Published: Mon 21 Jan 2013.

Björn Jonson receives international award

Björn Jonson (F65), professor emeritus in subatomic physics at Chalmers, is the first Swedish research scientist to have been awarded the Helmholtz International Fellow Award, amounting to 20 000 euro. He will use these funds for guest research work at the research centre at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Germany. ‘Of course, I’m very pleased and honoured over the award. Upholding European cooperation is important to Chalmers,’ said Björn Jonson.

Professor Jonson started a scientific program at GSI in 1992 and since then has maintained close cooperation with the centre. The Helmholtz International Fellow Award is a reward for his efforts and those of eight other research scientists from Argentina, France, Great Britain and USA:

Janice L. Bishop, The SETI Institute and NASA AMES Research Center, USA, Harald von Boehmer, Harvard Medical School, USA, Alberto Etchegoyen, ITEDA, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jérôme Gaillardet, University of Paris Diderot, France, Naftali Kaminski, Pittsburgh University, USA, Craig D. Roberts, Argonne National Laboratory, USA, Jeremy A. Thomas, Oxford University, Great Britain, and Harry L. Tuller, MIT, Cambridge, USA.

‘The award recognises excellence in the work of prominent international researchers working within research areas that are relevant to us. It also benefits us by way of providing excellent partners who enrich our research with their experience and effectively foster directed projects,’ said professor Jürgen Mlynek, head of the Helmholtz Association, in a press release.

Jonson the first Swedish scientist to be awarded the prize
The Helmholtz International Fellow Award was presented for the first time last autumn. The quality of scientific work performed is one of the most important criteria of the award. Björn Jonson is the first Swedish research scientist to be awarded the prize.
Prize winners are given the opportunity to work as guest researchers for a period at the Helmholtz centre with which they have established collaboration, or in cases where a new collaboration would be useful and beneficial in the future.

As professor emeritus at Chalmers, Björn Jonson is still very active. He recently left his prestigious and demanding position as chairperson of the Nobel Committee in Physics, and is being replaced by his Chalmers colleague, Lars Brink, professor of physics.

One of four Academia Europae  members from Chalmers
In December, Björn Jonson was elected as a member of the European academy of science, Academia Europae. This is an exclusive body. Björn Jonson is one of 137 Swedish members, and one of only four members from Chalmers – the others being physics professor Bengt Nordén, Per Stenström, professor of computer architecture and Sven Olving, a previous Chalmers president.

For some time past Björn Jonson has been a member of such institutions as the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters and the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences in Gothenburg.
Moreover, Björn Jonson worked for many years at the Swiss CERN laboratory near Geneva and has provided many doctoral students with the opportunity to carry out research there.

The Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest science organisation with almost 34 000 employees working at 18 research centres. Research is focused on the sustainability of society and divided up into six strategic areas - energy, earth and environment, health, key technologies, structure of matter and aeronautics, space and transport.

Text: Michael Nystås

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Published: Mon 21 Jan 2013.