Community Profile: Timon Emken

Name: Timon Emken

Current position: Postdoc

Affiliation: University of Stockholm

Field of research: Astroparticle physics


What is your career trajectory to date?

In 2013, I finished my master degree in physics at the University of Göttingen in Germany. I first started to work on dark matter as a PhD student at the University of Southern Denmark. Shortly after my PhD, I joined the dark matter group at Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden. Currently, I am a postdoctoral fellow at Stockholm University and remain connected to Chalmers as a visiting researcher.

What are the most exciting open questions in your research area?

Most of us desperately want to know the answers to the questions "What is dark matter?" and "How can we learn more about it, can we detect it?". Another open problem keeping me up at night is "What is taking the referee so long?".

What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?

There is a lot of freedom in being a scientist, which is great. I also love the idea of research as a life-long, curiosity-driven learning process.

What I like less is the uncertainty of an academic career, which is not very family-friendly.

Which of your skills are you most proud of, or find most useful?

Over the last years, I appreciated more and more the value of proper research software design. I therefore found my coding skills to be most useful.

In your career so far, at what point were you the most excited, and what were you excited about?

Last year I submitted my first single-author paper. That was pretty exciting.

What new skills would you like to learn in the next year?

I keep learning how to structure my work in a more efficient way. Sometimes I find it hard to work on multiple projects in parallel (and not just on my favorite one).

What advances or new results are you excited about or looking forward to?

There are always results from the various ongoing direct detection experiments that I look forward to. (Hopefully not just null-results.)

What is the biggest obstacle that is slowing down your research field right now?

Mostly that dark matter seemingly refuses to interact with anything except via gravity. We really do not know much about it...

What role do you think a community network like EuCAPT can play in developing theoretical astroparticle physics and cosmology in Europe?

I think EuCAPT can deliver the opportunity to network across Europe and facilitate a closer network where new collaborations can naturally emerge.

What’s your favorite food? You mean other than chocolate?

Have you lived in a different European country than you do now? If so, would you like to tell us something about it, e.g. a fond memory or something you found surprising?

I have lived in Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. I have had great fun getting to know the Danish culture and customs. Hygge is amazing. The most fond memory however was here in Sweden, where I became a father.

How do you like to relax after a hard day of work?

By spending time with my family, listening to a podcast, or watching a good TV series.

Do you have any non-physics interests that you would like to share?

I love the outdoors and keep enjoying the beautiful nature of Sweden.

If you were not a scientist, what do you think you would be doing? Probably a programmer or software engineer.

What do you hope to see accomplished scientifically in the next 50 years?

In my own field, I would like witness a dark matter discovery. More generally and also more importantly, we need a solution to the climate crisis, a huge challenge to overcome, not just scientifically.

What question would you have liked us to ask you, and what would you have responded?

I wish you would have asked me, whether or not I have a website or active twitter account. The answer is YES :). You can learn more about my work on and follow me on Twitter (@TimonEmken).