News - October 28, 2010

Wageningen wins Annual Academic Prize

Wageningen University has won the Annual Academic Prize a second time. 'Flight artists', the project of David Lentink and his team, beat the entry from the Genenkrakers from Groningen in the finals.

The prize brings with it an award of 100,000 euros. Lentink wants to use this to buy twenty high-speed cameras to study flight behaviour. The unusual thing will be that instead of scientists, ordinary people will do the filming. The aim is to capture images of flying birds and insects. This will not only result in spectacular images, but could also inspire scientists to come up with new ideas.
DNA museum
The Wageningen team was pitted against the team from Groningen University during the finals. The latter wants to work together with Dutch Railways and Prorail to convert a number of train carriages into moving DNA museums. They call this the 'LifeLineExpress'. The rails are a metaphor for the double helix, the structure of DNA in nature. The train would cover every university city in the Netherlands and stay in each for a few days.
Both teams were chosen out of five finalists by a panel of judges. These two were given the chance to make their presentations again in a packed Aalmarkt Hall in Leiden. The Wageningen team clearly did better than the Groningen team. Lentink and his team mates put up a continuous theatrical performance, with beautiful images of flight art in the background. All that the Groningen team had was an embellished DNA lecture.
Vroege Vogels
Flight Artists won too with very detailed plans on how to spread the film images to the world. For example, there will be an exhibition in the Nemo science museum. Natuurkalendar will place the images on its website. There will be a special film festival. The TV programme 'Vroege Vogels' will give extensive coverage to this project.