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OUTSTANDING RESEARCH AND EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNICATION OF SCIENCE:

Recognition to chemistry research and economics dissemination

The Research Council of Norway’s Awards for Outstanding Research and Excellence in Communication of Science have been awarded to Professor Trygve Helgaker and Professor Kalle Moene, respectively.

The Award for Excellence in Communication of Science was presented to Professor Kalle Moene at the opening of National Science Week in Oslo, while Professor Trygve Helgaker received the Award for Outstanding Research at the Research Council's annual Evening of Excellence at Oslo Concert Hall on 21 September. The Research Council of Norway’s Innovation Award was presented to Laerdal Medical AS, a major Norwegian producer of medical equipment, at the same event (see separate item).

An alternative to expensive, dangerous chemistry research

Professor Trygve Helgaker is a chemist without a laboratory. He uses quantum mechanics to simulate chemical reactions and properties. Thanks to Professor Helgaker’s research, chemical experiments considered too expensive, dangerous or impossible to perform can now be conducted in a safe and cost-effective manner.

Trygve Helgaker received the Award for Outstanding Research from Minister Tora Aasland at the Research Council_4s annual Evening of Excellence at Oslo Concert Hall on 21 September. Photo: Sverre Chr. Jarild Trygve Helgaker received the Award for Outstanding Research from Minister Tora Aasland at the Research Council_4s annual Evening of Excellence at Oslo Concert Hall on 21 September. (Photo: Sverre Chr. Jarild)

The greatest challenge in developing mathematical simulations of chemical phenomena is that achieving a small increase in accuracy can make the computer’s calculation time tens of thousands of times longer, which can be expensive and impractical. Professor Helgaker has been working to develop methods to simplify these complex calculations, which can describe properties of geological minerals, biological proteins or chemical reactions in remote celestial bodies, for example.

Trygve Helgaker is a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oslo. He is also leader of the Oslo node of the Centre for Theoretical and Computational Chemistry (CTCC), a Centre of Excellence (SFF) shared with the University of Tromsø.

Over the course of a number of years Professor Helgaker has developed a computer program for quantum-chemical calculations in cooperation with other Scandinavian researchers. The program is used by more than two thousand research groups across the world.

In recognition of these efforts he has now been awarded the Award for Outstanding Research, also known as the Møbius Prize.

Complex issues explained

Professor Kalle Moene has been awarded the Award for Excellence in Communication of Science for his ability to explain complex economic issues in a comprehensible way.

The Award for Excellence in Communication of Science was presented to Professor Kalle Moene at the opening of National Science Week 2011 in Oslo on 23 September. Photo: Jon Solberg, Norges forskningsråd The Award for Excellence in Communication of Science was presented to Professor Kalle Moene at the opening of National Science Week 2011 in Oslo on 23 September. (Photo: Jon Solberg, Norges forskningsråd)

Professor Moene’s research focuses, among other things, on the relationship between income and wealth distribution and the organisation of the labour market and financial institutions.

Kalle Moene is Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics at the University of Oslo. He is also Director of the Centre for the Study of Equality, Social Organization and Performance (ESOP), a Centre of Excellence (SFF) at the same university.

The Research Council’s Award for Excellence in Communication of Science rewards research dissemination that is of high quality both in its form and content and that reaches a broad audience.

Professor Moene is often in demand as a commentator and columnist and has written a wide range of editorial and opinion pieces as well as popular science articles. The jury for the award emphasised his topical and focused approach to research dissemination, and the fact that he has maintained a high academic standard combined with an ability to communicate the results of his research to a wide range of experts and non-experts alike.

Written by:
Ingebjørg Aadland/Thomas Evensen/Else Lie. Translation: Anna Godson/Carol B. Eckmann
Published:
30.09.2011
Last updated:
30.09.2011