Leiden this week's discoveries lectures: "Citizen science" and "Probing quantum matter"



12:30-13:10 hrs


Leiden, Oort building, De Sitterzaal


Citizen science: real science, real science communication.
Speaker Anne Land (Science Communication and Society)
Anne is assistant professor in de Science Communication and Society group of the Faculty (housed at IBL). Her research focuses on the effects of museums and other forms of informal education on the science awareness of participants. Part of the work she will present was published in the Journal of Science Communication earlier this year.

Seventeen thousand people in the Netherlands and Flanders report their flu-like symptoms every week during the flu season. Over three thousand people used their smartphone to measure aerosol concentrations in the atmosphere during the iSPEX campaign in the summer of 2013. Two examples of "citizen science", where citizens play an active role in scientific research. For scientists these projects result in a vast amount of data spread out over a large geographical area. Citizens, it turns out, mainly participate because they are genuinely interested in contributing to real science. I will discuss two recent studies on citizen scientists' motivation and learning impact and what scientists can learn from these outcomes when developing citizen science projects.

Second Lecture

Title Probing quantum matter.
Speaker Tjerk Oosterkamp (LION)
Tjerk is professor in the Interface physics group at LION. His group explores the possibilities to combine magnetic resonance techniques with atomic force microscopy together in a single microscope: the MRI-AFM, also called Magnetic Resonance Force Microscopy (MRFM).

The subject of this talk is a world-class Low Temperature Scanning Probe Microscopy system planned in Leiden, which recently received funding through a so-called ‘NWO-groot’ grant. This measurement system will enable exciting quantum research at the nanoscale, and is of relevance to a number of groups in the Dutch research community on a variety of new materials and using several different scanning probe microscopes. In some materials electrons interact very strongly and cannot be described by non-interacting waves. This project allows the building of a machine in order to investigate the properties of these materials in which electrons are heavily entangled and ‘do quantum computations all by themselves’. In the physics community in the Netherlands, there are many groups which investigate strongly correlated materials. They would greatly benefit from an accessible facility, that would make it possible to investigate a few of the material systems they study in their own groups, but now to do so at very low temperatures and with the possibility of UHV preparation. This is important because the quantum entanglement under investigation is very fragile and becomes more stable at low temperatures. We believe now is the time to invest in a system which can combine ultra-low temperature (1 mK to 4 K) spectroscopy and imaging by various Scanning Probe Microscopy techniques, for example with the possibility to find a patterned sample by AFM or to manipulate a sample with scanning gates. For many of the material systems to be studied it is very important that their surfaces can be cleaned and characterized in an UHV environment at room temperature prior to cooling down the samples to cryogenic temperatures. The running costs are significantly reduced by the fact that the system does not require a continuous supply of liquid Helium as a refrigerant, since the system is cooled by a pulse-tube.