Jakob Nordström elected member of Young Academy
The Young Academy of Sweden recently welcomed eight new members, and one of them is Associate Professor Jakob Nordström. In this new role, Jakob hopes to be able to work on, among other things, questions regarding research funding and conditions for researchers.
Hello Jakob Nordström, new member of the Young Academy of Sweden. How does it feel to have been elected?
“I am very happy and excited to have been elected as a member, but also somewhat overwhelmed.”
Are there areas that you find particularity important to pursue in your new role?
“I almost accidentally slipped into a research career just because research is so fun, but I also believe that this is an immensely important endeavour for which the right conditions are crucial. If we wish to have world-leading research in Sweden, we must make high demands on our researchers, but they should also be provided with the resources needed to meet these demands. University professors should have time for research included in their positions as a matter of course. Researchers and teachers need to be able to focus on what they do best instead of being overwhelmed with an ever increasing administrative workload. Swedish universities should become more autonomous to be able to set their own research agenda independent of short-term trends. These are some of the issues that I want to try to influence as a member of the Young Academy of Sweden.”
You are an associate professor at the Department of Theoretical Computer Science. What are you working on at the moment?
“Computers are everywhere today—at work, in our cars, in our living rooms, and in our pockets—and have changed the world beyond our wildest imagination. Yet these marvellous devices are, at the core, amazingly simple and stupid: all they can do is to mechanically shuffle zeros and ones around according to predefined instructions, so-called algorithms. What is the true potential of such automated computational devices? And what are the limits of what can be done by mechanical calculations? Understanding this kind of questions is ultimately what my research is about.
I am particularly interested in investigating different combinatorial optimization problems, which are of fundamental mathematical importance but also have wide-ranging applications in industry. My goal is, one the one hand, to prove formally that many such problems are beyond the reach of current algorithmic techniques, but also, on the other hand, to invent new algorithms that have the potential to go beyond the current state of the art.”
About Young Academy of Sweden
The Young Academy of Sweden is a transdisciplinary academy for a selection of the most prominent, younger researchers in Sweden. Its operations rest firmly on three pillars: transdisciplinarity, science policy and outreach. The Academy is an independent platform that provides junior researchers with a strong voice in the science policy debate and that promotes science and research to young adults and children. In the Academy young researchers meet across institutional and disciplinary borders to discuss research and research related topics. The Young Academy of Sweden was formed at the initiative of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and currently has 33 members.
The Young Academy of Sweden is managed by a Chief Executive Officer and a secretariat in the halls of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (RSAS), Stockholm, Sweden.