I was born and raised in Odense,
Denmark, as the youngest
of 3 children. (My hometown is best known as the birth place for the author and poet
Hans Christian Andersen.) My parents and
grand parents (who lived with us) gave us a wonderful upbringing. My mother
worked as a nurse for over 40 years, and my farther as an engineer before
he retired early to pursue his ambitions as an artist (his art).
My siblings (Frederikke and
Anders) now live with their families in
Copenhagen and Paris.
I attended public elementary school (Provstegård-skolen), high-school
(Sct. Knuds Gymnasium), and the first 3 years of University
(Syddansk Universitet) in Odense. My focus was on math and science
from high-school on, but by my 3rd year in college, astrophysics caught my
attentionas when I met my "astronomical parents" Johannes Andersen and
However, for most of my life (still), the books were merely a distraction from
my first love - the game of European football (soccer). For as long as I can
remember I was kicking a ball around. I joined the local club (Odense KFUM) at age
5, and later played as a youth player in the clubs B1913 and
Odense Boldblub (OB).
From about the age of 14 till 17, I played for the Danish national team for ages
under 16 and 18. I played games against Italy, the Soviet Union (USSR), Scotland,
East Germany (DDR), Hungary, and Nothern Ireland, as well as training matches
against club teams like Tottenham, Marsielle, and Napoli.
My career on the national team ended when a BIG defender broke my femur just before
the European Championship tournament. As a senior player I returned to B1913 and
later B93, and played for 6 years in the Danish first
division before stopping in 1998.
The end of my football (soccer) career was triggered by my wish to pursue a Ph.D.
in astrophysics, and to do so abroad. Having postponed my millitary service throughout
my University studies, I stopped playing and enrolled one year prior to finishing my
Masters in Physics and Astronomy at University of Copenhagen. I joined the Royal
Danish Airforce for a year of millitary training. I enjoyed the shooting range the
most and earned a medal for being the best long-distance rifle shot of ~200 soldiers.
I ended my millitary career as a sniper and driver of personnel and equipment with
semi trucks with trailers.
In the summer of 1999, after finishing millitary service and Masters thesis in
parallel, I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, to start my graduate studies. I started to work with Professor Bob Mathieu on studies of open star clusters.
This wonderful and ongoing collaboration led to a dissertation with Bob as my
advisor, and to graduation in 2005. Madison had other attractions as well. While
in graduate school I met my wife Sara. Sara is now an Assistant Professor of Radiology
at Boston University, working at Boston Medical Center. We married in 2002 in
Denmark, and had our first child in 2003. Sara gave birth to our second child
one month prior to my thesis defense and just 3 months prior to her own medical
board exam. It was a busy time ... We moved to Boston (Medford) when in 2005
David Latham, at the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, offered me a position to work
with him on projects related to the planned Kepler space mission.
Inspired by my father, I was drawing, painting, and making sculptures from a
young age. Over the years my focus has become mainly oil paintings. At the
present time, work and family have pushed my productivity to an all time low.
The painting below is from 2014.