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Aarhus University wins all three H.C. Ørsted awards

H.C. Ørsted Selskabet has granted this year's research award of DKK 50,000 to Professor Dorthe Ravnsbæk from the Department of Chemistry, while the two research talent awards of DKK 10,000 each went to Johannes Lund Jensen and Cecilie Hermansen; both postdocs at the Department of Agroecology.

Dorthe B. Ravnsbæk obtained her PhD in nanotechnology at Aarhus University in 2011. Since then, she has conducted research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston and the University of Southern Denmark, until she achieved a professorship in materials chemistry at Aarhus University in 2021. Photo: Jacob Fredegaard Hansen
Cecilie Hermansen receives a research talent award of DKK 10,000. Photo: Pia Majbritt Larsen
Johannes Lund Jensen receives a research talent award of DKK 10,000. Photo: Privatfoto

Dorthe Ravnsbæk is the first researcher at Aarhus University to receive H.C. Ørsted Selskabet's research award of DKK 50,000.

About H.C. Ørsted Selskabet and the award

The purpose of H.C. Ørsted Selskabet is to encourage young people to take an interest in science in the sprit of H.C. Ørsted. The famous physicist did not distinguish between the natural sciences, philosophy and humanities, and he was a skilled communicator of science.
The purpose of the award is to celebrate H.C. Ørsted's influence on culture, artists, thinkers and scientists all over the world. The organisation selects award winners whose work can be linked to H.C. Ørsted's name and work, not least in connection with communicating science.

Read more about H.C. Ørsted Selskabet her (Danish only).

She receives the award for her work on developing new sustainable materials for rechargeable batteries. The aim of her research is to find efficient, inexpensive and environmentally friendly alternatives to lithium, which is used in Li-ion batteries.

The award was instituted by H.C. Ørsted Selskabet and Langeland Municipality with support from the energy company Ørsted, and since 2013, it has been awarded every year in H.C.  Ørsted's birthplace, Rudkøbing, around the time of his birthday (14 August). This year, the ceremony will be held on 12 August.

Geopolitics and the environment

Dorthe Ravnsbæk's research involves geopolitics and environmental considerations. Lithium is a limited resource mined in Australia and several countries in South America and Africa by a number of companies; the two largest being Chinese. There is fierce global competition to acquire sufficient quantities for batteries in electric cars, for example. This competition is driving prices up and this may slow down the green transition.

"It also means that more and more lithium is being mined, which is very hard on the environment. Sodium is one of the materials I'm trying to use instead of lithium," says Dorthe Ravnsbæk.

She is very honoured to receive the award, which besides the money includes a silver and enamel butterfly statuette by the goldsmith Sabine Maus.

"H.C.  Ørsted is an important role model for all Danish chemists and physicists, so receiving an award bearing his name and is a great honour," she adds.

Talent awards for two colleagues in the same office

On 14 August, H.C. Ørsted Selskabet will also present two researcher talent awards of DKK 10,000 each. The awards go to promising young researchers as an incentive to continue their careers, and this year the recipients are also from Aarhus University: Johannes Lund Jensen and Cecilie Hermansen, who coincidentally share an office at the Department of Agroecology.

Postdoc Johannes Lund Jensen is researching carbon storage in the soil and how to optimise the carbon models used in the Danish greenhouse gas emissions inventories.

Postdoc Cecilie Hermansen is researching the interactions between the soil, the environment and the climate.

Read more about the two postdocs here.

And the shower of awards continues:

H.C. Ørsted Selskabet has also awarded two travel grants of DKK 50,000 each, one of which has gone to Signe Reitz Krarup, who is studying English at Aarhus University. She will use the grant to work with eco-criticism at the University of Cambridge. Among other things, her focus is on communicating science in children's literature.


Professor Dorthe Ravnsbæk
Department of Chemistry
Aarhus University
Email: dorthe@chem.au.dk
Mobile: +45 9352 2528

Postdoc Cecilie Hermansen
Department of Agroecology
Aarhus University
Email: cecilie.hermansen@agro.au.dk
Mobile: +45 2085 2301

Postdoc Johannes Lund Jensen
Department of Agroecology
Aarhus University
Email: jlj@agro.au.dk
Mobile: +45 2219 3421

Troels Krøyer
Chair of H.C. Ørsted Selskabet
Email: troels@kroyer.net
Mobile: +45 5123 2052