Nieuws - 7 juni 2011

No Spinoza for Wageningen this year

The winners of this year’s Spinoza prizes have just been announced. Two natural science and one social science researchers will each receive 2.5 million euros for research.

The Spinoza prize awarded by research funder NWO has been called the Nobel Prize of the Netherlands. The prize goes to some of the most highly regarded scientists in the Netherlands. The prize came to Wageningen in 2007, 2008 and 2009, with Marcel Dicke, Willem de Vos and Marten Scheffer as laureates. A remarkable run after 15 years in which the honour had not once gone to a Wageningen researcher.

This year the prize has been awarded to astrophysicist Heino Falcke from the University of Amsterdam, communication scientist Patti Valkenburg (UvA again) and theoretical physicist Erik Velinde from the Radboud University of Nijmegen.
Patti Valkenburg is the 11 th woman to receive the Spinoza Prize. Previous winners have included former minister Ronald Plasterk (a biologist), KNAW chair Robbert Dijkgraaf (a physicist) and Dutch scholar Frits van Oostrum.
Candidates for the prize are proposed by the rector magnificus of a university or by one of the chairs of the Humanities & Social Sciences division and the Sciences division at the KNAW. The advisory board of the KNAW, the Dutch Academy of Technology and Innovation, the National Network of Women Professors and the NWO subject boards are also allowed to make suggestions.

The prize was named after the great Dutch Renaissance thinker Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677). It was awarded this year for the 17th time.