Aarhus University Seal

Obituary: a great researcher and personality has passed away after a long illness

After a long period of illness, Søren Rud Keiding, professor and director of Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS), has passed away. He leaves his wife, two grown-up children and a grandchild. Søren was an exceptional scientist with a warm personality, and he was highly recognised and well-liked by everyone who knew him at Aarhus University. He will be missed and our thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.

[Translate to English:] Søren Rud Keiding på sit kontor hos AIAS. Foto: Lars Kruse.
Søren Rud Keiding in his office at AIAS. Photo: Lars Kruse.

It was with great sadness that we received the news that the former director of AIAS, Professor Søren Keiding died on 4 March 2023 at the age of 63. Søren Rud Keiding has been battling cancer since last summer. He leaves his wife, two grown-up children and a grandchild.

Søren Rud Keiding gained his PhD in physics in 1990, and he achieved his dr. scient. in 1998. He came to AIAS in October 2019 from a position as the vice-dean for research at the then faculty Science and Technology at Aarhus University. Before this he was a professor of chemistry at Aarhus University from 2003-2015.  As a chemical physicist, he used lasers in his research to study the ultrafast dynamics of molecules, especially water. For decades, Søren held a number of honorary positions, most recently as a member of the Danish Council for Research and Innovation Policy (DFIR), following appointment by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

He is behind more than 130 scientific articles on lasers and molecules, he has been cited approx. 7,000 times, and he has given more than 100 lectures at national and international research conferences.

Vice-dean at Science and Technology
Besides his own field of research in chemical physics, Søren Rud Keiding had broad insight into many other areas within the natural and technical sciences, and he had a deep understanding of research policy and research funding. In 2016, he became the vice-dean for research and business collaboration at the Faculty of Science and Technology, where he also served as the editor of Aktuel Naturvidenskab.

Laid the foundations of the Master of Science in Engineering degree programmes
During the period 2003 – 2007, Søren Rud Keiding helped to take the decisive first steps to establish the MScEng programmes at Aarhus, including through authorisation to offer the MSc in Engineering degree at Aarhus and establishment of ten engineering professorships at Aarhus University in collaboration with the Engineering College of Aarhus. Today, the two institutions have merged and the engineering degree programmes are now an important part of the range of programmes offered at Aarhus University.

Søren Rud Keiding's life will be commemorated on Saturday 18 March, from 14:00 - 17:00 at Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS) at Aarhus University.

Our thoughts go to Søren's closest relatives. Let us pay tribute to his memory.