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The Carlsberg Foundation Research Prizes 2017 awarded to leading professors of church history and organic chemistry

Today, Professor of church history at University of Copenhagen, Mette Birkedal Bruun, and Professor of chemistry at Aarhus University, Karl Anker Jørgensen, receive the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prizes 2017. The prizes have just been handed over by HRH Crown Princess Mary, minister for Higher Education and Science, Søren Pind, and the chairman of the Carlsberg Foundation, Flemming Besenbacher, as part of the annual banquet at the New Carlsberg Glyptotek.

Mette Birkedal Bruun and Karl Anker Jørgensen receive the prizes for their groundbreaking work on church history and organic chemistry. With each prize follows DKK 1 million; DKK 750.000 are earmarked for research activities, while DKK 250.000 is a personal gift.

“It is a great pleasure to hand over The Carlsberg Foundation Research Prizes 2017 to Mette Birkedal Bruun and Karl Anker Jørgensen. Mette Birkedal Bruun and Karl Anker Jørgensen enjoy great international respect and recognition for their excellent research within the fields of church history and organic chemistry. Over the years, not only have they both delivered important scientific results which have expanded our understanding of medieval culture and monasticism, as well as chemical reaction mechanisms but they have also, entirely in the spirit of the Carlsberg Foundation a special “Semper Ardens” approach (passionate, always burning), to their research”, says Flemming Besenbacher.

Professor Mette Birkedal Bruun

Mette Birkedal Bruun receives the prize for her research into medieval monasticism and the early modern period, which has led to new insight significant to church history and cultural history. Her cross-disciplinary methodological use of the term “topos” has led to a pivotal new interpretation of Bernard of Clairvaux and the cistercians’ use of textual strategies - not least known from spatial and architectural language – to further their withdrawal from the world. Moreover, it has led to vital insight into the interaction between withdrawal from the world and involvement in the world in the early modern period, increasing our understanding of the historical dimension of isolation.

Professor Karl Anker Jørgensen

Karl Anker Jørgensen receives the prize for his groundbreaking research in homogeneous catalysis with a focus on metal-catalysed oxidation reactions and asymmetrical catalysis. The latter catalysts are able to control the three-dimensional formation and structure of molecules that exist as mirror images of one another so that only one of the mirror-image molecules is created. In living organisms, only one mirror-image form of a given molecule exists, so research into the chemistry of these molecules has much wider implications and teaches us about the foundation of all things living – from humans to animals and plants.

The Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize

The Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize was instituted in 2011 to mark the bicentenary of the birth of founder J. C. Jacobsen. The objective of the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize is to support two active researchers, in Denmark or abroad, who have made vital contributions to basic research and enjoy great scientific recognition. The prizes are meant to encourage further research and can be spent, as required, on research stays abroad, field work, equipment or salary for scientific assistance.

The prizes are awarded on the recommendation of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. Each prize amounts to DKK 1 million. From this, DKK 250.000 is a personal gift and DKK 750.000 is for research.

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