Casimir on the beach - celebrating 10 years Casimir Research School


As soon as the 105 Casimir PhD students, postdocs and staff entered the beach near The Hague, the drizzly morning turned into a wonderful sunny day. On Tuesday July 15th we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Casimir Research School at the Zuiderstrand in The Hague.

Life at the beach was the theme of our research school’s tenth anniversary celebration. In the presence of three of Hendrik Casimir’s daughters and their partners, over 100 Casimir students and staff members took part in the festive activities. At noon, the program started with a lecture by prof. dr. Marileen Dogterom, in which she explained more about her current research. At the end of the lecture, she gave all participants the task to together give an answer to the central question of her presentation: 'Can we create an artificial cell?'. With a few instructions by Marileen, the group did very well in solving the problem, as this video shows.

After lunch, artist (and Applied Physics alumnus from Delft University) Theo Jansen entered the stage. Theo gave us insight in his "Strandbeesten", strandbeasts, the wind-powered creatures he creates out of simple yellow plastic tubes. His very amusing talk was followed by a presentation on the beach, where Theo impressed us with a demonstration of two of his creatures.

In the afternoon, the group went for a walk in the Westduinpark, where two park rangers explained us more about the plants and wildlife in this dune area. The program was concluded with two pre-dinner speeches, one by Casimir director Jan van Ruitenbeek and the other by one of Hendrik Casimir's daughters, Gerda Casimir. The text of her speech can be found in the below. On behalf of the Casimir family Gerda congratulated us all and handed Jan van Ruitenbeek a cheque, a lustrum grant donated by the family to the Casimir Fund. Afterwards, we enjoyed dinner in the evening sun, before the buses brought us back again to Leiden or Delft.

For an impression of the day, please check out (and like!) our Facebookpage.