My journey in life and science

Skiing with kids

I was born in Uppsala and grew up north of Umeå. At 16, I went to a high school for cross-country skiing in Lycksele before my undergraduate in engineering physics. After my Ph.D. in network science at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, I moved to the Department of Biology at the University of Washington in Seattle for my postdoc. There I started working on a grand challenge in network science: how to simplify and highlight essential regularities in networks into maps. Mapping networks is a holy grail of data science because in the myriad links and nodes of a network hide answers to how we can predict how the system will evolve.

From 2009 at Umeå University, and since 2019 as a professor in physics with focus on computational science, I have continued to develop and integrate new math, algorithms, and visualizations into powerful mapping tools for efficiently going from interaction data to insightful maps, new hypotheses, and unexpected discoveries. With a diverse research group in Icelab and a growing collaboration network, our applications now extend across both the natural and social sciences.

As a professional power napper, my favorite place in IceLab after lunch is a hidden couch.

I am fortunate to live between the university and the ski trails with my wife Marie and our two daughters born in 2014 and 2018. When I am not in a playground with my daughters, you will find me increasing my dopamine levels on cross-country skis.

In 2014, I received the Nordea Science Prize and in 2018 the Young Scientist Award for Socio- and Econophysics.

My research is funded by the Swedish Research Council, the Olle Engkvist Byggmästare Foundation, and the Carl Trygger Foundation.