Jorinde van de Vis wins For Women in Science Rising Talent prize

Jorinde van de Vis wins the For Women in Science Rising Talent-prize for women in science, for her PhD thesis in cosmology and particle physics.

Higgs particle

Van de Vis (1991) defended her thesis ‘Higgs dynamics in the early universe’ in July 2019, researching the role of the Higgs particle during the earliest moments of the universe.

‘During the formation of the universe, space has expanded extremely in an extremely short time. This is called inflation. It is possible that the Higgs field has had a hand in this’, says Van de Vis. The Higgs particle was discovered in 2012 in the particle accelerator LHC, and the information since gathered has been of use for Van de Vis’ research.

Cosmic asymmetry

Another research topic is the asymmetry between matter and antimatter. During the formation of the universe, more matter has formed than antimatter. We can thank this asymmetry for making our existence possible. If both variants had formed in equal amounts, they would have annihilated each other, and only light would have remained. However, the origin of this cosmic asymmetry is not entirely clear. Van de Vis researches whether and how the Higgs particle may have played a role.

In the (Dutch language) podcast ‘Een Podcast over Natuurkunde’ (soon to be released) Van de Vis explains her research in more detail.

Jorinde van de Vis

‘Enormous boost’

Van de Vis obtained her Masters’ degree in Theoretical Physics in Leiden and worked at the particle physics center Nikhef. Currently, she is working as a postdoc at the DESY institute for particle physics in Hamburg, Germany. ‘I heard about the prize just when I was starting in Hamburg, that was an enormous boost for me’, she says.

The objective of the  For Women in Science Rising Talent-prize is to promote academic careers for young female researchers. The prize is an initiative by L’Oréal Netherlands, the Dutch Unesco Commission and the Koninklijke Hollandse Maatschappij van Wetenschappen (KHMW), a Dutch science society.

On top of € 3500, winners have a chance to be nominated for the international  Rising Talents-programme.  Van de Vis is the first winner of the prize, which she was awarded on 21 November in the Hodshon Huis in Haarlem, the residence of KHMW.

Source: Leiden University

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