Issue 1, 2014

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Report from GATIS Network Meeting at KCL

The first GATIS network meeting of the year took place in Kings College London (KCL), UK, on 10th to 14th of February, 2014. The Nordita GATIS fellows, James Gordon and Xinyi Chen, attended the meeting. Xinyi reports:

The GATIS (Gauge Theories as an Integrable System) network is an EU-funded Marie Curie Initial Training Program, of which Nordita is one of 17 partners. The event held at KCL was a gathering of mostly young researchers from different partner institutions. It consisted of two separate parts. The first part was a scientific workshop, called "Strongly Coupled Gauge Theories", while the second part was devoted to a soft-skill training program on scientific communication, with subsequent proposals about outreach projects of the network.

The scientific workshop lasted two days, where a total of 22 researchers gave short presentations about their current research. I had the opportunity to give my first talk as PhD student, about my ongoing project with my supervisor, Nordita Professor Konstantin Zarembo, and fellow PhD student James Gordon. I presented the model we are currently working on, the so-called N=2* Super Yang-Mills theory, in the holographic setting. Some of our preliminary results were showed as well.

During the following two days, one of the private partners of the GATIS network, SISSA Medialab, gave us an introductory course on scientific communication. Group activities were organized, such as practicing talks aimed at various audiences, and writing scientific news titles and abstracts for the general public.

On the last day, participants, including some senior researchers from the network, formed three groups to discuss GATIS outreaching projects. This was mediated by professionals from two other privates sectors, Milde Marketing and Mann beisst Hund. We discussed a website project, which might involve a blog addressed to a non-specialist audience; a visual project, which will consist of a short film about the network; and, last but not least, a social media project, both for internal communication and public outreach. Future meetings of GATIS fellows and the private companies will further develop these projects.

The experience, overall, was enriching, with a friendly atmosphere. More information about GATIS can be found on its official website:

A Nice Example of Scientific Outreach Activities

The University of Iceland website Vísindavefurinn (Web of Science) has been named as the best Icelandic "medium" and the best non-profit website. Vísindavefurinn was launched in 2000. Initially it was conceived as a temporary contribution to the project of the University of Iceland, Reykjavik - European City of Culture in 2000. Soon, however, due to the large public interest in Science, it was decided to keep the project going. Vísindavefurinn deals with all sciences, from astronomy to molecular biology. Visitors can read the answers to the most popular scientific questions, but also, they can submit new questions and the employees of the University and supporters of the website can directly answer or find the answer. As described by the Selection Committee: "The web is filled with exciting and interesting content about everything between heaven and earth, it is at once one of the most reliable, user-friendly" and extremely popular scientific website.

Study of Gender Equality Receives Research Grant

The international project GARCIA has been awarded a grant by the EU 7th Framework Programme.

The project GARCIA, Gendering the Academy and Research: Combating Career instability and asymmetries, is a collaboration between Belgium, Switzerland, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Austria, Iceland, and Italy, which is responsible for the project management. The total amount of the grant is just below 2.3 million EUR for a three-year period. The grant is an important recognition for gender studies at the University of Iceland.

Rector: Income of University of Iceland Must Grow

In a public speech, the rector of the University of Iceland, Kristin Ingólfsdóttir, comes back to the cutting of public financial funding of the university. As she explained, in order to reach the level of public investments in other Nordic universities the income must grow by five billion ISK (over 30 million EUR). Currently the University of Iceland has about 14 thousand students and 2000 staff. It plays a crucial role in Icelandic education and development of new knowledge and wealth based on research and science.

She mentioned how basic research has contributed to capital growth, and how the University of Iceland has been a leading center for innovation and new industries in Iceland. She recalled recent three start-up companies based on research in ophthalmic in cooperation with scientists working on computer science, statistics, pharmacology, and electrical engineering.


Fridtjof Nansen Prize for Young Scientists

Yasser Roudi of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience in Trondheim, Norway, has been awarded the 2014 Fridtjof Nansen Prize for Young Scientists by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Yasser held a Nordita Fellowship from 2008 to 2010 and is currently a Corresponding Fellow.

Risto Nieminen and Irma Thesleff Appointed Academicians of Science

Professor Risto Nieminen (Aalto University, former Director of Nordita) and Professor Irma Thesleff (University of Helsinki) have been awarded the honorary title of Academician of Science. President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö granted the titles at a presidential session in February 2014.

Swedish Research Council Selects Distinguished Professors

The Swedish research council has selected grant recipients to receive a total of 50 MSEK over 10 years in a recently established program for distinguished professors. Two out of nine professors are physicists: Anne L'Huillier at Lund University got funded for the project proposal "Lund's attosecond science center  and Olle Eriksson at Uppsala University received funding for "Dynamics in Materials".

Next Big Names in Physics

Financial Times Magazine has listed Nordita Assistant Professor Sabine Hossenfelder as one of the next big names in physics, as "a rising leader in quantum gravity research, a young field that explores the interplay between the theory of general relativity and quantum mechanics."

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