Beer money enables football player the peace of mind to focus on chemistry research – University of Copenhagen

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01 December 2011

Beer money enables football player the peace of mind to focus on chemistry research

When football player Kasper Mackeprang of the Søllerød Gold Diggers gets together with his well-armoured American football teammates, chemical formulas are quickly forgotten. And that’s part of his own equation, as thoughts about chemistry otherwise occupy the majority of Mackeprang’s waking hours.

By Jes Andersen

Sins of our fathers threaten planets protective mantle

Kasper Mackeprang is a chemistry student at the University of Copenhagen who has just received a scholarship from Carlsberg to study how the planet’s ozone layer is being destroyed by chlorine pollution..
Ever since the 1980’s a laundry list of chlorine products have been banned due to the damage they cause to the ozone layer, a protective atmospheric layer which protects animals and humans from the sun’s cancer causing ultraviolet rays. However, refrigerants such as Freon continue to linger in the upper atmosphere and their deleterious effects persist. Therefore, chemists are interested in investigating everything to do with the persistent decomposition of the ozone layer by pollution from the past. The Scholarship will be used to research vibrational and electronic transitions in chloroxide dimers. When CFC gases break down in the atmosphere there is a catalytic degradation in ozone. But the dimers’ roll in the process is unclear. With help from MOLPRO software and using the CCSD(T)-F12 method as a starting point, Mackeprang will attempt to shed light on one aspect of the problem. Project supervisors Solveig Jørgensen and Henrik Kjærgaard are both from the Quanta, Spectra and Dynamics research group and Kasper is happy to be guided by such strong individuals with theoretical capacities. Indeed, Mackeprang’s work with chlorine compounds is pure theoretical chemistry.

Large grant from beer giant

The 75,000 kroner Carlsberg Commemorative Scholarship is one of the largest of scholarships offered to students in Denmark. The Danish scholarship is awarded annually to eight students in the fields of chemistry, biochemistry or biotechnology. Three students from the University of Copenhagen have received the much coveted scholarship this year.

Ren teori til matematikglad kemiker

That he has always been interested in chemistry is one thing, but according to Mackeprang, there has always been a special place in his heart devoted to mathematics as well.
"I have never been real strong in the laboratory. But give me some formulas and a few equations that need to be solved and I’ll run with it", says Kasper Mackeprang.

Honor and peace of mind

While Mackeprang is delighted about the pat on the shoulder implied by the awarding of the Scholarship, he is particularly enthused about the peace of mind that comes with it.
"I sought the Scholarship because I had a tough time finding enopugh hours in the day for earning money, playing sports and still achieving the necessary results at the Department of Chemistry, so it is quite a relief to receive this impressive scholarship", concludes Kasper, who expects to write his thesis during the spring of 2013.