 October 1950 in Kolding, Denmark
- MSc in astronomy from Aarhus University in 1975
- PhD in astrophysics from the University of Cambridge, UK, in 1978.
- Postdoc positions in Liège, Belgium; Boulder, Colorado, US; and the University of Copenhagen up to 1984
- Associate professor at the former Department of Astronomy (now the Department of Physics and Astronomy), Aarhus University, 1984
- Member of Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, 1990
- Professor of helio- and astero-seismology at the same place, 2001
- Head of the Danish AsteroSeismology Centre from 2004.
- Head of the Stellar Astrophysics Centre (SAC) from 2012.
The list of members on the National Academy of Sciences’ website is not entirely systematic. The list below is best available of Danish members over time (current members marked with *):
1925: Niels Bohr, University of Copenhagen
1937: August Krogh, University of Copenhagen, Nobel Prize laureate
1938: Søren P. L. Sørensen, Carlsberg Laboratoriet
1947: Johannes N. Brønsted, University of Copenhagen
1952: Niels Bjerrum, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University
1971: Aage Bohr, University of Copenhagen, Nobel Prize laureate
1971: Bengt Strömgren, University of Copenhagen
1973: Ben Mottelson, Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics, Nobel Prize laureate
1975: Niels Kaj Jerne, University of Copenhagen, Nobel Prize laureate
1978: Helge Larsen, Arctic Institute
1980: Hans Ussing, University of Copenhagen
1988: Jens Skou, Aarhus University, Nobel prize laureate
1989: Ester Boserup, UN
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 *
2021: Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard *