Starmus – rubbing shoulders with the stars

It felt like my hometown Trondheim was the centre of the universe when we hosted the Starmus Festival on June 18-23 2017. Moonwalkers, Noble Laureates and other rock stars of science like Neil deGrasse Tyson was here, and they all shared their views on the future of humanity and our scientific quests.


Jeffrey Sachs was on the impressive speaker list at Starmus in Trondheim and received a standing ovation for his talk. Photo: Max Alexander/Starmus

We had truly amazing and inspiring days. For those of you who weren’t there, I wanted to share links to video from all of the lectures so that you can take part in the inspiration yourself.

All titles are links to the videos.

Sunday June 18

Charlie Duke – The Legacy of Apollo 16

Michel Mayor – Exoplanets and ExoEarths

Sara Seager – Origins and Aliens: The Search for Biosignatures on Exoplanets

Lynn Rothschild – The Most Extreme Environments Where the Alien Life Could Be Found

Sandra Magnus – Perspectives from Space

Steve Vai – Creative Manifestation


The science festival Starmus IV in Trondheim, Norway.
Steve Vai/Musician
Photo: Max Alexander/Starmus

David Zambuka – GET A LIFE (form)!

Stefan Hell – Optical Microscopy: the resolution revolution

Monday June 19

Nobel Laureates – Panel Discussion


Edvard Moser, Adam Riess, Sir Chris Pissarides, Finn Kydland, George Smoot, May-Britt Moser, Adam Smith (moderator), Tim Hunt, Robert Wilson, Stefan W. Hell, Susumu Tonegawa, Torsten Wiesel. 
Photo: Kai T. Dragland / NTNU

Harrison Schmitt – Apollo 17 and Beyond

George Smoot – Cosmic Connections

Adam Riess – Supernovae Reveal an Accelerating Universe 

Brian Greene – String Theory and the Fabric of Spacetime

Tuesday June 20

Moonwalkers Buzz Aldrin, Charlie Duke and Harrisson Schmitt – in conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson


Moonwalkers in conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Photo: Thor Nielsen/NTNU

Stephen Hawking, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jean-Michel Jarre – Stephen Hawking Medal Ceremony

May-Britt Moser with the Trondheim Soloists – Into Whiteness

Wednesday June 21

Jeffrey Sachs – How We Can Survive Trump, Climate Change and Other Global Crisis

Oliver Stone – Decoding Truth in Films

Finn Kydland – Innovation, Capital Formation, and Economic Policy

Larry King – The Era of Post-truth and Fake News

Sir Chris Pissarides – Work in the Age of Robots

Jaan Tallinn – On Steering the Artificial Intelligence

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugene Kaspersky, Finn Kydland, Chris Pissarides and Oliver Stone – Panel Discussion Moderated by Larry King


Panel discussion: 108 Minutes: The World on Fire. In the panel: Oliver Stone, Chris Pissarides, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Finn Kydland, Eugene Kaspersky. Moderated by Larry King.
Photo: Thor Nielsen / NTNU

Thursday June 22

A very exciting day for me, as I had the honor of hosting the conference main program with a colleague. The smiles imply that we had a great time!

Stein og Nancy

Martin Rees – Living beyond 2100: On Earth and Beyond

Katharine Hayhoe – Climate Change: Facts and Fictions

Nancy Knowlton – Life on Planet Ocean: From DNA to Crochet and Twitter

Emanuelle Charpentier – CRISPR-Cas9: a gene editing technology that revolutionises life sciences

Nick Lane – Energy and Matter at the Origin of Life (starts at 2:12)

John Delaney – Understanding the Planetary Life Support Systems: Next generation Science in the Ocean Basins

Panel discussion with May-Britt Moser, Torsten Wiesel, Alexandra Witze, Dame Susan Bailey, Markus Reymann, Claude Nicollier and Sandra Magnus – Outreach and Education

Friday June 23

Edvard Moser – The Brain’s Positioning System: Why Do We Not Get Lost?

Susumu Tonegawa – Memory: Your Most Mysterious Friend

Jill Tarter – Sufficiently Advanced Technologies: Indistinguishable from Magic, or from Nature?

Paul D. N. Hebert – A Mission for Planetary Diversity

Terry “AstroTerry” Virts – The View from Above – Perspectives on Earth and Our Place in the Universe


Me and AstroTerry Virts, who has taken more than 300.000 pictures of Earth and the Universe from the International Space Station.

Spidergawd  IV

If you are a rock fan this album will get you excited. Spidergawd is the top rock act in Norway at the moment, alongside Kvelertak who through Erlend Hjelvik are collaborating on the last song of this album, “Stranglehold.” 

Fortunately for fans, Spidergawd are very productive. “IV” is their fourth album in as many years and confirms that the band is in great shape. 

Psychedelic, groovy and full of references to the glory years of rock, this band is definitely one to check out if you haven’t already. 

They are touring Europe this spring and I recommend that you go see their very energetic live act. See tour dates on their website.

Rolling Stone gave the album a 4 out of 5. Check it out on Spotify below (vinyl available on Crispin Glover Records)!

Best of Trondheim Calling: Pom Poko

I attended Trondheim Calling this weekend and saw some very exciting acts. My favourite was Pom Poko. Energetic and playful, with a charismatic lead singer and catching tunes. They are also nominated for the final of Urørt, a music competition for new artists and bands which is hosted by NRK. You’ll probably get the chance to see this band in Norway during the festival summer. 

You should definitely check out Rohey as well. They are a quartet assembled around the extremely talented lead singer Rohey Taalah and will release their first album this year. 

Rohey played a great gig at Olavshallen during Trondheim Calling and I am looking forward to hearing more music from this funky and soulful ensemble. 

If you are in to visual effects, take a note of Drøm. 

They use video art as a backdrop for their electronica act and I found it to be a great time. You are invited in to a landscape where sound and video makes the time stop.

Other honourable mentions from the gigs I saw: Emma & The Diamond Hearts and Amanda Tenfjord are both young and exciting talents I look forward to hearing more from. 

My top songs in 2016

Spotify keeps track of which songs is played the most on your account during the year. That gave me the chance to look back on the music year and join the “best of” discussion.

Data doesn’t lie, so at least these are my subconscious votes for the top songs of 2016.

My list contains a lot of music from Norway. If you are from somewhere outside this country, maybe you will find a new Nordic favorite in there.

Highasakite, Motorpsycho, Spidergawd, Aurora, Snøskred and Johndoe released great albums last year and have my warmest recommendations.

There’s a good mix of international artists in there as well, including Radiohead, Låpsley, PJ Harvey, Mogwai, Explosions in the sky and many more.

This year, I am looking forward to hearing new releases from San Fermin, LCD Soundsystem and Spidergawd, amongst many others. You should also be on the lookout for the upcoming release from Rohey, a very talented singer who has been touring with Jarle Bernhoft lately.

Anyway, here is my list of 2016. Besides a few party bloopers (The Muppet Show Theme was for a wedding, I swear!), there’s mostly great music in it. Enjoy!

The blue answer to the green question

Did you know that every second breath you take retrieves oxygen from the ocean? I’m at NTNU Ocean Week in Trondheim this week, learning how the world will be supplied with food, minerals and environment friendly energy and transport at a time when our supplies soon don’t match neither consumption nor population growth.


A panel discussion with Stig Omholt (NTNU), Arne Fredheim (SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture), Ida Aursand (Biomar) and Bård Skjeldstad (Salmar) on fish welfare in the aquaculture of the future. Me as moderator to the right.  PHOTO: NTNU Oceans

Fortunately, both ethics and sustainability is viewed as a prerequisite that needs to be a basis for how to produce more from the sea and under the seabed. We have a completely different knowledge now about how fragile ecosystems are than when the oil and gas adventure started. There is a strong determination among the delegates that we need to avoid fatal acts towards the environment.

It’s exciting to spend time with these pioneers, who work as hard as they can on solving some of society’s biggest challenges. At a time when it is easier to be gloomy than anything else about the future, it is perhaps reassuring for you to know that optimism is very high in these circles, both academic and in the industry.

Soon, we may receive news from the Norwegian government that can give an additional boost to the plans of building the Ocean Space Center in Trondheim. That will put the tools in place to further strengthen NTNU’s and Norway’s position and potential as a solution provider for the international community.

Because, if we give these folks the working conditions they need, we have shortened the road to a sustainable society.