News 2013

Lonely planet discovered

An international team of astronomers, including Tiffany Meshkat and Matthew Kenworthy from Leiden University, have discovered a gigantic exoplanet. The planet revolves around its star at nearly 650 times the distance between the earth and the sun, which makes this planet a record-holder. The researchers are publishing their discovery in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.


Nelson Mandela’s honorary doctorate

Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, who died on 5 december 2013, received an honorary doctorate from Leiden University in 1999. Mandela’s response was modest: ‘It is not a personal achievement. It is a tribute to all those who emerged from underground, from prison, from exile...’


Mandela symbolised reconciliation

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Madiba, honorary doctor of Leiden university, was one of the iconic politicians of the late twentieth century. Mandela has died at the age of 95. Analysis by Robert Ross, Professor in African history.


LeidenGlobal: taking a world view

Eight organisations from Leiden, including Leiden University, have joined forces to share their knowledge of the world with other interested people. The launch of LeidenGlobal took place on 27 November 2013.


Leiden aims to be the Innovation capital of Europe

On 3 December, the municipality of Leiden submitted its candidacy for the title of ‘iCapital’, Innovation Capital of Europe. This title will go to the city with the best innovation climate, bringing together citizens, government organisations, educational institutions and the corporate world.


Verbal abuse does hurt

Emotional child abuse has negative effects on cognition and the structure and functioning of the brain, as Leiden PhD-student Anne-Laura van Harmelen has discovered. Her PhD defence is on 10th of December.


Need inspiration? Let’s get physical!

People who exercise regularly are better at creative thinking. This is the outcome of research by Leiden cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato. She published an article on this subject in the scientific magazine Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.


Merian Prize gives talented women researchers a chance

Leiden archaeologist Corinne Hofman has been awarded the Merian Prize intended to stimulate and motivate women researchers. The prize will be presented on 21 November. The first Merian Prize, in 2009, was also awarded to a Leiden researcher, psychologist Naomi Ellemers. What does one do with 50,000 euros?


Developing a vaccine against arteriosclerosis

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death across the world. Professor Johan Kuiper of Leiden University carries out research to develop a vaccine for arteriosclerosis, which is the main cause of cardiovascular diseases. With the aid of a European research grant of six million euros he is set to work together with European medical centres and companies to develop and subsequently test the vaccine in a clinical trial.


Warm welcome for Leiden's adventurous international students

A meet & greet in Leiden's town hall with Mayor Henri Lenferink, and a valuable certificate. This is how Leiden University and the municipality welcomed these new international students and PhD candidates to Leiden. The students were pleasantly surprised: 'Our mayor is much more formal.'


Diversity getting the attention it deserves

Students, administrators and staff members attended the Leiden symposium on ‘Excellence through diversity’ on Thursday 7 November. Lectures, speed-dating and workshops exemplified the essential contribution of diversity and inclusivity to science. ‘We are ready to meet the challenge of assessing individuals objectively so that we don’t let talent go to waste.’


Leiden methods speed up search for extraterrestrial life

Astronomer Ignas Snellen investigates the atmospheres of exoplanets, with the final goal of finding signs of life. This is becoming easier thanks to the ever more effective measuring methods of his research group. ‘Within ten years it’s going to get really exciting.’ Inaugural lecture on 8 November.


Leiden Classics: Cleveringa’s protest

On 26 November 1940 Professor Cleveringa held his courageous speech protesting against the dismissal of his Jewish colleague, Professor Meijers. Cleveringa was arrested and the university was closed. Every year the university honours Cleveringa with a chair and meetings throughout the world.


Rewriting Caribbean history with local archaeologists

More than fifty researchers are working together to describe the colonisation of the Americas from the Amerindian perspective. In November they will be meeting for the first time, in Leiden. How is Corinne Hofman, Leiden Professor of Archaeology managing the international megaproject Nexus 1492?