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Book 'Forty years of Leiden Environmental Science' available

The book ‘Forty years of Leiden Environmental Science’ is available in digital format (PDF). It relates to the history of the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML).

Today CML is a thriving research institute within the Faculty of Science at Leiden University which in the last 6 years almost doubled in size to 100 staff. But it has its roots in a more independent group of ex activists that started the institute with just 2 employees in 1978.

The book looks at the development of the institute, in part through the eyes of some 12 prominent former and current staff members. These include Gjalt Huppes, Gerard Persoon, Geert de Snoo, and Helias Udo de Haes. As CML’s current director, I was fascinated to read how long it took before CML really managed to realise an institutionally stable position at Leiden University. I’ve seen many of CML’s fellow institutes in the international scene going through similar processes. I am sure at some day there will be a PhD collecting information on all these different journeys and write this story of how a new scientific field, in this case environmental sciences, is institutionalized in a context of other science fields that have a history of 100s of years.

‘Walking into the Leiden Institute of Environmental Sciences today, nothing remains of the wild prehistory and unsteady first thirty years, when international recognition regularly alternated with the threat of dissolution’, says writer Ed Olivier in the book’s last chapter. He hit the nail. Things go well. CML staff now obtains on a regular basis competitive and prestigious individual grants like Vidi’s from NWO. We publish on a regular basis in top journals like Science, Nature and PNAS. Our PhD pool is very international, enthusiastic and productive. Our educational programs are popular. And, as always has been the case since 1978, our culture is one of mutual support, collaboration, and making our science fun and societally relevant.

In short, CML can look forward with confidence to the next 40 years. I wish you a pleasant read.

Prof. Arnold Tukker, Scientific director CML


The book can be downloaded in English or Dutch.

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