Physics@Veldhoven 2020: the Art of Physics

6 February 2020

The annual physics conference Physics@Veldhoven took place on 21 and 22 January. This annual conference is the largest of its kind in the Netherlands and includes topics from all areas of physics. Over 1,700 visitors came to discuss the current state of affairs in physics in and outside of their own field of expertise. Thanks to this year’s theme, ‘the art of physics’, the conference also highlighted the areas where physics and art intersect.

The plenary lectures were given by Andrea Liu (University of Pennsylvania), Heino Falcke (Radboud University) and Rupert Huber (Technical University of Munich). The conference also hosted more than 200 other lectures and hundreds of poster presentations. This year’s new addition was the exhibition floor Physics Meets Industry, a part of the fair where businesses and visitors could meet to network or to find partners for future collaborations.

Art Experiences

The conference included a number of experiences, such as the QuantumDraw! game where participants had to solve quantum-mechanical problems. Other experiences gave visitors the opportunity to have their portrait painted by an AI, 'plant' a tree using algorithms or merge with a pottery robot. Artist Ana Oosting gave a workshop entitled ‘Soft Robotics Art’ and there was a live performance from the HERTZ project.

NWO Physics Prizes

On Tuesday evening, 21 January, the NWO Physics Prizes were presented. Ron Heeren received the award for best knowledge transfer in physics. His design for a high-tech molecular microscope allows surgeons operating on cancer patients to see if the edges of the tumour tissue they have cut away are clean or not during the operation. Hugo Doeleman accepted the Dutch Research Council’s Thesis Award 2019 and Federica Burla, writer of the top scientific publication, was the recipient of the prestigious Minerva Prize. All the winners presented their award-winning research in separate sessions.

The NWO Physics Prizes were presented for the final time as the NWO Domain Science switches to a new range of awards. For more information please click here.

Poster awards

As always, this year’s scientific posters formed an important part of the conference. Participants competed for two awards: the Physics@Veldhoven Poster Prize and the Physics@Veldhoven Science Communication Poster Prize.

  • The Physics@Veldhoven Poster Prize was awarded to Sytze de Graaf (University of Groningen).
  • The Physics@Veldhoven Science Communication Poster Prize was won by Sophie Tschirpke (Delft University of Technology).


Do you want to relive the past conference?

Check out the photos from Physics@Veldhoven 2020 of Tuesday 21 January and Wednesday 22 January.

The next Physics@Veldhoven will take place on 19 and 20 January 2021.

Source: NWO