The Lugdunum Batavorum Dream Team

Leiden's eleven most important academics

Who are the most influential academics at Leiden University? Mare presents its dream formation. In theory, you are now on the same team as the people in this local gallery of greats.

Ewine van Dishoeck
Is? Professor of Molecular Astrophysics
What is she known for? For the fact that her name is the first to be mentioned whenever lists of major female scientists are needed. But don’t get us wrong: Van Dishoeck is not only good “for a woman” – whatever that’s supposed to mean – she is, in any case, one of the most successful astronomers in the Netherlands. Her group studies interstellar chemistry using both telescopes and laboratory setups. Their research centres on the question: how are planets created and which building blocks for life are involved?

Wil Roebroeks
Is? Professor of Palaeolithic Archaeology
What is he known for? For his research into the ancestors of modern humans. He has published work on Neanderthals, the first use of fire and how humans colonised Europe and Asia. Roebroeks was also the first archaeologist to be awarded a Spinoza Prize, the highest Dutch award for academic research.

Naomi Ellemers
Is? Professor of Social Psychology
What is she known for? Since Diederik Stapel’s antics [i.e. fraud with research data], social psychology has had a hard time: weak theories, minimal testing and statistics being difficult so they get it wrong. Ellemers has not only fiercely fought that image, she has proved it wrong by giving a good example. She researches group behaviour, group identities and prejudice – which is very appropriate in this context.

Rien van IJzendoorn
Is? Professor of Child and Family Studies
What is he known for? For his studies on child abuse, attachment and the psychological consequences of the Holocaust. He has won a whole host of awards, including a Spinoza Prize, and, only last year, he received the Dr. Hendrik Muller Prize from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Frits Rosendaal
Is? Professor of Epidemiology
What is he known for? For his research on thrombosis and its causes. He was one of the researchers who first detected the notorious Factor V Leiden, the hypercoagulability disorder. His work also contributed to the discovery that the Pill and air travel can cause blood clots.

Christine Mummery
Is? Professor of Development Biology
What is she known for? For her research into stem cells. In theory, stem cells can grow into all sorts of different kinds of cells, giving hope to people who suffer from all sorts of disorders. All too often, however, that hope is dashed to pieces when breakthroughs prove to be disappointments. Mummery calls for calm and thoroughness while her own work on building pieces of heart and vein has led to some pretty awesome milestones.

Nico Schrijver
Is? Professor of Public International Law and a Member of the Upper House for PvdA
What is he known for? For his work for the United Nations and his presence at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. His also had a seat on the Davids Committee, which concluded, in 2010, that the Law of Nations provided no grounds for a mandate to invade Iraq. He has written several books on International Law.

Ineke Sluiter
Is? Professor of Greek Language and Literature
What is she known for? For her research on classic notions of all sorts of things, and the application of the ideas of minds such as Aristophanes to modern issues. She has written a tremendously thick standard work on grammar and literary theory and will publish a new Greek-Dutch dictionary at the end of next year, funded primarily by her Spinoza Prize which she received in 2010.

Afshin Ellian
Is? Legal philosopher and opinion maker. He arrived in the Netherlands years ago as a refugee, fleeing from Ayatollah Khomeini.
What is he known for? First-years law students are likely to encounter him at lectures, and he is the head of the Leiden Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Law. For years, security guards accompany had to accompany Ellian to the Kamerlingh Onnes Building as his remarks about Islam were not always appreciated by everyone.

Bas Haring
Is? Professor by special appointment of Public Understanding of Science, a TV philosopher and columnist.
What is he known for? In Leiden, he is involved in the Media Technology Masters programme and the Big Science summer course that make science subjects more accessible to the rest of the university. Fame suddenly came his way after the publication of his book Kaas en de Evolutietheorie [Cheese and Theory of Evolution]. He has presented several television series.

Carlo Beenakker
Is? Professor of Theoretical Physics
What is he known for? For his work on graphene and Majorana fermions and for his ability to rake in millions of Euros for research. He is currently working with researchers in Delft on the first Dutch quantum computer, a powerful computing device that is capable of solving new types of problems. He is also available for people who are not quite so well grounded in theoretical physics: he and his wife give courses on marriage in their spare time.

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