Opening Academic Year 2019/20

A Nobel Prize winner who realised what Einstein hardly thought possible, prizewinners who excel in science and social involvement, the first steps of Maastricht University (UM) in the field of paleontological research and education and the development of the Einstein Telescope. This was all part of the Opening of the Academic Year 2019/2020, celebrated by UM on Monday 2 September in the Theater aan het Vrijthof.

Photo impression

Word of welcome by UM President prof. dr. Martin Paul

UM President Martin Paul welcomes the audience in his speech on UM as a "Dutch university with regional impact and European outreach focussing on the needs of citizens in a socially responsible way." A social university. (Speech also available in pdf)

Keynote speech Nobel Laureate prof. Barry Barish

Prof. Barish traced the development of our understanding of gravity from Isaac Newton’s ‘Universal Gravity’ to Albert Einstein’s ‘Theory of General Relativity’. He discussed the quest for gravitational waves, first predicted from Einstein’s theory, to their detection 100 years later, and the new science that is emerging. 

Prof. dr. Stefan Hild

Stefan Hild, Professor of Gravitational Research, explained the development of the new Einstein Telescope, which should take research into gravitational waves to the next level. This new research facility will possibly be established in South Limburg after the decision is made in 2022. Before that, a state-of-the-art prototype – the ET Pathfinder – is being developed in Maastricht.

Prof. dr. José Joordens and prof. dr. Leon Claessens

Professors Leon Claessens and José Joordens presented their paleontological research into, among other things, the evolution of dinosaurs, dodos and humans. In the coming years, they will build a research group within the Faculty of Science and Engineering and teach in the Maastricht Science Programme.

Edmond Hustinx Award for Science

This prize is awarded to a promising young scholar at Maastricht University and is meant to support the scholar's academic development. This year's award went to to a colleague from the School of Business and Economics: Ines Wilms.

UM Student Prize 2019

This year, we had five nominations for the UM Student Award, a prize awarded to students because of their outstanding social or cultural achievements. The prize was awarded to UM Pride!: David Muraro, Gina van Rossum, Nina van Santvoort, and Kyran Kuijpers. UM Pride is a platform for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied students and staff members at our university. It offers a safe, inclusive and supportive space for a diverse community. What makes the initiative so special, is that the students acting as buddies in UM Pride, all want to enhance the mental health of those needing the help most: students and staff members struggling with LGTB+ issues. 

Closing and Ode to Joy

Watch and listen to Martin Paul's closing words and the Maastricht Conservatorium alumni and master's students perform their computer jazz version of Ode to Joy.