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Jacob Sherson receives Research Communication Award

Associate Professor Jacob Sherson from Aarhus University is this year’s recipient of the Research Communication Award. The award will be presented by H.R.H. Crown Princess Mary at the opening of the Danish Science Festival at the Experimentarium on 24 April.

2017.04.24 | UFM og AU

The Danish Science Festival 2016 at Navitas in Aarhus. Two boys are playing Jacob Sherson’s game Quantum Shooter – with Jacob Sherson. Photo: Lars Kruse, Aarhus University

A computer game has provided science with quite exceptional information which can directly contribute to quantum physics research: the player must move an atom from one location to another – in the best way possible. The players are members of the public who are helping science towards the ultimate goal: quantum computing. The game has been developed by quantum physicist Jacob Sherson from Aarhus University. 

Jacob Sherson is this year’s recipient of the Research Communication Award. 

Sherson works with experimental quantum physics. Together with his research group, he has found a method that draws on the unique ability of people to solve problems intuitively compared to the enormous computing power of computers. The computer game allows people without an academic background the opportunity to help solve problems that would otherwise require a PhD in quantum physics to understand. More than 200,000 people around the world have participated by playing the game.

Exceptional effort

The Ministry of Higher Education and Science is responsible for the Research Communication Award, which is annually conferred on a researcher who has made an exceptional effort to reach a wide audience with their research.

“We must reward wisdom. Sherson is a magnificent example of a researcher who not only follows his own path, but breaks with conventional learning and involves the general public in his research. By inviting people to participate in the experiment itself, the gap between public and science is lessened, and Sherson’s research is enriched,” says Minister for Higher Education and Science Søren Pind.

Jacob Sherson will receive the award from H.R.H. Crown Princess Mary at the opening of the Danish Science Festival at the Experimentarium on 24 April. The Research Communication Award also provides DKK 100,000 to the recipient.

“It is a great honour to receive the Research Communication Award. It is a wonderful recognition that our dialogue between research and the ordinary person through the computer game has created something completely unique – also for me. My very institutional-driven approach to research, and the work on creating the game have made me view research differently and look at new resources and research questions that span established research fields,” says Jacob Sherson.

About the Research Communication Award

The Research Communication Award is awarded every year to a researcher who, through relevant dissemination, is able to attract a broad level of attention to their research.

The Minister for Higher Education and Science presents the award during the Danish Science Festival based on a recommendation from the Danish Council for Independent Research | Culture and Communication, which evaluates the submitted recommendations.

The recommended candidates are evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:    

  • Ability to engage the public outside of the scientific community while also maintaining a high professional level in both research and communication.
  • Ability to increase understanding of the research’s importance to society via communication.
  • Ability to communicate in an inclusive manner that encourages dialogue and thereby contributes to a positive interaction between science and the surrounding society. 

For further information please contact

Jacob Sherson

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Mail: sherson@phys.au.dk
Phone: +45 8715 5665

Public / media, Staff