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23 June 2022

International Rising Talents Award to Nordita Astrophysicist

Nordita is proud to announce that Nordita astrophysicist Beatriz Villarroel has been awarded the L'Oréal-UNESCO International Rising Talents Award for 2022.

Photo: Karl Nordlund

The International Rising Talents program rewards the 15 most promising young women scientists in mathematics, environmental, physical, and computational science, selected among the 275 laureates of the L'Oréal-Unesco for Women in Science Prize in Sweden from the previous year.

Read more in the press releases from Fondation L'Oreal and Stockholm University, with an interview with Beatriz.


Beatriz is the Principal Investigator in the Vanishing and Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations (VASCO) project, which compares historical sky catalogues with current images, searching for vanishing objects and other extraordinary events in the sky. Some of the astronomical events the project hopes to eventually find include gradually dimming quasars or a massive star that collapses directly into a black hole without emitting a bright supernova. Such stars could even be the signature of the advanced technology of an alien supercivilisation.

If you want to help finding vanishing and appearing stars, you can join the VASCO Citizens Science Project!

13 May, 2022

In Memoriam Ben Mottelson

9 July 1926 - 13 May 2022

It is with great sadness to inform you that our distinguished professor emeritus Ben Mottelson passed away on Friday, May 13. Ben was an extraordinary physicist and human being in general. He has been a professor at Nordita since it was founded in 1957 in Copenhagen. He has obviously been of immense importance to Nordita and its development for many decades. Our thoughts are his family and friends to process this loss.

Ben was a professor at the Niels Bohr Institute (NBI) and Nordita, where he was employed for most of his career. With Aage Bohr he developed a unified model of atomic nuclei that could explain many facets of the properties of nuclei. This model combined aspects of Niels Bohr?s liquid drop model with shell effects, and for this work Ben, together with Aage Bohr and James Rainwater, was awarded the Nobel prize in Physics in 1975. Ben had a strong influence on contemporaries in the field, as well as the younger generation of physicists in nuclear and quantum many-body physics. In later years, he turned his attention to metallic clusters, quantum dots and ultracold atomic gases, and also worked with Aage Bohr and Ole Ulfbeck on the foundations of quantum physics.

Ben was the last person still alive that contributed to the foundation of Nordita in 1957, and thus belonging to those that have experienced the very early days of Nordita. Fortunately the book edited by Chris Pethick, Helle Killerich and Ben Mottelson has been completed during 2021 (see, in which the first 50 years of Nordita in Copenhagen are described through the contributions of many Nordic people who came in contact with Nordita and shaped the structure of Nordita during the first 50 years of its existence. The presence of Ben Mottelson and Aage Bohr at Nordita was very important for the development of mainly nuclear but also particle physics in the Nordic countries during the sixties and the seventies. They also played a very important role to the high level of the scientific environment in Copenhagen, in which numerous world leading physicist visited the NBI and Nordita for a long period of time.

Nordita is grateful for everything that Ben has meant for the institute and its people.

Nordita Bi-Annual Newsletter

Newsletter Spring 2022

Nordita the Copenhagen Years

A scrapbook of recollections by researchers working at or visiting Nordita during the years at NBI in Copenhagen, 1957-2006. The book is edited by Einar Gudmundsson, Helle Kiilerich, Ben Mottelsson and Christopher Pethick.
Download Book (

The Organic Materials Database

The OMDB is an open access electronic structure database for 3-dimensional organic crystals, developed and hosted at Nordita.

Read more about the OMDB

Masters of Science Programme in Theoretical Physics

Two-year MSc programme in Physics at the University of Iceland, in partnership with Nordita, the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics.

The programme aims to provide students with up-to-date knowledge of contemporary physics in the main areas of astrophysics, condensed matter physics, and high-energy physics, as well as solid training in applying mathematical and numerical tools widely used in these fields. The programme also offers a course to develop professional skills such as writing and presenting scientific content.

Further information and application.

Contact us:

Hannes Alfvéns väg 12
106 91 Stockholm

Phone: +46 8 5537 8473

KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm University The Nordic Council of Ministers The Swedish Research Council

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