Public Release: 

Awards of the Netherlands' greatest prize for science

Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has granted the NWO/Spinoza Award 2002 to four leading Dutch research scientists. The Award is the highest Dutch prize for scientific achievement and carries a grant of EUR 1.5 million per recipient, to be spent on research of their own choice. The scientists are receiving this prestigious Award in recognition of their outstanding pioneering and inspiring scientific research.

The four recipients of the NWO/Spinoza Award 2002 are:

Professor H. (Henk) Barendregt
Professor in the Foundations of Mathematics and Computer Science at Nijmegen University.
The work of Professor Barendregt (1947) is situated at the interface of mathematics, logic and computer science. He specialises in lambda calculus, a language used by mathematicians for the notation of algorithms. He combines lambda calculus with logic so that he can use computers to prove mathematical postulates. He also seeks to apply mathematical concepts to theories about human thought. See also his website:

Professor E.A.J.M. (Els) Goulmy
Professor of Transplant Biology specialising in Minor Histocompatibility Antigens, at Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden.
Professor Els Goulmy (1946) has carried out pioneering research on transplant antigens (non-HLA minor antigens). In the past, these antigens were not thought to be of any importance in reactions between the transplanted organ and the recipient. However, they could cause transplants to fail even where there was a perfect match between the white blood cell immune systems - referred to by the medical profession as the Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) system - of the donor and recipient. Professor Goulmy demonstrated that these minor antigens also play a crucial role in humans and that tissue typing of these antigens is necessary for successful bone marrow transplants. Els Goulmy's website can be found at

Professor (Ad) Lagendijk
Professor in the research group 'Waves in Complex Media' at the MESA+ Institute, University of Twente, Enschede.
The work of Professor Lagendijk (1947) is situated at the interface between optics and solid state physics. He carries out research into how light beams travel through materials, and especially those materials which make the propagation of light waves extremely difficult, such as paint. In 1985 he discovered the phenomenon of increased back-scatter: when light enters a pot of white paint, twice as much light is reflected back along the axis of the incident beam as in every other direction. Later his group discovered the 'Amsterdam effect', whereby paint particles reflect the light back and forth so often that they temporarily 'capture' and delay the light. See also Professor Lagendijk's website:

Professor F.R. (Frits) Rosendaal
Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, specialising in Haemostasis and Thrombosis, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden.
Professor Rosendaal (1959) is to receive the Award for his research into hereditary forms of thrombosis (blood-clotting) and the consequences this has. He carries out research into hereditary thrombotic factors and diseases such as venous thrombosis and myocardial infarction. Professor Rosendaal has discovered new risk factors for thrombosis, such as a mutant gene which means that women with the mutation are seven times more likely to develop thrombosis than women without this gene, and the fact that women who combine this gene with taking the contraceptive pill are no less than ten times more likely to develop the condition. See also:


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