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Cosmic Dawn Center

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Cosmic Dawn Center (DAWN)
Logo for DAWN with blue horizon.jpg
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LocationLyngbyvej 2, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark and Elektrovej 327, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
DirectorSune Toft with co-director Thomas Greve
WebsiteDAWN Homepage

The Cosmic Dawn Center is an Astronomy/Cosmology research center, founded as a collaboration between the Niels Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen and DTU Space of the Danish Technical University (DTU). The center is led by center director and NBI Professor Sune Toft and center co-director Thomas Greve, Professor at DTU and UCL.[1] The main objective of the center is to investigate the period known as the Cosmic Dawn (the transition period following the Cosmic Dark Ages[2]), i.e. the reionization of the Universe and the formation of the first galaxies, through observations as well as through theory and simulations.[3][4][5] The Cosmic Dawn Center also runs two summer programs for mainly U.S. undergraduates, the DAWN-IRES program, funded by National Science Foundation,[6] and a SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship)[7] program for California Institute of Technology students.[8]


Research conducted at the center is focused on the specific period in the history of the Universe known as the Cosmic Dawn. This largely unexplored period, 300-600 million years after the Big Bang is when the first stars, black holes and galaxies are believed to have formed.[9][10] Many of the observations used by the center originate from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), one of the more powerful telescopes in the world.[11][12] In the future, the center aims to mainly use the James Webb Space Telescope[13][14] (planned to start operating in 2021[15][16][17] Work on the telescope was suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[18]), the Euclid Telescope of the European Space Agency (ESA) (planned to start operating in 2022[19]), but is also involved with many other missions.

Major publications and collaborations[edit]

Accurate as of 2020-04-17. Taken as the highest impact papers with participation of at least one DAWN affiliate.[5]

Major papers[edit]

  • Observation of inverse Compton emission from a long γ-ray burst:[20]
  • Identification of strontium in the merger of two neutron stars:[21]
  • Signatures of a jet cocoon in early spectra of a supernova associated with a γ-ray burst:[22]
  • Stellar Velocity Dispersion of a Massive Quenching Galaxy at z = 4.01:[23]

As per 18 April 2020, DAWN authors have published at least 187 refereed papers garnering 1602 citations, which, among others, can be found at the NASA/ADS library.[24] A paper library including all papers written by DAWN members since the official inauguration can be found here.



A short summary of research conducted by the 2019 SURF students at The Cosmic Dawn Center can be found on the Caltech Student-Faculty program website.[29]


The Cosmic Dawn Center is a DNRF Center of Excellence.[4]

Senior academic staff[edit]

As of 15 April 2020[30][31]

  • Center Director, Professor Sune Toft
  • Center Co-Director, Professor Thomas Greve[1]
  • Professor of Astronomy, Johan Peter Uldall Fynbo[32]
  • Professor of Astronomy, Georgios Magdis (dually employed at the Niels Bohr Institute and DTU)[33]
  • Associate professor, Gabriel Brammer
  • Associate professor, Charles Steinhardt
  • Associate professor, Darach Watson

Besides these, DAWN employs a number of Affiliate Professors, Postdocs and PhDs, as well as the administrative staff.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Thomas Greve profile at UCL", University College London, 15 April 2020
  2. Space.com article on the Cosmic Dawn and the formation of the first stars, 15 April 2020
  3. "Mission Statement", Cosmic Dawn Center, 25 February 2020
  4. 4.0 4.1 "DNRF article on the inauguration of DAWN", Danish National Research Foundation, 14 March 2020
  5. 5.0 5.1 "The Cosmic Dawn Center profile on Nature", Nature, 14 March 2020
  6. DAWN-IRES website, 14 March 2020
  7. Caltech SURF program, 14 March 2020
  8. Caltech SURF Announcement of Opportunity, 14 March 2020
  9. Wall, Mike (28 February 2018), "Cosmic Dawn: Astronomers Find Fingerprints of Universe's First Stars", Space.com, retrieved 15 April 2020
  10. Lemonick, Michael D. (14 December 2012). "Cosmic Dawn: How the Universe's Lights Went On". Time Magazine. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  11. ALMA homepage, 15 April 2020
  12. Bhattacharjee, Yudhijit (9 March 2019), "Cosmic Dawn", National Geographic, retrieved 15 April 2020
  13. ESA JWST Workshops, 15 April 2020
  14. NASA JWST will explore the Cosmic Dawn, 15 April 2020
  15. Jim Bridenstine [@JimBridenstine] (27 June 2018). "The James Webb Space Telescope will produce first of its kind, world-class science. Based on recommendations by an Independent Review Board, the new launch date for @NASAWebb is March 30, 2021. I'm looking forward to the launch of this historic mission" (Tweet). Retrieved 27 June 2018 – via Twitter.
  16. "NASA Completes Webb Telescope Review, Commits to Launch in Early 2021". NASA. 27 June 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  17. Kaplan, Sarah; Achenbach, Joel (24 July 2018). "NASA's next great space telescope is stuck on Earth after screwy errors". The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  18. Foust, Jeff (March 20, 2020). "Coronavirus pauses work on JWST". SpaceNews.
  19. "Arianespace and ESA announce the Euclid satellite's launch contract for dark energy exploration". esa.int. 7 January 2020.
  20. Acciari, V.A.; Ansoldi, S.; Antonelli, L.A.; et al. (November 2019). "Observation of inverse Compton emission from a long γ-ray burst". Nature. 575 (7783): 459–463. Bibcode:2019Natur.575..459M. doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1754-6. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 31748725. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)
  21. Watson, D.; Hansen, C.J.; Selsing, J.; et al. (October 2019). "Identification of strontium in the merger of two neutron stars". Nature. 574 (7779): 497–500. arXiv:1910.10510. Bibcode:2019Natur.574..497W. doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1676-3. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 31645733. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)
  22. Izzo, L.; de Ugarte Postigo, A.; Maeda, K.; et al. (January 2019). "Signatures of a jet cocoon in early spectra of a supernova associated with a γ-ray burst". Nature. 565 (7739): 324–327. arXiv:1901.05500. Bibcode:2019Natur.565..324I. doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0826-3. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 30651614. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)
  23. Tanaka, Masayuki; Valentino, Francesco; Toft, Sune; et al. (6 November 2019). "Stellar Velocity Dispersion of a Massive Quenching Galaxy at z = 4.01". The Astrophysical Journal. 885 (2): L34. arXiv:1909.10721. Bibcode:2019ApJ...885L..34T. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ab4ff3. ISSN 2041-8213. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)
  24. "ADS paper search with aff:"cosmic dawn center"". Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  25. James Webb Space Telescope, retrieved 15 April 2020
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 "Cosmic Dawn Center - Research at DAWN". dawn.nbi.ku.dk. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  27. COSMOS Members, 15 April 2020
  28. Buffalo Survey, 14 March 2020
  29. Caltech SURF Abstract Book 2019 (PDF), 15 April 2020
  30. "Staff and Student profiles", Cosmic Dawn Center, 15 April 2020
  31. "Staff of the Niels Bohr Institute", Niels Bohr Institute, 14 March 2020
  32. Johan Fynbo personal website, 14 Mar 2020
  33. Georgios Magdis personal website, 14 Mar 2020

External links[edit]

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