The university paper asked its Dutch readers whether they are satisfied with the WUB. Nearly five hundred of them filled in a questionnaire. Most of them read the paper in fifteen minutes and focus on the special pages, while others read the paper more extensively and spend more than twenty minutes screening the articles and news items. The average quality score for the WUB is 7.1 on a scale of ten. The WUB received all sorts of ideas for improving the newspaper and will take a closer look at them.
The WUB questionnaire was not sent to MSc and PhD students, because it was in Dutch. However, we'd really welcome your comments on the English Wisp'r page and the English announcements elsewhere in the paper, marked with the letter E. If you are interested, please contact the WUB and ask for Albert Sikkema. We'd also like to organise a meeting to discuss the paper in the new ISOW clubhouse for the foreign students at Duivendaal.
More and more biologists study complex systems which devolve into a state of chaotic behaviour. The Dutch research funding organisation NWO will start a new programme on Biocomplexity, to study emerging properties of biological systems which cannot be explained by determination. Microbiologist Dr H.V. Westerveld from the University of Amsterdam found that biological cells are not governed by DNA in a deterministic way. He describes the cells as democratic systems, with feedback from the shop floor and several management levels within the cell. Five WAU departments will start a thesis course in Theoretical biology, in order to describe biological systems using non-linear mathematics. Everything of interest behaves in a non-linear fashion," says mathematics professor J. Grasman.
Some lecturers find it difficult to capture the attention of the current MTV generation of students. If the students are not interested in the presentation of the subject, they start to do something else, like chatting with each other," says Dr J. Tramper, who livens up his course with cartoons, slides and practical examples, featuring Saint Nicolas and his grandma. Entertaining the students is also one of objectives of the new entomological course Insects and society. We want to attract students from other programmes", says lecturer Dr A. van Huis. Dr J. Grasman tried an American example, brightening up his course with a quiz, but it was not a success: American students are more competitive than the Dutch ones."