Birgitta Nordström receives the KIF Lifetime Achievement Award
The board of KIF has decided to give this special Lifetime Achievement Award to Associate Professor Emerita Birgitta Nordström for her significant scientific contributions and for being a valuable role model.
The following is an interview with Birgitta Nordström by Maren Malling, chairwoman of KIF.
You have had a long and very productive research career. What projects are you working on right now?
I am working on very metal poor stars. Those were the stars that developed first after the Big Bang, and I’m trying to find out what they consist of, how they were created and their ages. One of the projects I do now is a collaboration with Terese Thidemann Hansen, who is a former student of Copenhagen University and now works in the United States.
I take great joy in continuing to work with former students and she is not the only one. We are observing some very old and metal poor stars and have discovered that one group of stars is different from most other metal poor stars. We want to find out why. Some stars are known to be binaries, which could mean that there has been mass transfer from one star to the other, but one group of metal poor stars is not like the others. They have more very heavy elements, so-called r-process elements, like europium, silver or gold.
We have even found one that contains uranium. So why are they different from other metal poor stars? We are trying to find out if they are also binaries, but for the moment, it doesn’t seem to be the case. It is a very exciting project since it might tell us something important about the early Universe. American observatories have given us a lot of observing time. This is the most interesting project I am working on right now, but Terese does most of the work.