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The Borelius Medal

Published Jan 26, 2022

The Borelius Medal ceremony took place on October 28, 2021, at KTH. The ceremony consisted of a Borelius lecture, given by dr. Gustaf Mårtensson, and the award of the Borelius Medals to Anne Lidgard (2020) and Sandra di Rocco (2021), followed by the awards of "Teacher of the Year 2020" to Nicholas Apazidis, "Assistant of the Year 2020" to Mats Barkmann and a " Feather in the hat 2020 ” to Agnes Berg, Filip Axelsson and Theo Ingelstam, and the awards for 2021: "Teacher of the Year'' to John Andersson, "Assistant of the Year" to Theo Brolin and "Feather in the Hat" to Teo Elmfeldt. We talked to Gunnar Benediktsson, who told us all about the Medal’s history.


Photo: Gunnar Benediktsson

In the spring of 1998, following a suggestion of Professor Per Carlson, the Faculty Board of TFY (Engineering Physics) decided to establish a medal, the Borelius Medal. According to that Faculty Board's decision, the medal will be awarded annually to particularly valuable personal contributions to Engineering Physics at KTH - or in other words - for useful work in Technical Physics, to one or two people. 

A committee, originally consisting of the three heads of the Departments of Physics, Mathematics and Mechanics, will in early May appoint recipients of the medal; after the Physics Department was divided into Physics and Applied Physics, the participation in the committee alternates between them. All staff at the institutions mentioned above have the right to nominate candidates. The nomination must be justified. From the very beginning, all preparation for each year's appointment has been taken care of by a "Borelius Committee". This committee initially consisted of the council head at TFY, the director of studies for the program and a couple of council members. In recent years, the Borelius medal assignment has been handled by a committee appointed by the four heads of the departments. 

In the beginning, the idea was that the medal would be awarded at a dinner party for all staff members, but this turned out to be quite hard, so instead the medal is awarded at a smaller, morning ceremony. The ceremony starts with a Borelius lecture, which is of general interest. After that, there is a reception, where some simple refreshments are served. That part usually takes place in the Mathematics Department's lunch room. Since 2005, the awards "Teacher of the year" and "Feather in the hat" take place on the same day. Recently, the "Assistant of the Year" award was also added.

The first Borelius medal award took place in May 2000, when the great donor Göran Gustafsson and the former head of the TFY council, Maj-Britt Tolstad, received the medal.

Due to the pandemic, the work over the past two years has been somewhat challenging, but thankfully medalists were able to be appointed for both 2020 and 2021, at the delayed ceremony that took place on October 28 this year. However, only one of the two recipients from each year were present so the other two will have to wait until next year's ceremony.

Text: Gunnar Benediktsson and Danai Deligeorgaki