News 2011

Dozing while at work

Of Dutch people with paid employment, more than 20% fall asleep at their desks. This is one of the findings of a national survey on sleep and work carried out by researchers at Leiden University. The researchers call for more information on this issue and preventive measures.


New international research group challenges thinking on African regimes

Two ground-breaking international research programmes have launched a new collaboration to explore the policies and governance conditions that are needed if Africa is to match the economic and social achievements of Southeast Asia. David Henley, Professor of Contemporary Indonesia Studies in Leiden, is one of the programme leaders.


Persian New Year in Leiden

The Persian New Year has begun: on Tuesday 20 March at 06:14:22 to be precise. In Turkish this is called Nowrûz, which literally means 'new day'. New Year is celebrated in large parts of the Near and Middle East, and - thanks to the Shehrezade study association - also in Leiden.


Professor Jan Wijbrans brings Geology back to Leiden

The origin of life on earth. This is one of the questions that Jan Wijbrans, Extraordinary Professor of Geology, will be addressing in his new role. For the first time since the 1980s, Geology will again be taught in Leiden. Inaugural lecture: 19 March.


New visiting professorship on Georgia for Leiden

Leiden University is to have a visiting professorship in Georgian Languages, Cultures and Society. The official kick-off, organised in collaboration with the Georgian Embassy, will be held on Friday 23 March. One of the dignitaries present will be Sandra Roelofs, first lady of Georgia, who will be a member of the board of the professorship.


'In San Francisco only top marks are good enough'

Leiden students Anne van Es and Marije Verplanke are spending a term at Hastings College of the Law, University of California, in San Francisco. Anne is a third-year student of Criminology and Marije completed her bachelor's in Law last year.


In search of the frontier between sound and language

Comparison between babies and song-birds when they are learning a non-existent language—a study of this kind has never been tried before. But this is what Claartje Levelt, Carel ten Cate (Leiden University) and Jelle Zuidema (University of Amsterdam) are attempting.


Rare astronomical discovery: an ancient metropolis in the distant universe

An international team of astronomers has found a substantial cluster of mature red galaxies in the early universe. The cluster is located 10.5 billion light-years from the earth, and is  the most distant ever to be observed. This concentration of galaxies offers a glimpse of one of the most densely populated areas in the early universe. The results will shortly be published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.


Snorkeling for study credits in 'unique Honours Class'

A new Honours Class allows exceptional students to do research in Normandy into the origins of life. What is especially extraordinary is that the Honours Class is the product of a collaboration between the universities of Leiden, Utrecht and Amsterdam, and two museums. Dr Rinny Kooi of the Institute of Biology Leiden calls the class ‘unique’.


Medieval waste matter found in Leiden University Library

Erik Kwakkel, researcher at the Faculty of Humanities, has found an extraordinary manuscript in the University Library’s extensive collection of medieval books. The book in question dates back to the first half of the eleventh century and is made entirely out of waste left over from the production of parchment from animal hide. The manuscript shows that people were already interested in economising in the Middle Ages!


Studying the mystery of the eel

‘The last 30 years have been bad for the European eel. The population has decreased by more than 90 percent. The precise cause of this decrease is unknown,’ says Dr Christian Tudorache. He is studying the physiological and ecological circumstances this animal has to deal with as it migrates to spawn.


China: custom anthropological solution for a world power

Global versus local, democracy versus dictatorship, tradition versus modernisation: such contrasts make it difficult for anthropologists. They look in detail at what really happens and can therefore add some nuance to blueprints and debates, is what Frank Pieke, Professor in Modern China Studies, will argue in his inaugural speech on 2 March.


LUMC specialists discuss obesity, migraine and cancer

Did you know that genes play a role in the development of obesity? But how about migraine and cancer? Do genes also have an influence here? Researchers from the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) are discussing this subject during the month of March on the RTL 4 programme ‘Lang zullen we leven’ (‘Long may we live’).


Good genes help against symptoms of age

Old age comes with ailments. In view of the aging wave we currently face, what are we to do about these ailments? Biologist Pim Dekker discovered that the cells of people who come from families that live longer than average differ in a number of beneficial ways from those of their peers. In addition, these people’s cells display similarities with those of much younger people. PhD defence 28 February 2012.