News 2012

‘In Leiden you feel history is very close’

Leiden alumnus Makoto Yoshida from Japan studied Dutch history and politics from 1996 to 1997. Now he is back in Leiden with his wife who is currently a student at the Faculty of Humanities. Some things still surprise him. 'Everyone at university uses first names, which was - and still is - unacceptable in my country.'


Student perspective on the local area

It is multi-media month for master’s students in Journalism and New Media. This means they are on the streets, armed with pen and paper or tablet, smart phone and camera. In the ‘Leiden Neighbourhoods’ project, master’s students are giving their perspective on local area news for the Leidsch Dagblad, newspaper and online.


Hall of Fame 2012

Prizes, grants, subsidies and honours of all kinds for Leiden University. A selection of the prizewinners from 2012 gives an impression of the impact of Leiden University.


‘Opposition is a good sign’

Philosophy of Science expert Victor Gijsbers is one of the five nominees for the LSr Education Prize, the prize for best lecturer of the year. He uses humour and Lady Gaga, but the message is holy. ‘It’s not supposed to turn into a gimmick.’  


Reading out loud: an app can do it too

Apps are not just fun for children to use; they can also be very useful for language development. Education and Child Studies expert Daisy Smeets did research on the characteristics of picture book apps that help increase the vocabulary of four- and five-year olds without the intervention of a parent or teacher. PhD defence 20 December.


New research on scientific performance

Can you measure the impact of science on society? What are the disadvantages of ever more rankings and scoreboards? And what is the effect of the current culture of evaluation on knowledge? These are some of the central questions posed in the new research programme of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (Centrum voor Wetenschaps- en Technologiestudies (CWTS)).


Prize for Leiden film on Mexican Indian conflict

The film ‘El último consejo’ (The last council) of the Leiden PhD student Itandehui Jansen won the Jury Prize at the international film festival of Viña del Mar in Chile. The jury praised the appealing way in which she brought together fiction and non-fiction.


What language did the Trojans speak?

The Trojan War plays an important role in Greek mythology. But there is much more to Troy than mythology. The exhibition ‘Troy. City. Homer. Turkey’ can be viewed from 7 December to 5 May 2013. Leiden linguist Alwin Kloekhorst wrote an article for the exhibition catalogue on the language of Troy.


The EU and Africa: a helping hand or self-interest?

What are the motives of the European Union for strengthening its ties with Africa? Leiden political scientist Abdurrahim Siradag shows that economic interests play a major role. Worldwide developments also influence the EU's foreign policy. PhD defence 19 December.


'In Leiden it's easy to construct an experience to suit your interests.'

Leiden University student Cynthia Lange from Wisconsin felt ‘like Gulliver in Lilliput’ when she arrived in Leiden. Now she feels very comfortable here and appreciates the small distances, both geographically and between people. ‘The topic for my MA thesis, for instance, is the result of an informal chat with a professor.’


What soy sauce can teach us about the history of South Korea

‘Three books published within a year – that happens only once in a lifetime!’ This was the reaction of Katarzyna Cwiertka, Professor of Modern Japan Studies at Leiden University, on the publication of Cuisine, Colonialism and Cold War, one of her three new books. The book sketches the colonisation of Korea by Japan, through the medium of food.


Sexual and social behaviour modified by serotonin system drugs

Drugs that bind to specific serotonin receptors in the brain can both improve and impair female sexual function in non-human primates. These are the findings of a study conducted by Leiden PhD candidate Yves Aubert and colleagues at the division of Medical Pharmacology of the Leiden Academic Center for Drug Research (LACDR & LUMC). Doctoral defence 11 December.


European universities to work on gender diversity

How to ensure that there are more women in top positions in science? That was the central question of the European Gender Summit of 29 and 30 November in Brussels. Vice-Rector Simone Buitendijk was a keynote speaker and gave the concluding speech.


'Hear this call' for Kofi Annan

A hall full of young people with hope for the future. Young people who are inspired by Kofi Annan at the public event of the HOPE XXL European Conference, where young people from 25 countries are formulating their vision for the future. ‘The cynics are missing out,’ tweets Petra Stienen of the Board of Recommendation.