Universiteit Leiden

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Henk Hoekstra appointed Professor Observational Cosmology

Astronomer Henk Hoekstra has been appointed Professor Observational Cosmology at the Leiden Observatory with effect from 1 August.

Dark matter and energy

Hoekstra is considered to be one of the world's top experts in the field of gravitational lensing techniques for the study of dark matter and energy. While dark matter and dark energy account for 95% of the matter-energy content of the Universe,
¡t's nature is not understood. Hoekstra's work ensures that the Leiden Observatory for the next decade will have a very strong presence in this exciting field. He does so for example through his work as cosmology coordinator in the consortium responsible for Euclid, an observation satellite that will be launched in 2020.


Apart from supervising PhD students, Hoekstra is also involved in the astronomy education in Leiden. He helped developing the master's course Origin and Evolution of the Universe, which takes a central place in the master's specialisation Cosmology. His students are invariably happy with his lectures.


Hoekstra studied Astronomy in Groningen and at the same university obtained his PhD in 2000 (cum laude) on ‘A weak lensing study of massive structures’, in which he studied how weak gravitational lensing can be used to weigh massive objects in the Universe. He then continued his research in Canada, at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics and the University of Victoria. In 2007 he was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship. A year later, he returned to the Netherlands to work at the Leiden Observatory. In the same year he was awarded a NWO Vidi award and a Marie Curie international reintegration grant from the EU. In 2011 he was awarded a ERC Starting Grant and in 2016 he received a NWO Vici award.

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