NWO grants for two innovative Nikhef researchers

4 August 2023

Science council NWO has awarded Veni grants to two physicists who will be working at Nikhef. They can spend the next three years further developing their ideas about pairs of black holes and about new particles.

This was announced in The Hague on Thursday. In total, NWO awarded Veni grants of up to 240 thousand euros to 188 researchers in this round. Veni is part of NWO’s Talent Program that aims to stimulate innovation and curiosity for young scientists.

Lucas Gráf is a theoretical physicist, currently working at the University of California at Berkeley. He investigates particle processes in which the number of leptons does not remain the same. Leptons are elementary particles like the electron. In existing particle theory, the lepton number is conserved.

Theorist Gráf will explore what such processes might look like in the lab or cosmological observations. Such signals would mean that the Standard Model needs to be modified. Graf will work closely with Jordy de Vries of Nikhef and the UvA.

Antoni Ramos Buades researches colliding black holes in the universe. These are studied through observations of the gravitational waves caused by the collision. Ramos Buades will develop techniques to extract information from such space-time oscillations about eccentric orbits of the colliding black holes, which orbit each other. This is important for understanding how such pairs of black holes form.

Ramos Buades, currently affiliated with Max Planck’s Albert Einstein Institute in Potsdam, collaborates with Maria Haney of the Gravitational Wave group at Nikhef.