Katherine Freese is in the process of transferring most of her research from the University of Michigan to the Department of Physics and the research institute Nordita in Stockholm. She is one of three professors for whom Stockholm University has been granted funding in 2014 as part of the Swedish Research Council’s programme for recruiting internationally leading researchers to Sweden. The other two researchers, Anders Nilsson and John Wettlaufer, also come from international top universities – Stanford and Yale, respectively – and will move to the Department of Physics/Nordita as well.

Katherine Freese is one of the world’s leading authorities on cosmology and particle astrophysics. For many years, she has had close contact with Stockholm University, where she received an honorary doctorate in 2012. She has also served on the International Advisory Board of the Oskar Klein Centre (OKC) since its inception.

According to her, OKC is one of the world’s foremost research environments in particle astrophysics.

“I have great respect for the research being conducted here and enjoy working with the people here.” 

When she heard about the opportunity to apply for the Swedish Research Council’s grant for international recruitment of leading researchers, she was interested. The Vice-Chancellor applied and was granted funding for recruitment. At the same time, Katherine Freese was asked to become director of Nordita, which she considers to be one of the world’s leading institutes for theoretical physics.

“That’s when I decided that my future was in Stockholm.”

Katherine Freese’s goal is to recruit prominent researchers and students to her research projects.

“I have just got started and look forward to ten productive years!”

Broad advertising

Head of Department Sven Mannervik believes that the foundation of the attractive research environment that has been created at the Department of Physics is the long-held desire of Stockholm University and KTH to create a strong, joint physics centre in Albanova.

The Department of Physics works cooperatively with strategic issues, particularly on the research strategy committee.

“Here we try to identify important areas for recruitment. In our discussions, we try to elevate ourselves above individual special interests. The research units do not own their research resources, which means that the filling of vacant positions never becomes an argument. We are jointly committed to the idea that the Department should have broad and internationally competitive basic research. Vacancies are advertised broadly and internationally,” says Sven Mannervik.

The Department has an international environment and it is generally easy to blend in.

“For permanently employed foreign teachers/researchers, it is also important to learn Swedish and understand the Swedish system. I try to speak Swedish to them as soon as possible. Without knowledge of Swedish, new recruits are at risk of becoming restricted in their work.”