DTU A&A Seminar Series

Every month we have a seminar at DTU - Space as part of the Astronomy & Atmospheric Physics (A&A) group. The seminar is a 45-minute talk plus a 15-minute Q&A session and will be accompanied by cake for those attending in-person.

The audience spans a range of astronomers, physicists, and space engineers so the talks are will cover a fairly thorough introduction to the topic from one of the leading experts in the field. We plan to have the seminar series in person COVID permitting, otherwise, we will host the seminars online.

For details of upcoming and previous seminars see below.

Questions related to the Seminar Series may be sent to: AA_seminars[at]space.dtu.dk


Stephen Wilkins : Importance of Forward Modelling @ DTU
Oct 26 @ 15:00 – 16:00
Julie Wardlow : Understanding the environments of extreme dusty star-forming galaxies in the distant Universe @ DTU
Nov 16 @ 15:00 – 16:00


Liv Hornekær : Interstellar Catalysis – a Route to Molecular Complexity in Space @ DTU
Dec 7 @ 15:00 – 16:00

Abstract: Interstellar space harbours a surprising chemical complexity in spite of the extremely low temperatures and pressures that characterize it. More than 225 different molecules have been detected including both simple molecules such as H2 and water, as well as larger molecules such as C60 and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Even biologically relevant molecules such as glycolaldehyde – a sugar precursor – have been detected. The largest molecular complexity is observed in dense interstellar dust and molecular clouds – the regions where new stars and planetary systems form. Interstellar molecules play a key role in the star and planet formation process and are at later stages delivered to planetary surfaces where they may have contributed to the origin of life. The surprising chemical complexity found in space is thought to be catalyzed by interstellar nanoscale dust grains and large carbonaceous molecules such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Surface science techniques like scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), temperature programmed desorption (TPD) and density functional theory (DFT) allow us to study and model such reactions on surfaces under conditions that mimic those found in interstellar space. The ultimate aim is to determine the degree of chemical complexity attainable via catalytic reactions at 10 K and under ultrahigh vacuum conditions. Specifically, we aim to discover whether the molecular building blocks of life – amino acids, dna bases, sugars and fatty acids – can form even before the formation of stars and planets, at the extremely low temperatures and pressures found in interstellar space.


Date Speaker Title
February Chris Harrison A multi-faceted perspective of how supermassive black holes influence galaxy evolution
March Matt Nicholl Tidal disruptions of stars by supermassive black holes
May N. F. Schreiber Star-Forming Galaxies at Cosmic Noon
June Shude Mao Exosolar Planets with Gravitational Microlensing