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Ewine van Dishoeck receives honorary doctorate from the University of Geneva

Astrophysicist Ewine van Dishoeck has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Geneva. She received the award on 11 October during the Dies academicus of the Swiss university, which, like Leiden University, is part of the European research university federation LERU.


Honorary supervisor Jérôme Lacour, Dean of the Faculty of Science in Geneva, mentioned in his laudatio the connection that Van Dishoeck as a Dutch person has with water. Not only the water that, for example, can be seen on  the beach of Noordwijk, but also water molecules in our Universe. There, water plays a role – most notably  in the form of ice and gas – in the aggregation of particles and in the chemistry of the formation of stars and planets, in which Van Dishoeck is an internationally recognised expert.

Great track record

In addition, Lacour praised Van Dishoeck’s involvement in the realisation of large telescopes such as Herschel, ALMA and the successor of the famous Hubble telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope. Van Dishoeck is also a dedicated science communicator, and she is both Scientific Director of the Netherlands   Research school for Astronomy NOVA and President of the international astronomical union IAU. Van Dishoeck further received, among others, the Dutch Spinoza Prize (2000), the Einstein World Award of Science (2015) and recently the Kavli Prize in Astrophysics (2018).

Double special

Van Dishoeck is very honoured by the recognition by the Swiss university, she said. ‘The meeting was particularly  special and festive because the brand new Nobel Prize winner Michel Mayor was in the front row, and had just returned from Spain the day before,’ said Van Dishoeck. Mayor is a professor at the University of Geneva and on 8 October received the news that he and two others will receive the in 2019 Nobel Prize in physics.

Top photo: Faculty of Science dean Jérôme Lacour addresses Ewine van Dishoeck during the laudatio. Photo by Lionel Windels
Twitter photo: Van Dishoeck receives the doctorate degree from University of Geneva rector Yves Flückiger

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