Martijn van Calmthout new head of communication at Nikhef

28 June 2018

Science journalist and writer Martijn van Calmthout will become head of communication at the Dutch National Institute for Subatomic Physics Nikhef with effect from 1 September 2018. With his arrival at Nikhef he will strengthen the existing communication team. Van Calmthout wants to focus on making Nikhef’s pre-eminent research into the foundations of the universe more broadly known.

Van Calmthout (Eindhoven, 1961) studied physics at Utrecht University. For more than 25 years he worked as a science editor at de Volkskrant newspaper and for a long period he was the chief editor for science at the newspaper. He wrote about developments in the physical sciences with a considerable eye for the everyday human aspect of doing research. In addition, he has published a series of successful popular scientific books, made radio programmes about science for broadcaster NTR and he is the host of the monthly KennisCafé in De Balie in Amsterdam.

In his new position, Martijn van Calmthout wants to give Nikhef a more recognisable and accessible public face. ‘This research area is swarming with exciting questions and insights about the foundations of the universe and is brimming with intriguing researchers. There are plenty of stories to tell and so that is what we will do.’

At the Amsterdam Science Park, Nikhef investigates the elementary building blocks of our universe, the forces between these and the structure of space and time. Research subjects include elementary particles research in particle accelerators such as those at CERN, but also research into dark matter, neutrinos or gravitational waves. Nikhef plays an important role within the Einstein Telescope project, a future observatory for gravitational waves that may be realised in South Limburg.

Van Calmthout: ‘Research into the fundamental building blocks and forces of the universe sounds abstract and far removed from society. Yet it touches upon the deepest questions about our existence and the universe in which we live. For that reason alone Nikhef should and can acquire a position at the heart of society.’

Nikhef Director Stan Bentvelsen is delighted that Martijn van Calmthout will be joining the institute “Our passion at Nikhef is developing technology and carrying out research that extend the boundaries of our knowledge. Van Calmthout is the ideal science journalist to bridge the gap between this abstract science and the general public and I am extremely pleased that Martijn will make our scientific adventure even more accessible to a wider public.”

About Nikhef
The Dutch National Institute for Subatomic Physics (Nikhef) carries out research in the area of particle physics and astroparticle physics. Nikhef is a collaboration between the institutes organisation of NWO and five universities: Radboud University, University of Groningen, University of Amsterdam, University of Utrecht and VU Amsterdam.