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Ice core researcher and semiotician awarded the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prizes 2022

Ice core researcher and physicist Dorthe Dahl-Jensen and semiotician and historian of ideas Frederik Stjernfelt have been awarded the Carlsberg Foundation’s Research Prizes for 2022. The prizes recognise years of exceptional research that has, among many other things, advanced our understanding of the ancient climate and the history of freedom of speech.

Each year, the Carlsberg Foundation honours two of Denmark’s leading scholars with a research prize. In 2022, they have been awarded to two international powerhouses in the natural sciences and the humanities: ice core researcher and physicist Dorthe Dahl-Jensen and semiotician and historian of ideas Frederik Stjernfelt.

The prizes were presented by H.R.H. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Danish Minister for Education and Research Jesper Petersen, President of the Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters Marie Louise Nosch and Carlsberg Foundation Chair Majken Schultz at the New Carlsberg Glyptotek. Of the total prize money of DKK 1 million for each winner, DKK 750,000 is earmarked for research activities and DKK 250,000 is a personal gift.

Majken Schultz, Chair of the Carlsberg Foundation, was delighted to see Dorthe Dahl-Jensen and Frederik Stjernfelt rewarded with the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prizes 2022:

“Dorthe and Frederik have been outstanding representatives of their profession for many years. Both have put a huge amount into their respective research fields, and they’ve delivered results that have given us new insights. Thanks to Dorthe, we know much more about polar ice melt and how the climate has evolved over the years, and Frederik has opened our eyes to the diverse meanings of signs and the importance of freedom of speech.”

Trail-blazing scholars and excellent communicators

Dahl-Jensen and Stjernfelt were awarded the prizes on the recommendation of a Prize Committee of Danish and international researchers appointed jointly by the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters and the Carlsberg Foundation.

Marie Louise Nosch, President of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters and Chair of the Prize Committee, had the following to say:

“This year, the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prizes go to two trail-blazing scholars who have not only delivered exceptional results in their very different research fields, but have also made extraordinary efforts to communicate their research so that their results are known more widely. They are two eminent examples of how far good science – and good communication of it – can reach. This is a real pleasure to see, and we’re proud to have both winners as members of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.”

The Prize Committee’s reasons for nominating Dorthe Dahl-Jensen for the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize

Dorthe Dahl-Jensen receives the prize for her outstanding research into the Arctic ice, the importance of fresh water for marine life, and changes in the climate over the Earth’s history. She has spearheaded the drilling, sampling and interpretation of data from ice cores, and her research has fundamentally transformed our understanding of the climate system. For example, her dating of Greenlandic ice cores has shown how the atmosphere has been affected by both human activity and natural events over the past 2,000 years, including deforestation, industrialisation and volcanic eruptions.

Read the Prize Committee’s full reasoning for awarding the prize to Dorthe Dahl-Jensen

View text and video profiles of Dorthe Dahl-Jensen

The Prize Committee’s reasons for nominating Frederik Stjernfelt for the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize

Frederik Stjernfelt receives the prize for his many years of research in fields as diverse as semiotics, philosophy of science, literary theory, biosemiotics, the history of ideas and political philosophy. He has contributed important new insights into everything from the study of signs to the basis for freedom of speech in modern democracies and cultural movements on both sides of the political spectrum. Besides his commitment to basic research, he has also taken on an admirable role as a keen communicator, critic and debater to the pleasure and benefit of those outside academia.

Read the Prize Committee’s full reasoning for awarding the prize to Frederik Stjernfelt

View text and video profiles of Frederik Stjernfelt

About the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prizes

The objective of the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prizes is to acknowledge two active researchers in Denmark or abroad who have made crucial contributions to basic research at a high international level. The prizes are intended to encourage further research and may be used for stays abroad, fieldwork, purchases of equipment or wages for scientific work.

The Carlsberg Foundation Research Prizes were instituted in 2011 to mark the bicentenary of the birth of the Foundation’s founder, J.C. Jacobsen. This is the 11th year that leading researchers in the natural sciences and the humanities/social sciences have received this accolade (no prizes were awarded in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic).

Each prize of DKK 1 million comprises a personal gift of DKK 250,000 and DKK 750,000 to support a research project.

The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters undertakes the process of calling candidates and the Prize Committee’s recommendation of prize recipients.

Previous winners of the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prizes


The Prize Committee

Chair:

  • Marie Louise Nosch, President of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Professor at the SAXO Institute at the University of Copenhagen

International members in the humanities and social sciences:

  • Joanna Story, Professor of Early Mediaeval History at the University of Leicester in the UK
  • Heinrich Detering, Professor of Modern German Literature and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Göttingen in Germany

International members in the natural sciences:

  • Susanne Renner, Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis in the USA

Members who have previously won the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prizes:

  • Andreas Roepstorff (2015), Professor, Director of the Interacting Minds Centre at Aarhus University
  • Mette Birkedal Bruun (2017), Professor of Church History at the University of Copenhagen
  • Karl Anker Jørgensen (2017), Professor of Chemistry at Aarhus University
  • Poul Nissen (2018), Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University

Further information on this year’s prize ceremony and winners is available on request from Press and Communications Advisor Jane Benarroch: tel. +45 3164 0010, jb@carlsbergfoundation.dk.




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