New Head of Department at the Niels Bohr Institute – University of Copenhagen

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22 August 2017

New Head of Department at the Niels Bohr Institute

New Head of Department

Jan W. Thomsen’s appointment as Head of Department at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute commences on September 1. He will focus on maintaining and expanding the research and instruction for which the Niels Bohr Institute is recognized worldwide.

Jan Westenkær Thomsen succeeds Niels Obers, who has served as acting Head of Department since 1 January 2017. Robert Feidenhans'l, the former Head of Department, left the post to become Managing Director of the XFEL European research facility in Hamburg, Germany.

“The post as Department Head is an honourable and very exciting challenge. In the very near future, the entire department will move into state-of-the-art research facilities in the new Niels Bohr Building. While the move presents us with a colossal logistics undertaking, it will provide us with the best possible framework to perform research across research groups and collaborate with industry,” according to Jan W. Thomsen.

Speaking of the appointment, Faculty of Science Dean John Renner Hansen says: "Through his work as a head of research at the Niels Bohr Institute, Jan W. Thomsen has demonstrated that he espouses the professional and human gravity required to lead the Department to yet greater heights and further cohesion across research groups. Thus, I am delighted that he is taking up the post as Head of Department.”

Tight bonds with the research environment

Jan W. Thomsen’s initial physics training took place at the Niels Bohr Institute. He holds a doctoral degree from the Université Paris-Sud, where he specialized in nuclear physics and laser technology - which over time led to his research in quantum metrology and atomic clocks. In 1995, following a post doc-position at NBI, he signed up with University of Utrecht, the Netherlands. He was brought home to NBI three years later thanks to a Carlsberg-grant - and ever since, save a one-year stint (2007-08) with JILA at University of Colorado, USA, Jan W. Thomsen has been based at NBI.

Jan W. Thomsen will focus on maintaining close ties with the research community as both a researcher and instructor, as he puts a premium on being a manager that stays deeply in touch with developments on the research and education fronts. He received the Institute's teaching award, the 'Jens Martin Prize ' in 2015, and was named the Faculty of Science’s Teacher of the Year in 2016.

Jan W. Thomsen is 51-years-old.


Jan W. Thomsen,
Associate Professor and Head of the Quantum Optics group, Ultracold Atoms
Mobile: +45 51680410