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December 17th 2018


Michael Wise new Director General at SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research

The NWO board has appointed Dr. Michael Wise as General and Scientific director of SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research. Wise is currently Head of Astronomy at the NWO institute ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. He also holds an adjunct faculty appointment in the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy at the University of Amsterdam. Wise will take up his new position effective 1 January 2019 and lead SRON through an important phase in the coming years including overseeing the relocation of the Utrecht headquarters to the Bio Science Campus at Leiden University.

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NWO invests in innovative infrastructure projects from NWO Institutes ASTRON and Nikhef and in research facility DUBBLE

Last week NWO announced that it awarded seven proposals for innovative research infrastructure within the programme NWO Investment Grant Large, with a total budget of 17.9 million euros. With this programme, NWO funds large research facilities, within which researchers from throughout the Netherlands work together, often with international partners. Three investments are for the NWO Institutes ASTRON and Nikhef: DUPLLO: Digital Upgrade for Premier LOFAR Low-band Observing (ASTRON), Gravitational waves: the new cosmic messengers (Nikhef) en Searching for Ultra-High-Energy Cosmic-Ray Sources using a new Detector Concept in the Pierre Auger Observatory (Nikhef/Radboud University). The Dutch-Belgian research facility DUBBLE - managed by NWO-I - also received an NWO Investment Grant Large: ‘New x-ray fluorescence and absorption spectroscopy capabilities for DUBBLE’.

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Self-folding metamaterial

The more complex the object, the harder it is to fold up. Space satellites often need many small motors to fold up an instrument, and people have difficulty simply folding up a roadmap. Physicists from Leiden University, University of Amsterdam and NWO Institute AMOLF have now designed a structure that folds itself up in several steps.

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National Science Weekend: open days at NWO Institutes

Science Weekend is the leading national event for science and technology! On Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 October companies, research institutes, universities and museums will open their doors. Several NWO institutes will also hold an open day during this weekend.

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Peter Christianen new director HFML

Since 1 September, a new director heads the High Field Magnet Laboratory HFML in Nijmegen: Prof. Peter Christianen. He succeeds Prof. Nigel Hussey who led the lab for five years. HFML generates the strongest continuous magnetic fields in the world and is an international, open-access user facility.

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Westerbork Radio Telescope's major upgrade

With an innovative new type of receiver, called Apertif, the field of view of the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope in the Netherlands has been increased 37 times. Apertif, developed by the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (NWO Institute ASTRON), will be officially opened today, on 13 September 2018 by deputy Cees Bijl of the Drenthe province. Today the 50-year anniversary of the telescope will also be celebrated.

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Almost 500 explosions found in galaxy cores

Apart from a billion Milky Way stars, ESA’s Gaia spacecraft also observes extragalactic objects. Its automated alert system notifies astronomers whenever Gaia spots a transient event. A team of astronomers from NWO Institute SRON have found out that by tweaking the existing automated system, Gaia can be used to detect hundreds of peculiar transients in the centres of galaxies. They found about 480 transients over a period of about a year. Their new method will be implemented in the system as soon as possible allowing astronomers to determine the nature of these events. The findings will be published in the November issue of MNRAS.

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You cannot see whether a suspect is lying

Many people think it is possible to see whether a person is lying. This applies to both professionals and lay people. Sometimes even the police think they can see whether a suspect is lying during a hearing. However, research by NWO Institute NSCR has revealed that people pay attention to the wrong details and that non-verbal behaviour is open to a wide range of interpretations. The vast majority of non-verbal behaviours are not indicative of lying.
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Dutch technology for direct exoplanet observation tested in space

On the evening of August 25th in Timmins (Canada), a balloon was launched to 37 km altitude with on board Dutch technology for future direct imaging of exoplanets. The so-called coronagraph is part of the HiCIBaS instrument. The test mission had a three-week launch window and finally received the go-ahead at the end of this period, after ongoing strong winds.

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Noise in the biorhythm

Biological clocks respond differently to light fluctuations

Anybody who has experienced jet lag knows the power of the biological clock. Almost all organisms, from humans to the smallest of bacteria, have a built-in system that tells them whether it is time to rest or to be active. Most biological clocks 'tick' autonomously, but some bacteria depend on light to synchronize their clock every day. Using mathematical calculations, researchers from AMOLF and the University of Michigan have now demonstrated that an autonomous clock suffers far less from noise, such as fluctuations in sunlight due to clouds. The research results were published online on 14 August 2018 in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.


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