DAWN Newsletter

April 2023

Astronomy on Tap: Bitten Gullberg

On 25 March 2023, Bitten Gullberg gave a wonderful talk at Astronomy on Tap on the subject:

"Starburst galaxies are the most intense star-forming galaxies in the history of the Universe. Although these distant galaxies had a great impact on the evolution of galaxies, there is still much we do not know about them, for example: what triggers and drives this intense star-formation?"

The L'Oréal-UNESCO's For Women in Science Award

Congratulations to Charlotte Mason who has just been awarded the 2023 prize of L'Oréal-UNESCO's For Women in Science.

The Danish For Women in Science prizes were launched in 2007 by L’Oréal in Denmark in partnership with the Danish national commission for UNESCO and the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.

--> Read more here.

Upcoming Guests

Name Arrival Departure
John Silverman 19 Jun 28 Jun
Julian Munoz 21 Jun 23 Jun
Steven Finkelstein 01 Aug 07 Aug
(Staff - Pascal Oesch) 31 Jul 01 Sep
(SURF - students) 19 Jun 02 Sep


Upcoming Events

Event Date

Cake Talks (ongoing)


See the schedule her

UCPH Festival 2023 09 Jun (link is here)
DAWN Summit 2023 26-28 June
Lab-Retreat: Sweden 28-29 Aug (link is here)
Save the date: DAWN X-mas Party 15 Dec

See the offical DAWN Calendar here

Head of Department at NBI

Jan Thomsen has handed in his resignation as Head of Department of NBI!

Jan will stay as Head of Department until a replacement is found. The estimated timeline for hiring a new Head of Department is November - December 2023.

The plan is for Jan to continue as Professor from late 2023 and take up teaching and other scientific duties.

Meet Vadim Rusakov - new member of the 1st Author Pub-Club!

I am a PhD student interested in learning about galaxies and how they work

Ten years ago, when looking through the sky survey archives, my supervisor, Charles Steinhardt, and his colleagues found an object with inconveniently distinct features. It was a powerful supermassive black hole in one of galaxies 6.5 billion light years away, at the epoch when these objects were shutting off. The gas around such black holes is in a shape of a fiercely swirling donut composed of small blobs, which reveals through very distinct spectroscopic emission at thousands of kilometres per second. Although extremely fast, it is usually locked in its orbit or flows in and out in a predictable way.  What the team of researchers found is that the gas in this curious case was escaping the black hole in a way that was almost too fast on the inside of the gas ring and too slow on the outside.

With the new data the team obtained, we got to look into this issue and draw up new ideas. To our surprise, almost all of the donut was flowing away at exactly the same large velocity except the outer edge. Imagine ten rows of trees in an alley getting blown by a strong wind. It would be fairly unexpected if nine of them were ripped out, while the tenth one just proudly bowed. This last row was off around the black hole too. Such outflow profile turns out to be a very specific signature of an explosion. Such explosions can happen only when stars die or get ripped apart by a supermassive black hole. For this idea to work, by conservation of energy the exploding star had to be 10,000 times more massive than the Sun to produce the observed effect. Stars nearly as massive have only been possible in theory, but never observed. Further observations and modelling of these gas clouds are required to either quickly rule out this crazy idea or find more clues to keep it alive. Regardless of the outcome, the ability to explain this evidence will likely expand our understanding of such systems in a way that we have not anticipated.

The problem in this publication is one of those that are clearly evident and sharply inconsistent with one's intuition. It is easy to get excited about it, as it likely leads to unexpected answers of relevant physical or otherwise purely serendipitous nature. This study suggests a new, “crazy" hypothesis, which is hard to prove but gladly has a few ways to reject it with more data or by invoking a modelling approach.


A fun fact: if a science career doesn’t ever work out, I shall become a filmmaker.






♦  SCIENCE: Marie Sk⫮odowaska-Curie Master Class (online) 06-09 Jun UCPH link
♦  ADAM 2023 in Fredericia (Annual Danish Astronomy Meeting) 07-08 Jun Link is here
♦  ERC Starting Grant - Introduction Online 11 May UCPH link
♦  Workshop: Priming of Horizon Europe 2024 collab. work programs 16 May UCPH link
♦  “First Light” Conference in Boston 12-16 Jun Link is here
♦  The SCMA Conference (Penn State University) 12-16 Jun Link is here
♦  Euclid Meeting 2023 19-23 Jun Link is here
♦  DAWN Summit 2023 26-28 Jun TBD
♦  Scientific Communication in Astronomy School 2nd Edition - Italy 02-06 Oct Link is here
♦  "Young Astronomers on Galactic Nuclei" (YAGN23) in Italy 18-20 Oct Link is here


♦ EU Horizon Europe - ERC Advanced Grant 23 May ERC link UCPH link
♦ VILLUM Foundation/Young Investigator (preliminary) 08 Jun DTU link UCPH link
♦ Inge Lehmann’s Programme (DFF) 21 Jun DTU link UCPH link
♦ The Carlsberg Foundation: Semper Ardens: Accerlerate (preliminary) 01 Oct DTU link UCPH link
♦ The Carlsberg Foundation's annual call: Research Infrastructure 01 Oct DTU link UCPH link
♦ EU Horizon Europe - ERC Starting Grant (preliminary) 25 Oct DTU link UCPH link
♦ EU Horizon Europe - ERC Synergy Grant (preliminary) 08 Nov DTU link UCPH link
♦ EU Horizon Europe - ERC Consolidator Grant (preliminary) 12 Dec DTU link UCPH link


Danish Traditions & Culture

Store Bededag (Great Prayers Day)


Good bye to St. Bededag (Great Prayers Day) as a paid holiday - The Danish Government will no longer recognize this as a paid holiday from 2024.

What is St. Bededag (Great Prayers Day)?  In 1686 King Christian V consolidated a few of the lesser Catholic prayer days that had survived the Reformation. This resulted in a holiday, known as “Store Bededag”. The work ban was extended to all workers, including bakers. All hardworking praying citizens had to eat sometime, so wheat buns that could be heated the next day were produced.



These warm buns, called varme hveder, are still eaten to this day, usually both the night before and on the holiday.

Pssst! History also tells that students of University of Copenhagen walked on the ramps of Kastellet and Langelinie on Store Bededag to honor their classmates who had fought in the Assault on Copenhagen in 1659.