Each year since 2004, science editor Jens Ramskov and science journalist Rolf Haugaard from the Danish weekly newspaper Ingeniøren have chosen the five best Danish research results within the technical and natural sciences. The choice is also known as ‘Videnskabens Top-5.’ The selected results are made either by researchers in Denmark or by researchers from Denmark who have contributed significantly to collaborative international research. This year, researchers with a connection to the DNRF are among those nominated and are a part of the research behind the winner.
Ingeniøren recently announced this year’s winner of Danish research results in ‘Videnskabens Top-5.’ Several researchers with a connection to the DNRF are represented among the nominees, and one previous head of center is a part of the team behind the research prize’s winning result.
This year, one of ‘Videnskabens Top-5’ nominations went to several research groups as part of a collective nomination, since they all do quantum research. Among the highlighted research groups, three were from Centers of Excellence, including the Center for Quantum Devices (QDev) at the University of Copenhagen, the Center for Macroscopic Quantum States (bigQ) at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), and the Center for Hybrid Quantum Networks (Hy-Q) at the University of Copenhagen and DTU. The collective nomination was made as a celebration of Danish quantum research as a field that, from an international perspective, has been, and continues to be, at the forefront.
Another nomination went to research results described in two scientific articles written by a team of researchers from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate (CMEC), which, until January 1 of this year, was funded by the DNRF for ten years at the University of Copenhagen. The two articles were published in the journal Science in September of last year, in the wake of the 250th anniversary of explorer Alexander von Humboldt, who began mapping biodiversity in mountain areas of South America at the beginning of the 19th century. The two scientific articles from CMEC were a celebration of Humboldt’s research and an attempt to shed light on some of the issues Humboldt addressed in his research. In the article, head of center Carsten Rahbek and the rest of the research team explain what they call ‘Humboldt’s riddle,’ referring to the causes that lie behind the global patterns of biodiversity in mountain areas. The results show that biodiversity is not greatest in areas where researchers previously believed it to be so but in tropical mountain areas.
The winner of ‘Videnskabens Top-5’ 2019 went to the electrification of chemical energy based on a research result that was published in Science in May of last year. The result describes a new electric reformation of steam called ‘steam methane reforming’ (SMR) that produces hydrogen. The new climate-friendly method will replace traditional and energy-heavy SMR installations with smaller and more efficient electrical installations called eSMR. Behind the result is a research group from the Technical University of Denmark, the Technological Institute, and the companies Sintex and Haldor Topsøe, under the leadership of principal scientist Peter Mølgaard Mortensen and Professor Ib Chorkendorff at the Technical University of Denmark, who was also the head of center at the former DNRF Center for Individual Nanoparticle Functionality (CINF), which was funded from 2005-2015.