Mathematics in the city

Mathematics in the city

MAASTRICHT. Mathematicians see mathematics everywhere, even in the most ordinary everyday things, says Frank Thuijsman, professor of Strategic Optimization and Data Science, who opened the Math/Maastricht exhibition on the Minderbroedersberg 4-6 last Thursday. This is how the idea arose for an alternative guide for Maastricht, in which mathematicians from Maastricht University share a place that reminds them of a particular problem or research.

On bombings, torture, smugglers… and research

On bombings, torture, smugglers… and research

Three refugees recently received a special NWO grant to carry out research at the UM. Two of them - a Syrian neuroscientist and a Palestinian pharmacologist - tell their stories. The third laureate – Erman Atak from Turkey – preferred not to be interviewed.

Health promotion research with an iPhone

Health promotion research with an iPhone

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Professor Rik Crutzen would like to know more about the mindset of people who follow an exercise programme. One that is based on data collected on mobile phones.

On plants and cancer, healthy eating and the nerve system of a caterpillar

On plants and cancer, healthy eating and the nerve system of a caterpillar

A more interactive programme with input from the audience – that’s the aim of Studium Generale’s new segment: Ask the Scientist. Over the past few months, people could send in their burning questions about life, the world, the universe. Last Tuesday, three scientists answered a selection of them in the Auditorium on the Minderbroedersberg.

Foretaste of Pint of Science

Foretaste of Pint of Science

MAASTRICHT. The idea originated in London a few years ago: put some scientists in a pub, let them talk about a certain topic and thus provide the broader public with an easy way of becoming acquainted with scientific research. That is what Pint of Science is: a three-day worldwide festival held in May. This year, for the first time, it will also be held in Maastricht. Last year, other Dutch universities took the lead before Maastricht. A 'taster' can be had on 27 February.

 “My phrasing there is clumsy, unfortunate”

“My phrasing there is clumsy, unfortunate”


A researcher selling his soul to industry. That’s how Rob Markus, who holds an endowed chair at Maastricht University, was portrayed – unsuccessfully blurred out – in a broadcast of the Dutch television programme Rambam on Thursday, 24 January. He was quite willing to discuss the possibility of ‘guiding’ research on an energy drink towards a positive outcome. Is that true? “Of course it isn’t”, says Markus. “The context has been completely removed”.

“My patient wouldn’t do that”, most therapists think

“My patient wouldn’t do that”, most therapists think

Pretending that you suffer from an illness or disorder, for example in order to pocket compensation for damages. It happens more often than you would think. How do you separate the con artists from the patients? But also, how widespread is it? A Maastricht experiment showed that 94 per cent of the students would be inclined to do it.

Getting people into the right mood

Getting people into the right mood

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Professor Bernadette Jansma would like to know what happens in the brain when people understand each other. Are they literally on the same (brain) wavelength?

Tackling corruption the soft way

Tackling corruption the soft way

Hortense Jongen hopped on an airplane in Gothenburg last Thursday to pay an ultra-short visit to her hometown Maastricht. And with good reason: to accept the dissertation prize during the university’s founding day ceremony. Jongen researched how one could combat corruption on an international level using ‘soft governance’. The topic, the interdisciplinary perspective, and her pleasant style of writing were decisive for the jury.

Honorary doctorate for two idealists

Honorary doctorate for two idealists

The one is devoted to freedom and democracy, the other seeks a genuine climate policy. This characterises the two laureates who will receive honorary doctorates during the university’s foundation day ceremony. Michael Ignatieff has been active in particular as rector of the Central European University (CEU) in the last few years, while writer Amitav Ghosh calls upon everyone to fight against climate change. 

Fight against nonsense statistics

Fight against nonsense statistics

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Stephan Smeekes, data scientist at the School of Business and Economics, would like to investigate why computer programmes often find ‘nonsensical connections’ in big data. This wouldn't require large investments; it would just take a lot of time.