Happy ending for 2012!

Hello all OKC-related people,

It is time to summarize the year 2012 for the Oskar Klein Centre. We will soon reach midterm (after 5 years, end of June 2013), and soon thereafter there will be an international review of all the Linneaus centres of 2008 conducted by Vetenskapsrådet. At this review, the scientific performance will be the top priority.

We received earlier today very good results for the bibliometry of OKC, as assembled by Stockholm University’s (SU’s) bibliometrist, Per Ahlgren. In fact, OKC is by quite a large margin top-ranked at SU in a field-normalized study. The Rektor, Kåre Bremer, sent personally his congratulations to this result.

Of course will still have to look forward, and there are a few interesting new scientific activities at the OKC emerging at the moment. The first is the Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) and the Zwicky Transient Factory, which will open a whole new window for observations of supernovae and other transient events. At OKC, this collaboration with Caltech and a number of other outstanding institutions is led by Claes Fransson, Ariel Goobar and Jesper Sollerman.

Another interesting development concerns CTA, where Jan Conrad and myself have contacts with the US part of CTA, CTA-US, about collaborating on new mid-size mirrors that would roughly double the sensitivity of CTA for dark matter searches.

The IceCube collaboration have detected a couple of very interesting events with very high energy. They have started to investigate whether an even denser sub-array than their DeepCore, named PINGU, will be feasible. This could improve the dark matter search substantially.

Of course, there is great hope that all the 7 and 8 TeV data collected by ATLAS at LHC will show unexpected signals. For the time being, there has been discovery of a “Higgs-like” particle  of mass around 125 GeV, but there remains a lot more data to search for exotic signals beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. This will surely be enough to keep our OKC-involved people searching for dark matter in the data busy over the next couple of years, when the machine will be stopped to begin the upgrade to roughly twice the energy.

Finally some assembled pieces of news of relevance to OKC during the last year:

  • Stephan Rosswog, who is paid partly by the OKC the first 6 years, arrived in the summer, bringing also some of his very active younger colleagues. His thorough knowledge of compact objects like merging white dwarfs or neutron stars adds a new very interesting field to OKC.
  • Jan Conrad, who as from January 2012 has been a member of the OKC Steering Group, has been given one of the first grants in the new  Wallenberg Academy Fellow scheme. Besides the considerable honour associated with this title, obtained in the strongest competition, also comes a substantial 5-year, potentially renewable, research grant. Our congratulations to Jan for this!
  • Torsten Bringmann, the dark matter theory expert who was a graduate student at Fysikum and later guest scientist at the OKC, has been offered a permanent position in Oslo, in the same group as Are Raklev who was a postdoc with OKC and now also is permanently in Oslo.
  • OKC has started a collaboration with similar excellence centres in Odense, Denmark, and Tallinn, Estonia with coordination of activities.
  • Collaboration with Nordita has taken place, with among other things a joint postdoc offer. Nordita also has a 5-year assistant professor position in theoretical astroparticle physics being appointed. Of course we at OKC foresee a good synergy with the selected person, whoever that may be.
  • Former OKC graduate students Sofia Sivertsson and Anders Pinzke have received prestigious VR international 3-year postdoc grants for going to Amsterdam and Copenhagen, respectively. This will strengthen the already existing OKC collaborations with the astroparticle physics and cosmology centres in these cities.
  • The Fermi satellite has continued to deliver remarkably good data. There was much activity in the theoretical community after the possible appearance of a gamma-ray line (a signal first predicted by Håkan Snellman and myself in the 1980’s), or internal bremsstrahlung (proposed early by myself, but studied in much more detail in work by Torsten Bringmann, Joakim Edsjö and myself a few years ago) at energy in the 130 – 150 GeV region. It remains to be seen if this intriguing signal survives additional experimental cleaning of the data, however.
  • We hear that Fermi’s publication of a catalogue of point sources in early 2012 is one of the most cited of all publications in astrophysics.
  • This year’s Oskar Klein lecture was given by Juan Maldacena, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. The lecture was this year organized together with Nordita.
  • Member of OKC’s International Advisory Board, Katie Freese, University of Michigan, received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Science at SU in the autumn.
  • Serena Nobili, who has kept us socially active in a wonderful way in her half-time job as Communication Manager at the OKC, has been offered a position covering the other half-time, at Fysikum.

Finally, I want to thank everybody at the OKC for the wonderful work you have been doing – you should all be very proud of the indications we are getting that our centre indeed is at the highest scientific level.


Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!



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