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20 maart 2007
The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) has selected five new Academy Professors this year.
They are Professor J.M. ten Cate (Dentistry, University of Amsterdam), Professor H.W. Lenstra (Mathematics, Leiden University), Professor P.C. Muysken (Linguistics, Radboud University Nijmegen), Professor J. Oerlemans (Meteorology, University Utrecht) en Professor D.S. Postma (Medicine, University of Groningen). As Academy Professors they will be able to devote themselves full-time to innovative research and the supervision of young researchers. Academy Professors are released by their universities from administrative obligations. The Academy professorship is being awarded for a period of five years. For each Academy Professor the KNAW is making EUR 1 million available for this purpose.
University of Amsterdam
Professor of Experimental Preventive Dentistry
From the jury report:
'Professor Bob ten Cate has been awarded an Academy Professorship for his contributions in the field of preventive dentistry. Ten Cate, originally trained as a chemist, was one of the first to map out the mechanisms behind the use of fluoride in fighting tooth decay; the process of slowing down demineralisation and accelerating remineralisation. Ten Cate used physical chemistry in his studies and produced his findings by building an in vitro model of the oral cavity and thereby reproducing the processes taking place within it. This approach meant that he also shifted the paradigm of optimal fluoride treatments, which had far reaching implications for preventive dentistry strategies.This contribution constituted one of the most important discoveries in preventive dental medicine, as it has done much to reduce tooth decay in the population. Ten Cate has an excellent track record in attracting young researchers, as well as in obtaining research funds, both public and private. His articles appear frequently in leading journals and he is held in high regard by his most respected international peers. His extraordinary ability to view problems from a variety of perspectives points to a highly successful future research programme.'
Professor of Fundamental and Applied Mathematics
From the jury report:
'Professor Hendrik Lenstra has been awarded an Academy Professorship for his contributions in the field bridging pure and applied mathematics. He created efficient algorithms widely used in the data security industry and cryptography. His first major breakthrough came in 1982 when he, his brother Arjen Lenstra, and Laszlo Lovasz published their pioneering work on the lattice basis reduction method, which later became universally known as "the LLL algorithm". This method had an array of spectacular applications. Another unique contribution is Lenstra's 1985 work on factoring arbitrarily large integers using elliptic curves over finite fields. The idea of using sophisticated algebraic geometry over finite fields rapidly influenced others. At the same time, Lenstra applied his deep algebraic and algorithmic intuition to the discovery of new number-theoretic phenomena. The celebrated and challenging "Cohen-Lenstra heuristics" on the behaviour of class numbers of imaginary quadratic fields can be mentioned in this respect. Lenstra has published in leading mathematical journals, and his enthusiasm, together with his sound and satisfying training methods, attract many students. Lenstra also invests his time in outreach; he sees the value of informing a wider public about mathematics. His peers have high expectations of his future work. The continuing transfer of fundamental mathematics into applications, particularly in information processing, constitutes the essence of Lenstra's vision of the future of his field.'
Radboud University Nijmegen
Professor of General Linguistics
From the jury report:
'Professor Pieter Muysken has been awarded an Academy Professorship for his contributions in the field of linguistics, especially on language contact, bilingualism, Creole studies, and the documentation of endangered languages. His contributions reflect his special ability to bring the insights of a theoretical linguist to bear on phenomena of central importance to applied linguistics. He has done much to bring these approaches together, making the Netherlands a centre of theoretically informed work on language contact. Muysken put psycholinguistic aspects of bilingualism on the research agenda with an influential formal model of the brain's processing of code-switching. He has made major breakthroughs in Creole studies by bringing theoretical syntax to bear on the structure of Creole grammar. He described the first known case of a language exhibiting "relexification", in which a community with two languages created "a third", reflecting their special dual identity. He has contributed greatly to the documentation of the languages of Bolivia, and has trained a large part of the next generation working on those languages. He has been highly and consistently productive in research, publishing in leading journals and much in demand for contributions to encyclopaedias, reference works and international conferences. He has been outstanding in obtaining funding and attracting and inspiring young researchers. He has been notably supportive of scholars from Surinam, the Antilles, and the rest of the Caribbean. His new research direction in the psycholinguistics of bilingualism is exciting and innovative.'
Professor of Meteorology
From the jury report:
'Professor Hans Oerlemans has been awarded an Academy Professorship for his contributions to the field of climate studies, especially concerning interactions of ice with the surrounding climate. He has distinguished himself by his unique approach of feeding models of glaciers with data from glacio-meteorological experiments, in order to describe more accurately the complex processes of the mass and energy exchange at the ice-atmosphere boundary. Oerlemans showed how the response of glaciers to changing climate may be used to extract a global temperature signal from glacier length records by means of inverse modelling. He is one of the most productive scholars in the field, and his papers illustrate the breadth and usefulness of his work, which is both original and creative. In this international field of growing importance, he has improved the status of Dutch scientists considerably. He has been very successful in obtaining both Dutch and European funding. His energetic training of PhD students has also led to long-term contributions to the field, as a number of his PhD students quickly rose to professorship level.'