Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics
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The Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics, or NORDITA (Danish: Nordisk Institut for Teoretisk (Atom)fysik), is an international organisation for research in theoretical physics. It was established in 1957 by Niels Bohr and the Swedish minister Torsten Gustafsson. NORDITA was originally located in Copenhagen (Denmark), but moved to Stockholm (Sweden) during autumn 2006. The institute is now located at the AlbaNova University Centre. The main research areas at NORDITA are astrophysics, biophysics, condensed matter and particle physics.
Since NORDITA's establishment in 1957 the original focus on research in atomic physics has been broadened. Research carried out by NORDITA's academic staff presently includes astrophysics, biological physics, condensed matter and materials physics, cosmology, statistical physics and complex systems, string theory, particle physics and Phenomenological Quantum Gravity. The in-house research forms the backbone of NORDITA activities and complements the more service oriented functions. By mission, NORDITA has the task of facilitating interactions between physicists in the Nordic countries as well as with the international community; therefore the comparably small institute has a large number of visitors, conferences and scientific programs that last several weeks. Notable former or present researchers at NORDITA include Ben Roy Mottelson, Leon Rosenfeld, James Hamilton, Gerald E. Brown, Holger Bech Nielsen, Paolo Di Vecchia, Alexander V. Balatsky, Chris Pethick and Kim Sneppen .
NORDITA is governed by a board consisting of one representative and one alternate member from each Nordic country, headed by a chair person. The board appoints a number of research committees which evaluate proposals and advice the board on scientific and educational matters. The NORDITA board nominates a director who is appointed by the presidents of Stockholm University and KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology. The director, currently Larus Thorlacius, is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the institute and provides scientific leadership. It has recently been announced that starting September 2014, Katherine Freese will take on Nordita's directorship.
NORDITA is funded by the Nordic countries via the Nordic Council of Ministers and its approximate budget for 2007 was 23 million Swedish kronor, of which half is contributed by the Nordic Council of Ministers and the other half is shared between KTH and Stockholm University and the Swedish Research Council.
Since the move to Stockholm, NORDITA has placed increased emphasis on organizing scientific programs, where groups of experts within a specific area of research gather at Nordita to work together for extended periods. The submission of proposals for programs on the NORDITA website is open for everybody. The submitted proposals are evaluated by an external panel and decided on by the NORDITA Board. In addition to the scientific programs, NORDITA runs several shorter workshops and symposia each year, often in co-operation with outside organizers, sometimes in conjunction with the longer programs.
NORDITA has traditionally provided extensive training at the post-doctoral level, and thereby has contributed to the career development of numerous senior scientists who are active in the Nordic countries today. The postdoctoral program at NORDITA remains an important recruitment tool for theoretical physics in the Nordic region. After the move to Stockholm in 2007, NORDITA has also introduced a Visiting PhD Student program, where advanced PhD students can apply for support to spend one to three months at NORDITA to work with staff members and benefit from the active scientific environment at the AlbaNova centre.
NORDITA also has a long tradition of organizing advanced level summer and winter schools aimed at graduate students and junior researchers. These schools often cover specialized areas and thus complement graduate courses available at the students’ home institutions.
Visiting scientist program
NORDITA supports numerous short term visits by both junior and senior scientists to participate in NORDITA activities or collaborate with NORDITA staff. The visitor program also includes several long-term visitors each year.