Swedish author and Director General of CERN new honorary doctors

24 December 2012

Two well-known personalities have been awarded the 2013 honorary doctorates by Lund University’s Faculty of Science. One is Fredrik Sjöberg, biologist and author, and the other Professor Rolf Heuer, Director General of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN.

Professor Rolf Heuer

Rolf HeuerProfessor Rolf Heuer, Director General of CERN, is awarded the doctorate for his leadership of CERN, which has had a postive impact on science research and research studies at Lund University, and for his successful collaboration with Lund University physicists in his previous position at Universität Hamburg and at the DESY Laboratory.

For a number of years Lund University physicists have conducted particle physics research at the CERN laboratory outside Geneva. The research is concerned with the structure of matter and the laws of nature, providing insights into the origins of the universe, dark matter in space and the successful hunt of the Higgs boson. Nuclear physicists are also active at CERN and engaged in research on exotic atomic nuclei produced in spallation reactions, i. e. the same kind of process that will be used at the European Spallation Source (ESS) in Lund.

“Our research and PhD programme in all these projects are highly dependent on how CERN works as an organisation. Rolf Heuer’s leadership of the organisation has been of crucial importance”, says Professor Torsten Åkesson at the Department of Physics, Lund University.

“Furthermore, science has benefited enormously from Rolf Heuer’s efforts to make knowledge of the origins of the universe accessible to the general public”, adds Professor Knut Deppert, Head of the Department of Physics at Lund University.

Professor Heuer started his academic career in particle physics and became a professor at Universität Hamburg in 1998. In 2004 he was appointed research director of the DESY Laboratory where Lund physicists have conducted research for many years. Four years ago he took up the position as Director General of CERN.

Fredrik Sjöberg

Fredrik SjöbergThe other 2013 Lund University honorary doctorate in science is awarded to the biologist and author Fredrik Sjöberg. He is awarded the doctorate for making knowledge in biology widely accessible through several decades of writing. He writes on topics such as environmental issues and the significance of biodiversity and emphasises the role of curiosity and open-ended investigation of the mysteries of nature. The honorary doctorate makes the journey Fredrik Sjöberg started as a biology student at Lund University in 1978 come full circle.

“Fredrik Sjöberg’s career has given him a unique position in the literary landscape”, says Professor Christer Löfstedt, Head of the Department of Biology, Lund University.

His 2001 book on the insect collection of the Swedish poet and Nobel laureate Tomas Tranströmer (Tranströmerska insektsamlingen från Runmarö) made Sjöberg find a style of writing that reached a wide and expanding audience, not least abroad. His decisive breakthrough came three years later with Flugfällan (The Fly Trap), which was to turn out the first volume of a semi-autobiographical trilogy based in science. Fredrik Sjöberg has been awarded a number of literary prizes, one of which is the 2012 John Landquist prize, awarded by the literary society De Nio.

“Fredrik Sjöberg typically mixes high and low, art and science, often adopting a biographical stance”, says Christer Löfstedt.

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