29 June 2018

The official opening of DAWN

Opening of new Center:

The official opening of the Cosmic Dawn Center (DAWN), a new basic research center of excellence supported by the Danish National Research Foundation, was celebrated on June 22nd, 2018 at Vibenshus Runddel the soon to be home of the center’s scientists and engineers.

The opening of Dawn. Click to see more images
Click on the image to see more pictures from the opening of DAWN.

At the heart of the center is a unique partnership between the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, and DTU Space at the Technical University of Denmark.  The center brings together researchers from around the world to study and expand the current understanding of Cosmic Dawn.  The Cosmic Dawn occurred when our infant Universe transitioned from a dark, opaque soup to a transparent Universe sprinkled with bright clusters of stars. The Copenhagen based DAWN center serves as an incubator of new ideas and directions, where scientists and engineers are exploring the critical transition that ended the Cosmic Dark Ages and revealed the first galaxies, stars, and black holes.

Sune Toft
Sune Toft is director of the DAWN center .

At the opening ceremony, Sune Toft, the director of the DAWN center remarked, “even though Denmark is a small country with limited resources, Danish astronomers and engineers at DTU space and the Niels Bohr Institute have played key roles in the construction of both the James Webb and the Euclid Space telescopes. The visionary investment in the construction of these telescopes, and the continued support of our institutes and funding agencies have given us a unique opportunity to be a world hub in the exploration of the final frontier of our Universe.”

Other speakers at the opening event were the Director of the Danish National Research Foundation, Søren-Peter Olesen, the Director of DTU Space, Kristian Pedersen, the Head of Niels Bohr Institute, Jan Thomsen, and the Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Morten Pejrup. Several of the speakers spoke about the innovative vision of the DAWN center and expressed their enthusiasm at seeing the group of scientists and engineers who have come together to push the boundaries of theoretical and experimental knowledge in this field. 

The opening was the last day of the 2018 DAWN summit which brought together leaders in the field from three different continents and representing 14 different nationalities. Commenting on the international and interdisciplinary nature of the center, Associate Dean Morten Pejrup emphasized the importance of clear and effective communication both internally and externally.  He mentioned how the University of Copenhagen values science communication and helping increase the public’s understanding of science and engineering topics. 

The members of the DAWN center invite the public to engage with them both through their website https://dawn.nbi.ku.dk/ and social media using #cosmicDAWN. The public can join them on their curiosity driven journey to better understand how and when the first stars, galaxies and black holes formed, and how they connect to the more mature galaxies seen at later times in the history of our Universe.