Anne Meeussen wins Ehrenfest-Afanassjewa thesis prize 2021
Anne Meeussen, who defended her PhD thesis on programmable materials in May 2021 earning cum laude honours, won the second Ehrenfest-Afanassjewa prize awarded by the Dutch Physics Council.
In her thesis, entitled ‘Imperfections: using defects to program designer matter’, Meeussen shows a design strategy to create materials with novel properties from sheets that can be bent, folded, ribboned and pushed in.
So called topological imperfections and buckle instabilities can be used to provide the material with the desired properties, and Meeussen shows us how. Such programmable metamaterials may well lead to new applications, for instance in clothing shoes or soft robotics.
Creative and free thinking
From the prize jury report: ‘she works very creatively, in a free thinking manner, and introduces new concepts that will in our expectation lead to new ways of researching in this relatively novel field of research’. Meeussen’s work is broad and complete, accessibly worded and clearly illustrated, the jury thinks, even to such an extent that it may be used as teaching material.
Meeussen, who is now a postdoc at Harvard University in the US, did her research in the Programmable Metamaterials group headed by Martin van Hecke, at Leiden University and the Amolf research institute in Amsterdam.
The Ehrenfest-Afaassjewa prize, which has been awarded since 2020 by the Dutch Physics Council, has been named after the Leiden physicists Paul Ehrenfest and Tatiana Afanassjewa who stimulated young researchers to leave the beaten path. The first prize winner was also a Leiden physicist: Koen Bastiaans.
The winner gets a bronze statue and 5000 euros, to be spent freely. The prize will be awarded during the Physics@Veldhoven-conference in January. The PhD theses by Guoji Zheng (TU Delft), Melissa van Beekveld (Radboud Universiteit) and Nico Hendrickx (Tu Delft) received honourable mentions.
The Peculiar Effect of a Small Error
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