Wetenschap - 26 maart 1998

English Summary

English Summary

English Summary
  • Entomologist Marcel Dicke discovered in the 1980s that bean plants send out SOS-signals when they are attacked by red spider mites. The plants produce an aromatic substance that attracts the natural enemy of the red spider. Currently Dicke and others have discovered that more than twenty plant varieties produce these odours when attacked. His fundamental research can help to improve the biological control of plant diseases, says Dicke. He is now trying to establish which plant hormones and chemical reactions are responsible for the plant alarm systems, in order to help them scream for help instead of whisper. He is cooperating with the laboratory of Organic Chemistry. The research is not easy; the chemists have recently discovered that the insects are more sensitive to specific plant odours than to their expensive equipment
  • Retired professor of Biochemistry, Cees Veeger, has been ordered to leave his room at the university by the Executive Board. Veeger has quarrelled a lot with his successor, Prof. Colja Laane in recent years, which has resulted in an unworkable situation at the laboratory, explains the Board. Veeger is very angry: My successor has made important mistakes, I have reason to criticise him. He is thinking of suing the university, because he still is supervising some PhD students
  • WAU's Executive Board reshuffled the five chairs in Plant Sciences last year and has now judged whether the present chairs are capable of holding the new positions. Only two professors (Rudy Rabbinge and Martin Kropff) come up to the mark, according to the Board's decision last week. The other three (agronomist Paul Struik, horticulturalist Hugo Challa and Eric Goewie of ecological agriculture) will have to move to part-time positions in this field of science. The Board wants to recruit two new professors in Ecological Agriculture and Chain Management. The current professors have agreed to this plan
  • Students who want to volunteer to do development work in Third World countries can apply to the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA). Experience and expertise is not needed; the volunteers should be present as a human being and support the empowerment of people there. The volunteers can bring in western logic, explains the Dutch coordinator of ICA, that has a local office in Wageningen. People in Africa and Latin America tend to work with intuition and feeling and lack the logic to run an organisation. The organisation, who tries to work with a voluntary simple life style, is not well-known among the Dutch NGOs. It's not a sect with a hidden agenda, explains the only NGO-member who knows ICA

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