19 April 2018

Eight Utrecht-based academics chosen to become members of KNAW

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (Dutch name: Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, KNAW) has appointed eight Utrecht-based academics as KNAW members. In the Netherlands, membership of KNAW is a big accolade for an academic career. A total of 21 new members have been appointed.

KNAW members, prominent academics from all disciplines, are chosen on the grounds of their academic achievements. KNAW has over five-hundred members. Membership is for life. The new KNAW members will be installed on Monday 17 September.

The new members

Arwen Deuss
prof. dr. Arwen Deuss. Fotograaf: Ed van Rijswijk

Professor Dr Arwen Deuss is a Professor of Earth Structure and Dynamics of Earth's interior, and uses seismology to chart the Earth from the upper mantle to the inner core. She connects seismology with mineral physics, the dynamics of Earth and geochemistry. By doing this, she wants to discover how the interior of Earth develops itself. Among other things, Deuss determined the role of the temperature and the chemical composition in the behaviour of layers of the Earth at depths of 520 and 660 kilometres into the core. She also used vibrations of the entire Earth to study the inner core. Deuss is curious and enthusiastic and transfers this to her students and to the wider audience. She regularly gives lectures and makes appearances on, among other things, festivals and radio shows to tell about her research.

Jeannot Trampert

Professor Dr Jeannot Trampert, a Professor of Geophysics, specifically of seismology, is well-known for his research into the Earth's mantle and the processes that take place in there. Among other things, Trampert discovered streaming patterns in the Earth's mantle deep underneath the Atlantic Ocean that were previously unknown. In the past twenty years, he refined the ideas on the structure of the Earth's mantle and united the until-then often separately-operating fields of geology, geochemistry and geophysics. In the previous years, Trampert and his group have focused on the prediction of earthquakes, among other things. He does that with the help of neural networks that automatically recognise patterns in an early stage.

Petra de Jongh
Prof. Petra de Jongh

Professor Dr Petra de Jongh, a Professor of Inorganic Nanomaterials, does fundamental research into nanomaterials that can be used as catalysts or for the storage and conversion of sustainable energy. She became internationally well-known for the first time with her research into the nano structure of materials for the storage of hydrogen. Her other discoveries include a way to make lithium batteries safer and more compact. However, the core of her research is the understanding of catalysts and the designing of even better and new catalysts, such as with longer lifespans, higher efficiency or for new sustainable processes such as making solar fuels. De Jongh has fifteen patents registered under her name and regularly collaborates with corporations. Students call her a very enthusiastic lecturer who anticipates their interests well.

Judith van Erp

Professor Dr Judith van Erp, a Professor of Public Governance and Management, is focused on white-collar criminality and the oversight on enterprises. She is one of the European pioneers in this originally American field of research. Among other things, Van Erp researches the effects of naming and shaming and of negative publicity on the reputation and behaviour of enterprises. She also studied the effectiveness of the TV-show Opsporing Verzocht, audited the Netherlands Gaming Authority and analysed entrepreneurs' willingness to report on fraud committed by competitors. Thanks to Van Erp's research, the policies of the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets, the Netherlands Competition Authority and the Dutch Healthcare Authority became more scientific.

Detlef van Vuuren

Professor Dr Detlef van Vuuren is a climate researcher at the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and a Professor by Special Appointment of Integrated Assessment of Global Environmental Change. Van Vuuren is an internationally prominent scientist in the field of global sustainability issues. He develops models that can be used to explore future climate and environmental changes by means of scenarios. In doing so, he accounts for the interaction between climate, environment, everyday surroundings and economy. Van Vuuren worked on the climate scenarios of the IPCC and the climate panel of the United Nations, among other things.

Ingrid Robeyns

Professor Dr Ingrid Robeyns, a Professor of Ethics in Institutions at Utrecht University, does research at the intersection of the analytical political philosophy, ethics, economy and gender studies. She wrote a standard work on justice and is well-known to a broad audience due to her research into political and ethical issues such as those surrounding parental leave, geriatric care, pressure of work and diversity at the university, and the unfairness of top-level incomes. Robeyns had been a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences prior to this and regularly publishes in the Dutch newspaper Trouw.

Pedro Crous

Professor Dr Pedro Crous is a Professor of Fungal Diversity at Utrecht University and the Director of the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute. Crous's motto is "Fungi are the future." Crous is one of the pioneers in the charting and cataloguing of fungi. Among other things, he founded the MycoBank for the univocal registration of fungus names. He also broke ground for a worldwide database of 'bar codes' of fungal DNA. The database is used in agriculture, hospitals and industry. In 2017, Crous launched a project for school children titled: World fame, a fungus with your name. After the children had attended a fungus exposition, they could send ground samples from their own gardens to the Westerdijk Institute. If a new fungus was discovered, it could receive their name. The project is continued nationally.

Christian Lange

Professor Dr Christian Lange, a Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, is one of the most prominent Arabists and Islamologists of his generation. Lange combines the classical textual approach of Islam with insights from sociology, religious science, philosophy and anthropology. Among other things, he wrote a cultural history of Paradise and Hell in Islam. At the university, Lange organises a weekly reading club in which Arabic texts are read and tries to give young researchers from the Middle and Near East a place in Utrecht where they can carry out their research. Lange is a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and wrote the popular-scientific book Mohammed - Perspectieven op de Profeet.