Veni grants for four promising Nikhef researchers

16 December 2021

Four young promising scientists from Nikhef receive a Veni grant from NWO. They will receive up to 280 thousand euros to further develop new research ideas.

In this round NWO awarded 89 Veni grants in the NWO Domein Science (ENW) and Health Care Research and Medical Sciences (ZonMW). At Nikhef this involves research into gravitational waves, new particles, dark matter and phase transitions in the early universe.

Two Nikhef researchers from the LHCb experiment at CERN receive an NWO grant. Andrii Usachov, from VU University Amsterdam and Nikhef, wants to use the detector, partly built by Nikhef, at the LHC accelerator to search for dark matter particles, which are invisible in the universe but do give gravity. Jacco de Vries, from Maastricht University and Nikhef, searches for a new force of nature in the decay of B mesons, for which the experiment previously found cautious indications.

Theoretician Jorinde van de Vis, now at DESY in Hamburg, works on the question whether the absence of anti-matter in the current universe could be the result of a phase transition in the earliest universe. She is looking for effects that could be tested via gravitational waves or particle experiments.

Anna Green, now at the University of Florida, will work on techniques to minimise small size disturbing optical defects in gravitational wave detectors such as the future Einstein Telescope. Such detectors use lasers and mirrors to search for vibrations in space and time, caused by colliding black holes in the universe.