2014 Ewine F. van Dishoeck

From the left: Mats Viberg, Chalmers' First Vice President, Ewine F. van Dishoeck, Gothenburg Lise Meitner Award Laureate of 2014, Dinko Chakarov, Chair of the award committee

The laureate of 2014, Ewine van Dishoeck, is a professor in molecular astrophysics at Leiden Observatory. She is distinguished for her contributions to physics and chemistry of Universe and in particular for "illuminating the molecular pathways that lead from dilute gas and microscopic dust particles to stars and planets", as motivated by the Gothenburg Lise Meitner Award committee. 

Ewine van Dishoeck is the world's most widely-cited astrophysicist and among her many awards you find for example the Spinoza Prize of 2000, the highest Dutch award in science, awarded by the national research council in the Netherlands, NWO. Van Dishoeck is also a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Homepage of Ewine van Dishoeck

Building stars, planets and the ingredients for life between the stars

Subsequent to the award ceremony Ewine F. van Dishoeck held a public lecture.

Abstract of talk

One of the most exciting developments in astronomy is the discovery of planets around stars other than our Sun. Nearly 1000 exo-planets have now been detected. But how do these planets form, and why are they so different from our own solar system? Which ingredients are available to build them? How are their parent stars formed?

Thanks to powerful new telescopes, astronomers are starting to address these age-old questions scientifically. In this talk, an overview will be given of how stars and planets are born in the extremely cold and tenuous clouds between the stars in the Milky Way. These clouds also contain water and a surprisingly rich variety of organic material.

How and where was the water formed that is now in our oceans on Earth? Can these organic molecules end up on new planets and form the basis for pre-biotic material and eventually life? Thanks to the Herschel Space Observatory and the new Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) we are now starting to follow the trail from clouds to planets and zoom into the planet-forming zones of disks around young stars. Initial surprising ALMA results will be presented.


Published: Thu 11 Sep 2014. Modified: Sat 11 Oct 2014