Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Ionica Smeets

Professor Science communication

Prof.dr.ir. I. Smeets
+31 71 527 1119

Ionica Smeets is a communication scholar who wants to improve the interaction between science and society by studying how science communication works. The general public knows her for her popular science columns, blogs, books and television work. She has also written several books on science communication.

More information about Ionica Smeets


Ionica Smeets’ main research interest is bridging the gap between experts and the general public. She believes it is important to connect citizens and science, because science is a part of society. Researchers should both communicate their results to the public in the best possible way and listen to what society demands from them.

Ionica Smeets did her PhD in pure mathematics. The transition from this rather abstract field to science communication provides her with a broader outlook on science and an understanding of what science means and how it is performed in different fields.

After a postdoc in Public Understanding of Science, Smeets left the academic world for a few years. She worked as an independent science journalist, obtaining practical experience in communicating science with the general public. She appeared on the Dutch television show ‘Zomergasten’ and made her own science show ‘Eureka’. She also wrote a number of books including: ‘Het exacte verhaal’, a practical guide for scientists on science communication, ‘Zoete kinderen eten geen suiker’, about parenting myths that are disproved by science, ‘Ik was altijd heel slecht in wiskunde’ (with Jeanine Daems) and ‘Vallende kwartjes’ (with Bas Haring). During her time as a mathematician she wrote a popular mathematics blog called ‘Wiskundemeisjes’ with Jeanine Deams. This blog received various awards, including two Dutch Bloggies and the Mr. K.J. Cath-prize.

In 2015  Ionica Smeets decided to come back to the university to do research on effective science communication and to provide students of the science faculty with a firm foundation in science communication.


Examples of Smeets’ current research are the effect of exaggeration in press releases on media coverage of health research,  participants experiences in citizen science projects, differences in interpretation of jargon between laymen and experts and developing evidence-based outreach material. She is the figurehead of route ‘Building blocks of matter and fundaments of space and time’ from the Dutch national research agenda

The main research themes of her group are:

•    Authenticity in informal learning.
•    Bridging the gap between experts and the general public.

Their mission is understanding how science communication works to improve the interaction between science and society in order to emancipate society, especially disadvantaged groups.

Professor Science communication

  • Science
  • Instituut Biologie Leiden

Work address

Sylviusweg 72
2333 BE Leiden
Room number 3.4.18



  • Nationaal Expertisecentrum Wetenschap & Samenleving Oprichter
  • Diverse kranten, tijdschriften, omroepen en uitgevers Wetenschapsjournalist, columnist en programma-maker
  • Diverse opdrachtgevers Spreker en/of dagvoorzitter
  • Naturalis Scientific Advisory Board
  • Delta Redactieraad Delta
  • Rijksmuseum Boerhaave Lid Raad van Toezicht - portefeuille Wetenschapscommunicatie
  • Stichting Theater Adhoc Bestuur
This website uses cookies.  More information.