New fund for young talent in Leiden and the Antilles
Leiden astronomy professors Ewine van Dishoeck, winner of the Kavli prize 2018, and Tim de Zeeuw, former Director General of the European Southern Observatory, have set up a Named Fund to stimulate young talent in science, both at Leiden University and in the Netherlands Antilles. The couple recently put their signature on the Van Dishoeck-de Zeeuw Fund.
Young Star award
An important part of the fund’s ambition is the establishment of a new prize: the Young Star Award for the best bachelor’s student at the Faculty of Science. On January 7, the student Maite Boden was honoured as the first Young Star at the faculty’s New Year’s reception. The jury was impressed by the academic quality of her thesis and her motivation to share knowledge.
Maite completed her bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy in 2019 and participated in the calibration of a neutrino telescope in the Mediterranean Sea. In her bachelor’s thesis, she demonstrated that the required accuracy can be achieved by using a background signal, making a significant contribution to a precise and very complex measurement setup that should generate more knowledge about the famous ghost particle, the neutrino. The Young Star Award is awarded annually and includes a cash prize of €2,500, which is to be used in part for study-related activities that allow the student to further develop as a scientist.
“It is important to highlight and encourage young people’s special achievements.”
“It is important to highlight and stimulate young people’s special achievements by means of a prize. That is already happening for PhD students and young staff, but not for the heart of the faculty: the stars among the young students,” say the two donors, professors Van Dishoeck and De Zeeuw. “We owe a lot to Leiden University, and it seemed appropriate to set up a fund that could support various activities for young people. It was a pleasure to be able to award the prize to Maite Boden on January 7. She set the bar very high.”
In addition, knowledge sharing with colleagues at home and abroad is important for the development of every academic. To stimulate this, the Van Dishoeck-de Zeeuw fund also makes an annual lecture in Leiden by a renowned young astronomer possible.
Ambitions outside of Leiden
With its Old Observatory, internationally renowned top scientists, and one of the few bachelor’s programmes in the world focused on the full breadth of the field, there are many opportunities in Leiden to introduce young talent to astronomy and foster their interest. With a mobile planetarium on St. Eustatius and eventually an outreach and education program in the Netherlands Antilles, the donors also hope to involve children and young people in this part of our kingdom with the fascinating world of the universe and inspire them to explore the sciences and technology.
Header photo: From left to right Prof. Carel Stolker (Rector Magnificus), Juliette Nieuwland (LUF), Prof. Ewine van Dishoeck, Eline Danker (director of LUF), and Prof. Tim de Zeeuw.
Perhaps you are considering setting up a Named Fund yourself or making a contribution to an existing fund. For more information, please contact Juliette Nieuwland either by email at j.m.m.nieuwland@LUF.leidenuniv.nl or by phone at 071 527 3327.