Casimir PhD positions 2014 awarded to Henk Snijders, Misha Klein, and Tom van der Reep


Henk Snijders, Misha Klein, and Tom van der Reep each have won a Casimir PhD position. This means that in the coming four years they can carry out the plans they wrote down their research proposal, which was the final assignment of their MSc programme. On November 4th, the three former students of the Casimir Pre-PhD track were interviewed by the review committee that consisted of Jan Zaanen (chairman), Andreas Engel and Leo DiCarlo.

The committee was impressed by the quality of the proposals and the way in which Henk, Misha and Tom were able to defend their ideas. Subsequently, the committee decided to award each one with a Casimir PhD position. Last summer, Henk and Tom obtained their MSc degree at Leiden University, Misha followed the Casimir Pre-PhD track at Delft University of Technology. In the coming four years, Henk will work on Cavity Quantum Electrodynamics with rare earth ions. He chose professor Dirk Bouwmeester to be his promotor. Under the guidance of Martin Depken, Misha will be busy with the physical modeling of the CRISPR/Cas adaptive immune system. And under the supervision of Tjerk Oosterkamp, Tom will be studying what he described in his proposal ‘Smoothly breaking unitarity - studying spontaneous collapse using two entangled, tuneable, coherent amplifiers’. Henk, Misha, and Tom (from left to right, see pictures below) are very excited about the news. One of them stated: “Writing a research proposal is a great learning experience in itself, but now that it has been awarded I truly feel honoured!” They look forward to starting their research project later this month.                  

Until last year, the Casimir PhD positions were funded through the NWO Graduate Program. The currently awarded positions and those available in the years to come will be funded through the NWO-Gravitation program ‘NanoFront.’ Casimir PhD positions are awarded to outstanding students of the Casimir Pre-PhD track who come up with research proposals that are well balanced between being feasible and ambitious. The Casimir Pre-PhD track, of which the four previous winners Julia Cramer, Tim Baart, Chris Smiet, and Jelmer Wagenaar have been part of as well, focuses on preparing MSc. students for a PhD position, either at Leiden, Delft or elsewhere. Read more about the Casimir Pre-PhD track here.