Wim van Saarloos returns to Leiden University as Professor Theoretical Physics


On September 1st, Wim van Saarloos will become President-Elect of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). As of January 2017 he will combine this with a full professorship in  theoretical physics at the Leiden Institute of Physics. Currently, Van Saarloos is Transition Director at the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

After studying Technical Physics at the TU Delft, Van Saarloos started a PhD track in Leiden with Peter Mazur, which he completed in 1982. He went on to work in the United States for AT&T Bell Laboratories, before returning to Leiden in 1991, where he stayed for 18 years as professor of theoretical physics. From 1997 onwards, he was also director of the university’s Lorentz Centre. Van Saarloos left Leiden in 2009 to become director of the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM). Last June, Van Saarloos was appointed Transition Director at NWO.

Van Saarloos has conducted ground-breaking research in theoretical physics, among others on the instability of wave fronts and granular materials. He has received national and international recognition for his scientific work, including his appointment as fellow of the American Physical Society (2007) and the Dutch Physica Prize (2008). He became a member of KNAW in 2004. At the moment, Van Saarloos is member of Leiden University’s supervisory board, but he will step down when returning to LION.