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Ole E. Barndorff-Nielsen memorial conference at the Department of Mathematics

Ole E. Barndorff-Nielsen (1935–2022) made vast contributions in several scientific fields, including statistics, probability theory, econometrics and theoretical physics. He and his work were highly respected nationally and internationally.

The Department of Mathematics held a big memorial conference to celebrate and honour the life and extraordinary scientific achievements of Ole E. Barndorff-Nielsen. The first speaker was Ole’s wife Bente Barndorff-Nielsen who gave a touching and warm speech, and she was followed by sessions covering many of the numerous fields of science that Ole contributed to and the recent research developments in these fields.

Ole graduated in 1960 from the Department of Mathematics at Aarhus University, where he was hired as an assistant professor the same year. Here, he established and built a strong group of scientists working within statistics, probability theory and related areas. He led this group for the following 45 years. He was one of the most cited and influential scientists in stochastics with a remarkable production of more than 200 scientific papers and eight textbooks written with more than 80 co-authors. His scientific production was comprehensive and even at a very high age, he was eager to study newly developed areas within statistics and probability; for example, he initiated and developed the theory of ambit stochastics with collaborators over the last ten years of his life.

One of Bente’s touching memories in her opening speech was about a special chair – Ole’s Chair. A chair fitting his proportions (Ole was 196cm tall). Bente tells: “After Ole died, we had a visit from our grandchild Rasmus and his family. Ole’s three-year-old great-granddaughter came into the living room, stood completely still and stared at the empty chair: »Where is Ole?!« and I explained it to her once more. »Okay… But who is now going to sit in Ole’s chair?« »Anybody can sit in that chair« I said. Life goes on. But nobody can fill the void after Ole.”

After a remarkable speech, Bente finishes with these fine words: “Ole’s ashes are now floating on the ocean – or rather lying at the bottom of it – but I like to imagine that they are travelling all over the world visiting friends and colleagues.”

Please read or revisit the eloquent memorial words to Ole E. Barndorff-Nielsen written by Rodrigo Labouriau (AU), Michael Sørensen (KU) and Steen Thorbjørnsen (AU):