Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences names four Academy Professors

27 April 2010

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) has named top researchers Liesbeth de Vries, Eric Bergshoeff, Michiel van der Klis and Joep Leerssen as Academy Professors.

Each one will receive the sum of one million euros, allowing them to dedicate themselves entirely to innovative research and the supervision of young researchers. They will hold the title of Academy Professor for a five-year period, during which time their universities will excuse them from their administrative obligations.

Liesbeth de Vries (Medical Oncology, University of Groningen) has been named an Academy Professor for her pioneering research within a very broad spectrum of medical oncology. She is a leading international researcher who develops and implements new techniques in both research and patient care.

Eric Bergshoeff (Theoretical Physics, University of Groningen) has made important contributions to scientific breakthroughs in the field of string theory and membranes. He is regarded internationally as an authoritative scientist whose ideas have had a strong influence on his discipline and its development. Bergshoeff has been an innovator throughout his career and his discovery of brane theory has had a lasting impact on theoretical and mathematical physics.

Michiel van der Klis (Astronomy, University of Amsterdam) has been named an Academy Professor for his revolutionary research into X-ray binaries. He is a world leader in the X-ray radiation of compact objects and has formulated an intriguing connection between black holes and neutron stars, the two most extreme objects in the universe. He and his research group also discovered the first X-ray pulsar with a rotation speed of four hundred revolutions per second.

Joep Leerssen (Modern European Literature, University of Amsterdam) has made a unique contribution to the field of European Studies. He investigates concepts related to national identity and is particularly interested in literary sources. Leerssen is an inspiring leader and plays a major role in a highly productive field of research. His book National Thought in Europe established his international reputation.

Academy President Robbert Dijkgraaf will personally congratulate three of the new Academy Professors on Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 April. He will congratulate Michiel van der Klis at the University of Amsterdam on 28 April, commencing at 5.15 p.m., and the two new Academy Professors in Groningen on 29 April, beginning at 4 p.m. His congratulations visit to Joep Leerssen will take place on Tuesday 18 May.