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Meet an employee

This month's contribution is Professor and Deputy Head of Department, Lars Bojer Madsen

[Translate to English:] Lars Bojer Madsen
[Translate to English:] Lars Bojer Madsen
Lars Bojer Madsen teaching
Lars Bojer Madsen teaching

Tell about how you came to work at IFA.

During high-school, I became interested in math and physics, so I started my studies after 12 months of military service. At the university, I qualified for the PhD studies and finished my PhD in 1998 in theoretical atomic, molecular, and optical physics.  After a couple of years as a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Munich, I came back to Aarhus and managed to obtain recruiting grants until I was hired as an associate professor in 2006. It was like winning the academic lottery, only with more equations and fewer cash prizes.

Three things you love about your job.

I find it very meaningful to work with students, both in class and in supervision. It is great when we make progress in our knowledge together. I like the challenge in working with development of new theory and exploration of new physics processes. I find it extremely satisfactory, that it is possible to redefine or reinvent my research during the career.

In the department leadership, I like to think that I contribute positively to elucidate questions, qualify decisions, and shape the future of the department. I really enjoy the work with the leadership team.

It is great when all of us (VIP and TAP and students) at IFA have joint experiences. For example, recently, when we had the chance to learn about Oppenheimer, including the movie experience. Or in October, when we go for the picnic.

What is the best part of teaching?

There are many. In class, the best part is when I (think I) succeed with creating inspiring and motivating teaching practices that stimulate the learning of the students. The best part in supervision, is when the students eventually take reins of their projects and bring forward own original ideas. Suddenly, I'm not just a supervisor; I'm a “fellow adventurer in the uncharted territory of discovery.” – as ChatGPT would express it.

Tell us about your research. What is the most exciting research result you have achieved? 

My research straddles two realms: crafting fresh theories and applying them to unexplored phenomena, often with our experimental comrades. If we're talking excitement, my work on molecules in intense femto- and attosecond laser pulses and the development of time-dependent many-body theory deserve the spotlight. Much of this work would not be possible without the Centre for Scientific Computing Aarhus, where the very professional system administrators secure a smooth operation of the high-performance computing facility.

Currently, my students and I are diving into the intriguing world of strong-laser-field manipulation of condensed-matter systems—a hot topic that promises exciting discoveries. Keep an eye out for thrilling developments from my stellar research team!

What do you do in your spare time?

I spend my spare time with family and friends. Hiking and jogging are my escape routes from the quantum realm of equations and managerial affairs. I also like to pretend I'm a tenor saxophonist, even though it's been a seasonal gig for years. Maybe I should dust off that sax soon....And, of course, I have a towering stack of books on my nightstand. I like to start reading in a few of them at once, but alas, my smartphone's siren call often interrupts my literary adventures. It's the perpetual battle of a modern physicist: knowledge versus ”cat videos”.