Scientists have suggested that aeroplanes play an important role in contributing to the greenhouse effect. When planes fly at high altitudes the ozone is broken down, and at lower altitudes ozone is produced through the emission of nitrogen compounds. However, doubt has been cast on this conclusion by new research from the Department of Air Pollution at WAU. Professor Lelyveld, cooperating with Nobel prizewinner Dr P. Crutzen in this research, comments: One cannot point a finger at aeroplanes so easily. We found that the contribution of aeroplanes to the formation of ozone is only 0.4%, and not 4% as was originally believed. The concentration of nitrogen compounds in the air is high though. We need to know more about the processes going on in the stratosphere."
The national debate on the future of Dutch agriculture has come to an end after one and a half years. The organising committee, which was reluctant to present a future vision and merely played a logistic role, did not present any conclusions during the last session. Its approach of widening the discussion to non-agrarian actors and enabling farmers to find regional solutions has paid off, some critics say. Others think that the leading managers in the committee should have made their views explicit and should sign a social contract in which they commit themselves as executives to challenge the economic and environmental problems in Dutch agriculture.
WAU intends to connect three hundred student rooms to its computer network. Using the TV-cable systems for this purpose is technically easy, but the university needs the cooperation of the cable company and student housing association. This means that the execution of the plan will take a little longer than expected, the initiators explain.
The University has appointed 35 new professors in the past seven years. Four of them are women, which brings the total number of female professors to seven, or approximately seven percent. This is twice as high as the national university average, but still doesn't meet the goal of reflecting the gender composition of university staff: thirty percent of all staff are women. About two-thirds of the newly appointed professors have come from other universities. Eight foreigners have been appointed to a chair during the past seven years: four from England, two Americans and two Germans.
The WAU forestry programme is broadening its scope. While previously concentrating on the growth and management of forests only, it will now focus on the conservation of natural resources, the chairman of the course, H.H. Bartelink, explains. One cannot separate forestry management from nature conservation any more." Employees and other departments of the university have urged the foresters to limit the number of courses in the new programme, because employment possibilities in this field of science are so bad.