The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences (KNAW) has chosen five professors from the University of Groningen to join its ranks: Amina Helmi,
Claartje Mulder, Linda Steg en Marcel Visser . A total of 26 new members were elected. KNAW members are elected on the basis of high-quality academic achievements.
The KNAW has over 550 members, all of whom are prominent academics working in diverse fields of academic research. The KNAW’s tasks include advising the government about matters pertaining to science, promoting national and international cooperation at the academic level and being responsible for fifteen leading research institutes. The following professors from the University of Groningen will soon become members of the KNAW.
Amina Helmi is conducting research into the history of our Milky Way. Helmi has demonstrated how residue from smaller solar systems combined to form the Milky Way as we know it. She obtains data from telescopes and processes it into models and simulations. Helmi (assisted by her team) was one of the first people to sift through the mountains of data from the GAIA satellite. She showed how stars from the outer regions of the Milky Way move through the Milky Way like wrong-way drivers. Helmi was previously a member of The Young Academy.
André Aleman is an innovative, internationally renowned brain researcher. His research field covers subjects such as suicide, ageing, schizophrenia and depression. One of Aleman’s achievements was to analyse the brains of schizophrenic patients who hear voices. His research is regularly cited in textbooks and finds its way onto the bookshelves of policymakers. Aleman, who was previously a member of The Young Academy, has also written an international bestseller about the ageing brain and gives lectures to diverse audiences.
Claartje Mulder has made significant contributions to the fields of geography, demography and family sociology. She was one of the first researchers to study how people make decisions relating to work, divorce, family and domicile based on their life course. Mulder found evidence that children who live close to their parents are less likely to move further away than children who already live at a distance.
Linda Steg focuses on the question of how we can understand, predict and influence environmentally aware behaviour. Her research examines subjects such as how people use their cars and why people waste energy. Steg showed that when it comes to the environment, people pay less attention to cost/benefit analyses, facts and arguments than to standards, values and feelings. Steg’s research helps policymakers to find ways to influence people’s behaviour.
Marcel Visser is head of the department of Animal Ecology at the Netherlands Institute for Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and Professor by special appointment of Seasonal Timing at the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES) of the University of Groningen. He is an expert in the field of seasonal timing, climate change, phenology and the great tit. His research has proved that climate change is causing certain organisms in the food chain to shift their seasonal timing more strongly than others, thus causing selection on the basis of seasonal timing.
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