Biomedical Sciences

Jeroen Geurts Laureate 2017

Jeroen Geurts was a pioneer in tracking difficult to detect abnormalities in the brains of MS patients. In the course of this work he came up with a new theory about the cause of MS, one which fundamentally differs from the theory that most of his colleagues have adhered to for many years.

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Eva van Rooij Laureate 2017

Eva van Rooij was the first person to discover that microRNA molecules, components of living cells which have only recently been discovered, play a role in heart diseases. She is now investigating other molecular mechanisms that affect our cardiac cells. Is it possible to influence these so as to limit damage to such cells or even reverse it?

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Humanities

Olivier Hekster Laureate 2017

Olivier Hekster revisits the labelling of Roman Emperors such as Nero, Caligula and Commodus as ‘mad’ by looking at their use of the mass-media of antiquity: effigies on coins, statues and inscriptions on buildings. How did these Emperors attempt to establish their power over their vast empire using such communications?

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Alicia Montoya Laureate 2017

Through studying 18th-century library sales catalogues, Alicia Montoya discovered that at a time when the Enlightenment changed thinking in Europe, religious books were still the biggest sellers. She questions what the impact of the philosophical transformation was amongst the wider population, outside the small circle of the intellectual elite. Has the hegemony of knowledge and reason been overstated?

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Natural Sciences

Appy Sluijs Laureate 2017

Appy Sluijs discovered that 56 million years ago, due to a chain-reaction in the oceans and the atmosphere, there was a rise in the greenhouse effect on the Earth. Palm trees grew at the poles and the Arctic Ocean became as warm as a subtropical swimming pool. Could something similar happen again?

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Guido van der Werf Laureate 2017

Guido van der Werf researches the amount of greenhouse gases that are entering the atmosphere because of the burning of forests, grasslands and peat bogs. With the help of models, satellite photos and drones he charts the contributions of burning, deforestation and the expansion of agricultural land on the greenhouse effect.

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Social Sciences

Roshan Cools Laureate 2017

Roshan Cools discovered that medicines which affect our brains do not always have the same effect: a substance that increases concentration in a person’s brain, can actually reduce the flexibility of that brain. For someone else the effects may be the opposite. Cools is searching for the brain mechanisms behind something that has preoccupied philosophers throughout the ages: human will power.

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Eveline Crone Laureate 2017

Eveline Crone discovered that not every part of the human brain develops at the same time. In puberty brain centers determining emotions develop more quickly than those which control rational decision making. This helps explain unrestrained, irresponsible and risky adolescent behaviour. How does the adolescent brain use this turbulent phase to learn to take creative but balanced decisions?

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