Many scientists have no idea what valorisation is

Scientists, and not only those in the social sciences and humanities, think that valorisation is mainly about economic profit. This is what Stefan de Jong writes in his PhD dissertation. His advice: spread knowledge about valorisation; that way it’s facts that determine the valorisation debate, and not anecdotes and gut feelings. PhD defence on 10 September.

Cost-effective catalyst converts CO2 into natural gas

A discovery made in Leiden helps not only to make natural gas from CO2 but also to store renewable energy. Research by Professor Marc Koper and PhD student Jing Shen shows how this process can be implemented in a cost-effective and controllable way. Nature Communications, 2 september 2015.

Leiden based research confirms systematic and excessive violence in Indonesia

New research has confirmed that the Dutch military used systematic, extreme violence against Indonesians. In his book Soldaat in Indonesië (Soldier in Indonesia), to be released at the end of October, historian Gert Oostindie draws the same conclusions using different sources. He presents new findings and explains what motivated the soldiers.

Evolution peaks on tropical mountain in Borneo

A group of scientists that includes biologists from Leiden have discovered 160 previously unknown species of plants and animals on Mount Kinabalu in Borneo. Some of these species have proved to be relatively young. The discoveries of the expedition of the Naturalis Biodiversity Center were published on 12 August in Nature.

Fat-free mayonnaise thanks to manipulation of surface tension

Aqueous solutions of proteins and carbohydrates separate into two parts with an extremely ‘soft’ boundary surface. The surface tension between these two parts can be manipulated, for example by adjusting the pH balance. This can be used to develop emulsions of a water-based solution in another aqueous solution, such as fat-free mayonnaise. Leiden researchers were involved in the investigation. Physical Review Letters, 6 August 2015.

A mathematical model for a more diverse workforce

Many organisations have a biased workforce, even though diversity has so many advantages. Australian and Dutch researchers, including Leiden psychologist Romy van der Lee, have developed a solution based on a mathematical model. They published their findings in PLoS One on 28 July.

Unique mosaic floor discovered in Israel

A marvelous mosaic synagogue floor has been discovered at the Israeli excavation site of Horvat Kur. The timeworn stones of the mosaic clearly form the name ‘El’azar’. Leiden University researcher Jürgen Zangenberg and a group of Leiden students played a role in the excavation. ‘El’azar was likely an important inhabitant of the region between the 4th and 7th century.  

Astronomers destroy former record for most distant galaxy

An international team of astronomers that includes researchers from Leiden has discovered the most distant galaxy yet. The galaxy, called EGS8p7, is 13.23 billion light years away from Earth and already existed when the universe was only 550 million years old.

New insights into the production of antibiotics by bacteria

Bacteria use antibiotics as a weapon and even produce more antibiotics if there are competing strains nearby. This is a fundamental insight that can help find new antibiotics. Leiden scientists Daniel Rozen and Gilles van Wezel published their research results in the authoritative Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA on 28 July 2015.

Graphene supercurrents go ballistic

Scientists at TU Delft and Leiden University have observed supercurrents in graphene that bounce back and forth between the edges of the graphene without scattering along the way.

‘The first quantum computer will fill a sports hall’

The worldwide race to the quantum computer is in full swing . This computer can bring about a breakthrough in discovering medicines and new materials. Leiden researchers, together with the TU Delft, are taking part in the race. There is now a dossier online about their work.  

14 Veni grants awarded to Leiden researchers

Fourteen promising researchers from Leiden University have been given the opportunity to realise their research plans for the coming years thanks to a Veni grant from the NWO. This year, these subsidies have been granted to studies of the influence of noise on the great tit, the conditions necessary for the evolution of life on planets, architecture in Paris and London, itching, and the role receptors play in the growth of cancer, among others.

Research shows protein movement is important

Researchers led by Professor of Chemistry Marcellus Ubbink have recently published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) about the dynamics of an important redox enzyme. This work was accomplished thanks to an NWO VICI subsidy granted to Professor Ubbink.

Drug development: how can we make it more efficient?

It takes years to develop new medicines, from the test tube to trials in humans. During the process it often happens that a drug that seems promising in the initial stage has to be dropped in a later phase. This costs time and money. Leiden University and the LUMC are working closely together to make the process more efficient.

Astronomers make invisible dark matter visible

An international team of astronomers, including Professor Koen Kuijken, has published a series of online articles presenting the first results of a major search for dark matter. Never before have researchers been able to chart so precisely the characteristics of groups of galaxies and their dark matter. The results will appear in different journals over the coming period.

Ionica Smeets Professor of Science Communication at Leiden University

Dr Ionica Smeets, one of the well-known ‘Maths girls’, has been appointed part-time Professor of Science Communication at Leiden University with effect from 1 July. Over the coming five years she will carry out research on science communication, how the subject is taught and how to raise students’ enthusiasm for the subject.

New measuring method facilitates drug research

Leiden chemical biologists led by Dr Mario van der Stelt have developed a method to facilitate the search for new drugs. This method has allowed them to take an important first step in the development of a drug against obesity.

Suing the United Nations: is that possible?

Public international law (often known as the law of nations) is increasingly facing new issues as a result of continued globalization. Can an individual take the United Nations to court? How can states keep basic human rights in mind in international trade agreements? An online dossier has just launched to show how researchers from Leiden contribute to finding answers for these issues.