Commemoration Day 2013 - Every guest was welcomed by DTU's president Anders Bjarklev, DTU's provost Henrik Wegener and chairman of the students' organization, PF, Kim Louise Ettrup. (Photo:Thorkild Amdi Christensen)

Commemoration Day 2013

fredag 17 maj 13
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On 3 May DTU held its annual Commemoration Day. In accordance with tradition—and in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II and more than 4,000 guest—a range of prizes and honorary awards were bestowed upon Danish and international researchers and staff.

The honorary doctorate (doctor technices, honoris causa) is the university’s highest academic honour. This year the Academic Council decided that the title should be awarded to:

Professor Paul Seymour, for his contribution to mathematics at the highest level, including his work with graph theory, which lays the foundations for everything related to networks—traffic networks and social networks, for example. Moreover, Professor Paul Seymour has developed the graph minor theorem that gave its name to the Robertson-Seymour theory. Professor Seymour’s long partnership with DTU underlines the university’s focus on engineer programmes with a solid mathematical-scientific basis.

Professor Wieslaw Królikowski, Australian National University, for his role as one of the godfathers of understanding the instability of light beams and their interaction in optical materials. He was the first to observe a number of fundamental non-linear effects—as they are known—such as light beam fusion, fission, spiral and distortion. He has made a significant contribution to the possibility of achieving optical signal processing using light only in the operating systems of future computers.

Professor Królikowski has been working with DTU researchers for 18 years and has helped no fewer than six PhD students and three Master’s students from DTU obtain top-class degrees in Australia. Professor Królikowski is thus an important and dedicated international partner for DTU.

The G.A. Hagemann Gold Medal for engineering science research 

Professor Jens Kehlet Nørskov, who works at Stanford University in the United States, is awarded the G.A. Hagemann Gold Medal for his numerous contributions to engineering science, from the most fundamental natural science insight to designs and inventions with practical applications. He has provided new insight into the quantum description of the properties of matter at atomic and electronic level for the definition of new theoretical methods and principles for designing catalysts with applications in the fields of chemical production, energy and the environment. The ‘practical’ aspect of his work has also resulted in a number of patents and business start-ups. 

The Julius Thomsen Gold Medal for engineering science research 

Professor Søren Brunak, DTU Systems Biology, is awarded the gold medal for drawing on scientific disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, biotechnology and medicine in his research. Through the establishment of the ‘Center for Biological Sequence Analysis’, he has created a world-class scientific powerhouse that has helped to set the global standard for bioinformatics research. Professor Søren Brunak and his centre led the way in showing the world what bioinformatics has to offer the biological and medical sciences. His approach to thinking and implementing modern bioscience has contributed greatly to making bioscience an academic beacon at DTU, thus emphazising that the engineering sciences have a key role to play in the context of all natural sciences and technology today.

Two honorary doctors in 2013