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Education highlights 2023

From educational adventures in the tropics, students building software for real customers, to bacteria that degrade plastics. Scroll through our highlights on educational innovation and the achievements of our students.

Serafine Beuglink presents her card game.
Serafine Beuglink presents her card game.

From bachelor student to entrepreneur: card game about elementary particles an unexpected hit

A Christmas present that got out of hand: that’s what prompted physics student Serafine Beugelink to start her own company. Her card game about elementary particles, called Elementary, is so popular that she already has collaborations with several research organisations. ‘I hope Elementary can bridge the distance between scientists and everyone else. I want to share how beautiful my profession is.’

Star birth: a slow and mysterious drama

A star does not just appear in the sky overnight. Its creation takes tens of thousands of years. Twenty years ago, astronomers took a picture of a star in its birth phase. The James Webb Space Telescope could now capture that same star in much greater detail. This does not only provide beautiful images, but also a lot of new information. ‘The star is developing relatively slowly,’ says Astronomy master’s student Merel Reitsma who collaborated on the study.

Merel Reitsma together with her professor Ewine van Dishoeck and the James Webb Space Telescope image of star HH211.
Merel Reitsma together with her professor Ewine van Dishoeck and the JWST image of HH211.

Exotic alpine newts didn’t travel to the Netherlands themselves, but were released by humans

Biology student Jody Robbemont with wading suit and landing net, is looking for alpine newts.
Biology student Jody Robbemont with wading suit and landing net, is looking for alpine newts.

Leiden biology students have determined the origin of exotic alpine newts in the Netherlands using a special DNA technique. The animals come from different corners of Europe and were probably released by humans. As exotic species, they can be harmful to nature and biodiversity.

The 2023-2024 Board of LUDev posing on a bridge in Leiden
The 2023-2024 Board of LUDev

Students build software for real customers

Students gain practical experience while clients receive a solution to their software needs: the student software company LUDev hits two birds with one stone. ‘Through LUDev, students learn what else is involved in software development besides programming.’ You can now submit new projects for 2024.

Educational adventures in the tropics: discovering rainforests in Borneo

Photographing fluorescent flowers, searching for frogs and shooting tropical cucumbers out of trees: this is only a small part of the course Tropical Biodiversity and Field Methods. For this class, master’s students biology traveled to Malaysian Borneo for two weeks to gain experience in fieldwork. For many, this is their first time in the tropics.

Website full of interactive videos to improve your lab education

‘A lot of precious time was lost in explaining practical matters. There was hardly any time left for depth.’

To better prepare students for their laboratory education, a team of education experts and students have created a collection of interactive videos. After launching their website labprep.video, the material is now available to everyone in higher education. Project leader Marjo de Graauw: ‘We also created a manual for anyone who wants to get started with lab education videos themselves. So, visit our website and start implementing videos in your own teaching!’

The video team in action in a classroom
The video team in action
Portrait of Marije Sesink at the faculty in The Hague

Research: Points system makes neighbourhoods nicer to live in

A lot of municipalities work with a points system to encourage construction projects to take biodiversity and creating green areas into account. But this way of working also benefits local neighbourhoods and residents, master’s student Marije Sesink discovered. She based her study on The Hague.

Excelling master’s students

Several of our master’s students excelled and won graduation awards.

Rozita Abdolrahimi won a Student Award from the Dutch Society for the Advancement of Pharmacy (KNMP). She investigated experienced-based learning within the Education Expertise Center of the LUMC.

‘We rewarded Flór’s thesis with the highest possible grade, a 10.’

Matthias Flór received the KHMW Graduation Prize in Theoretical Physics for his master’s thesis. His research on exotic superconductors struck a chord with the jury. They unanimously chose Flór noting that ‘he demonstrated impressive technical abilities.’

Aukje Beers won the Unilever Research Prize for her Chemistry research. ‘I discovered two protein inhibitors that could contribute to the development of a new cancer drug.’

5 years Quantum Rules lab: ‘The best part is when you hear the penny drop with a student’

Physics teacher Henk Buisman welcomes secondary school teachers ánd students who want to know more about quantum physics. And he likes to help them in an interactive way. Therefore, he and his colleagues started the Quantum Rules lab of the Faculty of Science five years ago. Each year, hundreds of students pass through the lab to conduct their own physics experiments at the university.

Students working together in the Quantum Rules lab

Multiple awards for student project on bacterium that makes sustainable plastic

Rather than go on holiday this summer, a group of biology students shut themselves away in a windowless lab. They were working on a solution to the world’s plastics problem by getting bacteria to make biodegradable plastic.

At the Grand Jamboree in Paris, the team has won high honours. The biology students came second in the Overgraduate category and also took home awards for Best Biomanufecturing Project, Best Wiki and Best Entrepreneurship as well as a Gold Medal. To top it all off, they also received three nominations.

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