Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology

The Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology at NTNU blogs about news and different activities at the faculty.

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PhD candidate from IMT won award for best paper
  23 November, 2016

Camilla Sommerseth, former PhD candidate at the Department of Materials Sciences and Engineering, now a scientist at SINTEF, won the Best Carbon Paper Award at the ICSOBA conference. ISCOBA – The International Committee for Study of Bauxite, Alumina & Aluminium – organized the conference in Quebec, Canada in October 2016.

Sommerseth and her coauthors received the award for the article “The Effect of Varying Mixing and Baking Temperatures on the Quality of Pilot Scale Anodes – A Factorial Design Analysis” by Camilla Sommerseth, Rebecca Jayne Thorne, Arne Petter Ratvik, Espen Sandnes, Hogne Linga, Lorentz Petter Lossius and Ann Mari Svensson.


The article is based on Sommerseth’s work as a PhD candidate. She defended her thesis in April 2016 – “The Effect of Production Parameters on the Performance of Carbon Anodes for Aluminium Production”. Ann Mari Svensson was her supervisor. Egil Skybakmoen (SINTEF), Arne Petter Ratvik (SINTEF) and Lorentz Petter Lossius (Hydro) were co-supervisors.


Group photo from the conference.

Group photo from the conference.


Nordic Five Tech students won with wind turbine
  11 January, 2016

November 2015, students at the Master Program in Innovative Sustainable Energy Engineering (ISEE) won first prize for designing and fabricating a small-scale wind turbine and electrical generator.

The competition was held among 130 students from both NTNU and a team from the Technical University in Berlin. The students were challenged to design and fabricate a small-scale wind turbine and electrical generator. The group with best efficiency measured in the wind tunnel was awarded the prize.

This year students from the Nordic Five Tech Program won first prize, having the turbine efficiency higher than the NTNU teams and the TU Berlin team, who won the prize last year.

More information about the ISEE Program

“I cannot believe we won! In this competition, we could use the theory we have learnt to develop an actual small-scale wind turbine. This is result of hard work and we are proud of being in the Nordic Five Tech Program”
Sayantan Chattopadhyay, Mechanical engineer, MS. System Integration of Wind Power (MSISEE), NTNU


Participants in the winning NTNU team. From the left: Sayantan Chattopadhyay, Luis Carlos Guajardo Gonzalez, Feng Guo, Thomas Duc, Meadhbh Ni Chleirigh

The governmental proposes huge budget appropriations within renewable energy for 2016. In accordance with the governmental declaration the government suggests an additional strengthening of the research centers for renewable energies. Students from NTNU and Technical University in Berlin is already on it!

The Competition

This competition within the course divide students into groups of six pupils of varying backgrounds and academic levels, with the project of designing, simulating, constructing and finally testing their own small-scale wind turbine.

“Having the opportunity to work as a team with all the ISEE students was a great experience especially given our different backgrounds and nationalities; it was very interesting to see the other teams designs and tests, and I’m very happy to see that the hard work payed off at the end.”
Luis Carlos Guajardo Gonzalez, Mechatronics Engineer, MS. System Integration of Wind Power (MSISEE), NTNU

The interdisciplinary Wind Turbine Competition is part of the course “Energy from Environmental Flows” with Prof. Dahlhaug in charge in cooperation with Dr. Paul Thomassen (firm SIMIS) Prof. Trond Toftevåg. The course includes students from a wide range of academic disciplines. The course gives students knowledge within advanced aerodynamics, electromagnetism and electro machine design.

“The course presents theoretical and practical challenges that the future engineers will meet in their professional lives. Such training is extremely important. Which also can be inspiring and motivating in searching jobs within the renewable energy business or future research careers.”
Associate Prof. Trond Toftevåg, Department of Electric Power Engineering

About the Program

The Master’s program in Innovative Sustainable Energy Engineering is a collaboration between five of the leading technical universities in the Nordic countries (Nordic Five Tech) and University of Iceland (UoI). The NT-Faculty is hosting the Program.

The program gives you a unique opportunity to tailor your degree based on your academic interests.
You will get to study at two of the partner universities, spending one year at each. You graduate with a double master’s degree from the two universities.

State-of-the-art education
Innovative Sustainable Energy Engineering has an increasingly important role to play in order to ensure a sustainable future energy production. The program provides a state-of-the-art education in the fields of conventional and renewable energy sources like new power generation, solar energy, biomass energy, wind power, geothermal power, and energy utilization in the built environment by means of economically and environmentally sustainable systems and technologies.

The students that won the competition are enrolled in the study track called “System Integration of Wind Power” which is a collaboration between Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and NTNU. Students study their first year at NTNU, then the second year at DTU.


“The competition was a great experience, not only to get to know each other better but also to come together as a group and really try to do something innovative and new, and getting to test out our design in the largest wind tunnel in Europe was definitely a highlight.”
Meadhbh Ni Chleirigh , Electrical Engineer, MS. System Integration of Wind Power (MSISEE), NTNU, In the photo together with the rest of the team.


More details?

The research led to the implementation of an innovative blade design algorithm, derived from an adaptation of the Blade Element Momentum (BEM) theory and taking into account the variation of Reynolds number along the blade. Using a 6 pole radial flux permanent magnet synchronous generator to convert mechanical energy from the rotor into electrical energy, the complete turbine reached a final efficiency of 38, 96 %.

Testing their turbines this year, the students exceeded the expectations deduced from the in house turbine simulation software, Ashes. In particular, it has been found that the rotor efficiency exceeded 50 % in the region or operation around 1650 – 1750 rpm, confirming the relevance of this innovative design, and placing it firmly in the category of state-of-the-art rotor designs.

Prestigious grant to Physics Professor Arne Brataas
  17 June, 2015


Professor Arne Brataas at the Department of Physics was recently awarded the prestigious ERC grant from the European Research Council. Only three researchers from NTNU have previously received the grant including NT Professor Bernt-Eirik Sæther at the Department of Biology. The other two are Nobel Prize winners Edvard and May-Britt Moser. The scholarship is individual and will contribute 19 million NOK over five years to Brataas’ research.

Arne Brataas belongs to the theoretical physics research group and is an internationally recognized researcher in areas such as spintronics. Spintronics is a field within electronics where researchers study the electron spin and its associated magnetic moment and fundamental charge. The energy consumption is minimal and manipulating electron spin opens up new areas of use and functionality. Today, the technology is used in devices such as electronic storage media. Brataas is studying this phenomenon in different materials and situations to develop the international research further.

– It is a very nice recognition from the European Research Council. The grant makes it possible to take even more risks in this relatively unexplored theme where there is such a great potential, Brataas says to Adresseavisen.


Arne Brataas became a professor at the Department of Physics when he was only 33 years old. He has held postdoctoral positions at TU Delft and Harvard University. He is also Chairman of the Kavli prize committee in nanoscience 2013-2019


Impressive lineup of world class scientists
  17 September, 2014


Brenda Milner, Neuroscience prize winner. Photo: Per Henning/NTNU

Last week, NTNU hosted the Kavli Prize Laureate in The Natural Science Building (Realfagbygget) and there were some very succesful scientists and prize winners present. The prestigious Kavli Prize was established in 2005 by The Kavli Foundation in cooperation with The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. The prize is named after Fred Kavli a successful business leader, inventor, and philanthropist from Norway. Kavli (1927-2013) received his engineering degree from NTH in 1955 and moved to the USA shortly after.


Kavli Prize Winners in Nanoscience and Neuroscience: Thomas W. Ebbesen, Stefan W. Hell and Sir John Pendry (the 3 nanoscience prize winners), Brenda Milner, John O’Keefe and Marcus E. Raichle (the 3 neuroscience prize winners). Photo: Per Henning/NTNU

The prize recognizes scientists with outstanding research results in astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience and award three prize winners from each field every second year. The Natural Science Building was the host for the Laureate for nanoscience and neuroscience. The prize winners receive a check for one million US dollars for each research field, a gold medal and a diploma. The prize has wide international recognition and the American president traditionally welcomes the American recipients to the White House.

A sparkling 96-year-old scientist
Brenda Milner, a 96-year-old professor at McGill University in Canada, stole the show this day. This charming and lively lady received the Neuroscience prize. Her lecture “Memory, looking back and looking forward” was very popular and everyone was impressed by her chipper demeanor. Milner is considered a pioneer in neuropsychology and memory research. She is most famous for her studies on the patient Henry Molaison known as H.M. He had undergone a bilateral temporal lobectomy (brain surgery) that included removal of major portions of the hippocampus. H.M. was not able to remember new events after the operation, but he was able to learn new motor skills. Milner’s research led to theories that can explain the link between brain function and memory, and contributed to the development of cognitive neuropsychology.

Two other prominent researchers received the Neuroscience prize: John O’Keefe, a neuroscientist and a professor at the University College London. He is famous for his discovery of place cells, a type of neuron active in the hippocampus part of the brain. Place cells become active when an animal enters a particular place in an environment. The third prize winner in neuroscience was Marcus E. Raichle, an American neurologist at the Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, Missouri. His research involves the nature of functional brain imaging


Sir John Pendry and his lecture “The science of invisibility”. Photo: Per Henning/NTNU

First Norwegian Kavli Prize Winner
Norwegian scientist, Thomas Ebbesen now residing in France at the University of Strasbourg was the first Norwegian Kavli Prize winner. He received the Kavli Prize in nanoscience. His biggest contribution to science is in optical transmission. Another nanoscience winner was physicist Stefan W. Hell from Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany. Hell is a big contributor to microscopy technology. Sir John Pendry, theoretical physicist from the Imperial College of London was also a nanoscience Prize recipient. He had an interesting lecture on invisibility. Pendry became famous for creating a container that can reflect light in a fashion where objects can become invisible, a so called invisibility cloak. Invisibility cloaks are very popular in science fiction and appear in the books of Harry Potter.


The 2010 Noble Prize Winner in Physics, Sir Andre Geim. Photo: Per Henning/NTNU

The 2010 Noble Prize Winner in Physics, Sir Andre Geim. Photo: Per Henning/NTNU

Unique opportunities at NTNU
The Natural Science Building also hosted the Kavli Prize Symposium in Nanoscience in the afternoon. Among the speakers was Sir Andre Geim from The University of Manchester. Geim is part of the duo that received the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for the method of isolating graphene. Graphene is a one-atom thin layer of carbon, 100 times stronger than steel and with great conductivity properties. Other speakers at the symposium included Bo Brummerstedt from Aarhus University, Molly Stevens from Imperial College of London and Ke Lu from The Chinese Academy of Science in Shenyang.

This day was one of many interesting opportunities that students have to see absolute world class scientists at NTNU. This opportunity is unique and students should definitely take the chance to attend events like this.