Universiteit Leiden

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This Week's Discoveries | 28 February 2017

dinsdag 28 februari 2017
Niels Bohrweg 2
2333 CA Leiden
De Sitterzaal

First Lecture

Why should we protect nature? The link between biodiversity, ecosystems and human wellbeing.


Alexander van Oudenhoven (CML) is a postdoc at the Conservation Biology department of the Institute of Environmental Sciences. He is one of the Lead Authors of the regional and global IPBES assessment, an UN-based study into the status and trends of the world’s biodiversity and the consequences thereof for human wellbeing. His regular research is part of the STW-funded NatureCoast project, which assesses the pilot Sand Motor (a mega beach nourishment just south of The Hague) in an interdisciplinary way, by looking at ecology, geochemistry, hydrology, morphology and governance aspects. Alexander is Discoverer of the year 2016.

The world’s biodiversity and natural land cover is rapidly diminishing, due to increased urbanization, land-use change and overexploitation of natural resources. In an effort to halt this trend and to support sustainable management of natural resources and landscapes, ‘ecosystem services’ has become an increasingly popular concept within interdisciplinary sciences. The concept is being used to study and communicate the contributions of nature to human wellbeing. In his presentation, Alexander van Oudenhoven will provide examples of how human wellbeing is influenced by nature and biodiversity, both from his work abroad and within the Netherlands. In addition, he will share his experiences from the world’s first truly global assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services, which has been called for by 128 countries and is currently ongoing. Central throughout the presentation will be the issue of ‘value’; what reasons for (not) protecting nature do people have, how can we go beyond economic motives and what other ways do we have to quantify this complex relationship between humans and nature?

Second Lecture

Chemistry between the Stars; News about the Dutch Astrochemistry Network

Harold Linnartz is Professor of Laboratory Astrophysics at the Leiden Observatory. He is the Director of the Sackler Laboratory where physical methods are used to answer chemical questions of astronomical interest. See also ww.laboratory-astrophysics.eu.

Last December NWO awarded 12 projects within the framework of the Dutch Astrochemistry Network. This network aims to study the origin and evolution of molecules in space, in the gas phase and on icy dust grains, from diatomics to large molecules, including COMs (complex organic molecules) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. This interdisciplinary programme combines astrochemical and astrophysical experiments, quantum chemical calculations, laboratory spectroscopy of astronomically relevant species and modeling and observations of astronomical sources.
The discovery talk is on the discoveries to come ... and vacancies still to fill.

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