In order not to disturb the others, the interview was held outside on a wooden bench in the botanical garden behind the Kluyver laboratory for microbiology. Dr Salah Al-Zuhairy, informally dressed in faded jeans and black T-shirt, enjoys the arrival of spring with birdsong and blooming green. In these peaceful surrounding, he says that at least 1,500 scientists have been killed in Iraq since the war began there in 2003. Al-Zuhairy himself was hit by a car in Bagdad in 2005, but survived and fled the country with his family. Relief organizations, Scholar Rescue Fund, Scholars at Risk and UAF found him a new place to work at Professor Mark van Loosdrecht’s lab for wastewater treatment.
The International Student Barometer, a recently released global survey among international students, found the University of Groningen to be the Netherlands’ best university. All twelve Dutch institutes of higher education - eight universities and four polytechnics - participated in the survey, with 8,670 international students at these institutions filling in the questionnaire.
Many students have their hands full pursuing one study program. Yuvraj Birdja (23) meanwhile pursues two: mechanical and chemical engineering. The TU Delft student of Suriname origin has been nominated for the Echo Bèta Technology Award, given to an excellent non-ethnic Dutch student. Birdja says he feels both Dutch and Surinamese. “I was born in the Netherlands, but was raised largely in Suriname. When I was 5 years old my parents returned to Suriname, where they were born. Of my first years in the Netherlands, I basically only knew of them through what I saw in photo albums. When I finished high school, I knew that I wanted to study in the Netherlands, as here I have much more opportunity.”
Sabine Roeser and Ibo van de Poel have been appointed Antoni van Leeuwenhoek professors. Both are from the faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, and were associate professors in the philosophy department. In 2009, Roeser received a Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros, and since 2010 has been head of the research group ‘moral emotions and risk politics’, as well as a special professor at the University of Twente. Van de Poel received a Vidi grant worth 1.5 million euros in 2011 for his research of introducing new technologies in society.
Last year the faculty of Technology, Policy and Management (TPM) blended learning in its BSc technological management program. The main aim of this was to increase study success rates. Blended learning is a systematic face-to-face educational program and online study that can involve for example video instruction, multimedia study materials and online exams and meetings, which is something that often occurs on the individual course level at TU Delft, but TPM now wants to systematically integrate this blend in its curriculum.
It is no longer possible to travel forward in time via the computer program used for iCOZ self-exams. The computer hole has been closed. A computer
science student hacked into iCOZ and was able to get answers to practice exams. The hacker did this by setting the computer’s timing system forward, which unlocked the answers. The hacker then quickly wrote down the answers, reset the computer’s timer, and filled in the correct answers. The hacker said he got a grade of 100 percent on an exam in a subject he was not taking. An investigation found that he was not guilty of a cybercrime.
The Dutch are pretty happy people generally, with the Netherlands ranking fourth on a list of most contented nation, complied by three economists ahead of a special UN conference devoted to the subject of happiness. The economists analyzed various recent studies, basing their research findings on parameters that included income, freedom, trust in government, and life expectancy. Denmark is the happiest country in the world, followed by Finland, Norway and the Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Austria and Ireland. As for the world’s most unhappy country: that is Togo, an African country where apparently there isn’t much to smile about.