As you have noticed by following the OKC blog, our success is continuing. We had an international mid-term review in the beginning of the year, and we came through with flying colours. Just a couple of quotes from that report of the Swedish Research Council (VR):
”Research on some of the most profound mysteries of the universe, such as the nature of dark matter, is being conducted in OKC at the highest international levels…”
“The research is of excellent quality, as can be seen from publications and citations, but even more by looking at the published papers…”
“OKC is actively involved in several very high-profile international experiments or facilities… The most prominent is ATLAS, one of the two experiments which led to the discovery of the Higgs boson at the CERN LHC… “
“OKC has had hardware participation in, and is leading the search for, indirect detection of dark matter…”
“A 2011 OKC paper [by Fawad Hassan and OKC-Fellow Rachel Rosen] provided a consistent formulation of the “bimetric theory”, as an alternative to Einstein’s theory of gravitation…”
This was great words for us to read – and indeed they meant that we can continue in OKC with unchanged budget 5 more years. This was soon followed by other positive news: Katie Freese was chosen new NORDITA Director, and also obtained a large VR 10-year excellence grant to perform her research here at Stockholm University in the OKC environment. Then in October Jan Conrad received a substantial grant from the Wallenberg Foundation to enter the world-leading XENON experiment in Gran Sasso, and soon after that word came about OKC’s Ariel Goobar being honoured by the “Breakthrough Prize” for his role in the Nobel Prize winning SCP project. Finally, a few weeks ago, OKC got one more Wallenberg Academy Fellow – congratulations to Matthew Hayes of the Astronomy Department!
As some of you know, I will now step down as Director for OKC, and will be Dean of the Mathematics and Physics Section of the Science Faculty of Stockholm University as from January 1st 2015. Ariel Goobar will take the responsibility to lead the OKC until a new Director arrives (there is still time to apply to the announced Chair at Stockholm University which has this as a first task).
I want to finish this blog by thanking all my colleagues and friends at the OKC who have helped making this such an enjoyable, exciting and successful 6 years. I am sure that the next leg of this wonderful OKC journey will be at least as exciting as the first part.
I wish you all Happy Holidays and a great New Year!