Wetenschap - 20 september 2001

English summary

The recent unannounced rise in the price of coffee in the university canteens and the closure of one of these have been reversed.

Coffee prices have been restored to their previous level and the canteen in 'De Hucht' will once more open at lunchtime. Revenues from the university canteens have fallen, to the extent that they are now 40 percent of the prognosis for this year while costs have risen. According to Facilities Management the university catering services will be privatised in about six months from now, but changes will be announced well in advance.

Wageningen University has succeeded in luring back one of its top researchers from Princeton in the US.

Dr Remko Uijlenhoet has been awarded 1.5 million guilders from the 'Innovation Impulse Programme' (Vernieuwingsimpuls-programma) to carry out research in the Sub-department of Water Resources. The research money comes from a joint initiative of the Ministry of Education, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Association of Dutch Universities (VSNU) and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), aimed at stimulating outstanding researchers. Uijlenhoet can use the funding to set out his own line of research for the coming five years. His field of interest: rainfall. "I like to look at everyday phenomena in a fundamental way. Rain is a wonderful example. Everyone knows that rain consists of drops, but very little is known about how these are organised in time and space." Uijlenhoet is looking forward to starting, and especially to using the latest radar equipment at the University of Delft.

In our efforts to save the environment there has been a trend towards using milder cleaning products and energy-saving washing machines and dishwashers in the home.

Wageningen researcher Professor Paul Terpstra of the Consumer Technology and Product Use Group has warned however that saving the environment in this way also leads to savings in bacteria. In a recently published article in the American Journal of Infection Control Terpstra argues that fewer micro-organisms are destroyed with modern cleaning techniques, which often involve the use of less water at lower temperatures. Whether these trends mean that we are sick more often is not yet known. Terpstra is a member of Cenelec, a European committee which designs the tests that manufacturers must perform on their machines. Terpstra: "These tests examine energy saving, safety and environment-friendliness, but not hygiene. This aspect should also be introduced."

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