Wetenschap - 10 april 1997

English Summary

English Summary

English Summary
  • One of the leading paper factories in the Netherlands, Parenco, is situated in the town of Renkum near Wageningen. The company has seven hundred employees, and produces four hundred thousand tons of paper a year. Eighty percent of the paper is recycled, but the company's recycling process uses too much energy and water: six billion litres a year. The WAU Department of Environmental Sciences is now investigating whether it is possible to clean the waste water using biological methods. The problem is that the optimal temperature for the paper processing is 60oC, whereas the bacteria used for biological cleaning will not function at temperatures higher than 40oC. Lowering and raising the temperature of the water again - which is used fifty times before it is discharged into the Rhine - costs a lot of energy and money. The department will investigate whether it is possible to carry out biological cleaning at high temperatures
  • WAU and the DLO Institute for Agricultural Research have taken the first concrete step towards integration. The departments of geographical information systems and remote sensing of both organisations are to merge. The new centre for expertise will be located in the DLO Staring Centre and will be headed by a programme director, who will also be a part-time professor. Moreover, WAU and DLO are to finance a joint chair for Landuse Planning and are also considering a joint chair for Forestry
  • The engineering degree courses of Horticulture and Crop Science merged last year, after potential employers complained to the two programmes that they were dissatisfied with the standard of graduate offered: superficial specialists who produce no added value for our organisation. The employers requested a complete merger of the Plant Science courses in order to produce graduates who can communicate with other specialists at the level of plants, agricultural companies and the entire sector. The programme committee has now changed the old programmes considerably - It's annoying to have to tell a department that its course is not needed any more - and has started cooperation with the social-economic departments of the university, also for financial reasons. Tinkering with plants is less important in the new programme
  • Mathematics education in the Third World needs improvement, according to the essays written by several MSc and PhD students from WAU for the 32nd Dutch Mathematics Congress in Wageningen. Some lecturers from Dutch universities want to use their theoretical and practical expertise to adjust Western Maths education to the local culture of developing countries, facing debt crisis and cutbacks in expenditure. The quantification of data is increasing, explained a lecturer from the University of Utrecht. When people don't know how to use figures, they can be easily cheated.

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