After a five-year John Bahcall postdoctoral fellowship at WIPAC, astroparticle physicist Markus Ahlers returned to Europe in February 2017. Currently an assistant professor in the Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology research group at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Markus is now enjoying one of those dreams come true: the birth of his own research team. A Villum Young Investigator grant for 7.350.000 DDK ($1.2 million), which he was formally awarded on January 23, has secured the foundation of a new research group.
“It’s a sweet moment in my career. I’m really looking forward to the new work this grant will support,” says Markus by mail. “It’s no overstatement to say that my former fellowship at WIPAC was a crucial step along the way!” adds Markus.
The Velux Foundations have awarded Villum grants to 129 investigators since 2012 with the goal of helping young scientists create their own independent research profiles. For Markus, these funds mean a boost to multimessenger astronomy as he develops new analyses to find the sources of the cosmic neutrinos detected by IceCube. He looks specifically for sources that also emit cosmic rays and gamma rays.
The use of several cosmic messengers to study mighty and distant cosmic environments is what scientists call multimessenger astrophysics, a new approach to astronomy that is a priority not only for IceCube but also for future NSF investments and for many international observatories around the world.
Ahlers’ Villum grant supports the employment of two postdocs and one Ph.D. student, expanding the already existing Astroparticle Physics Group at the Niels Bohr Institute.
In his farewell message to the WIPAC team, he expressed how privileged he had been “to work with this group of bright students and scientists.” The feelings here at WIPAC, on the fifth floor of a building in downtown Madison, headquarters of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, are that the privilege was ours.
Congratulations from the WIPAC team!