Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences names ten new Young Academy members

17 November 2009

Ten new members will soon join the Young Academy. They are researchers working in a variety of disciplines who have been selected for their scientific achievements and received their doctorates less than ten years ago.

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences set up the Young Academy in 2005 in order to foster communication between young researchers working in different disciplines. The Young Academy is an independent organisation within the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). It organises interdisciplinary conferences, expresses opinions on various social and political issues, and works to generate public enthusiasm for science.
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>The new members are:
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>Dr Arianna Betti (history and philosophy of logic, VU University Amsterdam)
>Arianna Betti (1970) studies the relationship between language and the world, in particular 19th- and 20th-century philosophy in Central Europe. Ms Betti has built up an impressive international network and excels at linking specialist subjects to broad, general insights. In 2008 she received a starting grant from the European Research Council (ERC).
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>Dr Bé Breij<b> (Greek and Latin language and culture, Radboud University Nijmegen)
>Bé Breij (1972) has rapidly evolved into an internationally respected and highly productive researcher. In 2008 she received a VENI grant. Her research is interdisciplinary: she uses rhetorical texts from a specific literary context as a resource for studying the social and cultural problems of the Roman Empire. This is an innovative and highly successful research strategy. Bé Breij is working to alleviate the shortage of classical language instructors by teaching lateral entrants.
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>Dr Tamara van Gog<b> (educational psychology, Erasmus University Rotterdam)
>Tamara van Gog (1979) conducts research at the interface of educational psychology, cognitive psychology and neuroscience. She is an exceptionally productive scientist and her research is innovative. She has, for example, developed a new method for revealing cognitive processes and applies insights gained in the neurosciences in educational research.
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>Professor Holger Gzella<b> (Hebrew and Aramaic language and literature, Leiden University)
>Holger Gzella (1974) is an expert on Old Testament languages and has worked at top universities and institutions abroad. His research, which focuses on the linguistic evolution of pre-modern Hebrew, contributes to a better understanding of Biblical texts and is intended to develop a new historical grammar of Hebrew. Holger Gzella also studies the historical grammar of Aramaic.
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>Dr Ronald Hanson<b> (quantum nanoscientist, Delft University of Technology)
>Ronald Hanson (1976) is a pioneer in quantum information technology. During his doctoral research, he locked individual electrons into semi-conductor structures of his own design and manipulated them. He then launched a line of research into special defects in diamond; this later evolved into a highly active area of research. More recently, he developed a technique for picking up and positioning diamond nanoparticles with nanometric precision. Ronald Hanson has published four articles in Nature and Science.
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>Dr Joost Hoenderop<b> (physiology, Radboud University Nijmegen)
>Our kidneys prevent our bodies from eliminating valuable calcium in our urine. Joost Hoenderop (1969) was the first to discover that pores in kidney cells -known as calcium channels- return calcium to the body. He currently heads an international research group within the Physiology Department at Radboud University Medical Centre. In 2006 he received the prestigious European Young Investigator Award (EURYI) and has been awarded grants by the Kidney Foundation and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. In addition to working with geneticists and nephrologists, he will be joining other researchers in a national consortium to develop a "BioKidney" in the lab.
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>Professor Ingrid Robeyns<b> (practical philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam)
>Ingrid Robeyns (1972) is the most frequently cited practical philosopher working in the Netherlands today. Her research is positioned at the interface of analytical political philosophy, ethics, economics and gender studies. Her impressive list of publications includes several articles now regarded as influential. Her theoretical work on justice is innovative because it raises new issues, for example justice between parents and non-parents, and because she also studies immaterial justice.
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>Dr Bettina Speckmann<b> (information science, Eindhoven University of Technology)
>Bettina Speckmann (1972) works at the interface of mathematics, information science and cartography. Her background is in geometric algorithms, an area of research that concerns abstract quantifiable calculations. She specialises in applying geometrical algorithms in cartography and geographical analysis. She plays a leading role in a European interdisciplinary project involving the analysis and visualisation of objects moving in space, such as birds, pedestrians and vehicles. Bettina Speckmann has worked in four different countries, giving her a broad perspective on science and university structures.
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>Dr Dolf Weijers<b> (biochemistry, Wageningen University and Research Centre)
>Dolf Weijers (1976) investigates how different cell types are created in plant embryos and how they communicate with one another in order to make a functional organ. He combines genetics, molecular biology, genome research and biochemistry in his research. Many of his scientific articles have been published in prestigious journals. In 2006 he received a VIDI grant and was awarded the prize for talented young researcher by the Netherlands Association for Molecular Biology and Biochemistry.
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>Dr Ysbrand van der Werf<b> (cognitive neuroscience, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience NIN-KNAW and VU University Medical Centre)
>Ysbrand van der Werf (1971) uses his research to bridge the gap between fundamental and applied science. He has developed two lines of research at NIN-KNAW and the VUMC: one on sleep and sleep disorders and the other on cognitive disorders in Parkinson patients. He recently discovered that when subjects observe a motor skill that they wish to learn right before going to sleep, their performance in that skill improves the following day.
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>A special committee of Young Academy and Royal Academy members selects ten new Young Academy members every year. The candidates are selected for their research excellence, interdisciplinary approach, and broad interest in science. Young Academy members step down after five years. The first generation of Young Academy members will be resigning on 1 April 2010. After the new members join, the Young Academy will have a membership of fifty.
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>The official inauguration of the new Young Academy members will take place on Thursday 18 March 2010 at the Trippenhuis Building, the Royal Academy's headquarters in Amsterdam. The Young Academy will also be celebrating its fifth anniversary on that date. For more information about the Young Academy's activities, visit Young Academy website.<br/>