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Female talent in the spotlight

The representation of women in science is improving, also at the Faculty of Science. On 8 March – International Women's Day – we highlight the work of female scientists from our faculty.

Stéphanie van der Pas wrote the best thesis of 2017

During the faculty’s New Year's reception mathematician Stéphanie van der Pas won the C.J. Kok prize for the best thesis of the Faculty of Science in 2017. The jury was impressed by her work, that already formed the basis for seven published or accepted articles, where two are average in the field of mathematics. According to rector magnificus Carel Stolker, this excess could be brought about by the extraordinary excellence and purposefulness of this particular PhD student.

Van der Pas's thesis concerns, among other things, the estimation of parameters under sparsity constraints. These are models in which many actors may contribute to the effect to be modelled, but only a few actors actually contribute to the effect. Van der Pas is now a university lecturer at the Leiden Mathematical Institute and the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC).

Read more: Mathematics, medicine and teaching


Women in Leiden University’s Senate Chamber

In the Senate Chamber of Leiden University there are 117 portraits of deceased male scientists, and only one woman's portrait. In 2016, a group of female scientists made a symbolic gesture to claim space for women: for a month they covered the male portraits with a canvas displaying portraits of 99 female scientists.

This year more women will get a permanent place in the Senate Chamber. Fourteen living female professors with great scientific merits will receive a portrait painting on 8 March, International Women's Day. One of these women is Faculty of Science’s Ewine van Dishoeck. She is a professor of Molecular Astrophysics and is well-known worldwide for her pioneering work. She received many awards for her work, including, in 2000, the highest scientific honour in the Netherlands, the Spinoza Prize.

Read more: Fourteen women professors take over the Senate Chamber!

RISE: the women's network of the Faculty of Science

'Teams in which versatile and colourful people work, reinforce each other. We are convinced that our network contributes significantly to this, within our faculty.’ With those words, professors Miranda van Eck and Martina Vijver presented in November 2017 the report on the first two years of science women's network RISE: Researchers In Science for Equality. RISE wants to tackle the under-representation of women in the higher scientific echelons. In December, women's network for the entire university was also set up: Sophia.

More information on RISE

Female professors in the spotlight

The image above this article shows - apart from talent Stéphanie van der Pas - the 18 female professors at the Faculty of Science, working in very different fields. Curious about their research? Have a look at their personal profiles.

Ana Achúcarro - Astroparticle physics and quantum field theory
Tinde van Andel - History of botany and gardens
Joke Bouwstra - Drug Delivery
Lies Bouwman - Inorganic chemistry
Ariane Briegel – Ultrastructural biology
Ewine van Dishoeck - Molecular astrophysics
Marileen Dogterom - Atomic and molecular physics
Miranda van Eck - Cardiovascular and metabolic therapies
Celia Fonseca Guerra - Applied theoretical chemistry
Lorraine Hanlon - Astrophysics
Catherijne Knibbe - Individualized drug treatment
Annemarie Meijer - Immunobiology
Jacqueline Meulman - Applied statistics
Vera van Noort - Computational biology
Mirjam van Reisen - Computing for society
Ewa Snaar - Cellular tumor biology
Ionica Smeets - Science communication
Martina Vijver - Ecotoxicology

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