9 October 2020

Irene Tamborra receives KIF Prize 2020


The Danish Network for Women in Physics (KIF) has awarded the 2020 honorary prize to Associate Professor Irene Tamborra, leader of the AstroNu group at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.

Irene Tamborra
This year's KIF Award is given to Irene Tamborra, a role model and inspiration for other women in physics.

The KIF prize is awarded annually to raise awareness about the importance of women in physics and engineering. This year’s award is given to a woman who acts as a role model and inspiration within the field of physics. Irene Tamborra receives the award because of her “exceptionally strong scientific profile”, according to KIF. KIF’s award committee appreciate that Irene Tamborra has built a highly visible research group around her as leader of the AstroNu group and that she has shown persistence when facing gender-related obstacles.

Irene Tamborra feels extremely honored to receive the award and hopes that it signals to other women that they can also pursue a career in Science. “I hope young people can see it as an example,” she says, being very aware of the importance of role models. “I consciously try to help people who are not well represented in our field, for example by proactively helping them become aware of biases or by highlighting scientific work of female colleagues in my courses.”

“By being different, you bring something unique”

Irene Tamborra’s research group, AstroNu, is largely composed of women and people from marginalized groups. In their research, AstroNu focuses on unveiling the nature of neutrinos, elementary particles that interact so weakly that they can travel across the universe undisturbed. Neutrinos are, at the same time, so abundant that they play a crucial role in our universe. “Just as it is the case with neutrinos, women might not always get noticed for their work, but without us, science would not be where it is now”, Irene Tamborra smiles.

Being a young woman in Science made Irene Tamborra oftentimes feel like an outsider. “This feeling of being an outsider has, however, also driven me to branch out to other research fields, for example by taking the step from particle physics to astrophysics”, Irene Tamborra explains. She likes to pass this experience on to younger generations. “I focus on training my students in ways so that they can differentiate themselves”, she adds. “By being different, you bring something unique.”


The KIF award 2020 was announced at the KIF annual meeting at NEXT Københavns Mediegymnasium, Frederiksberg on the 7th of October, 2020. The award committee consists of Deputy Director for Education Kim Splittorff, KU (NBI), Associate Professor Tina Hecksher, RUC, Head of IP management Karin Nordström Dyvelkon, GEA Group.