Ron Haaksman Wins J.B. Westerdijk Prize

News - 13 January 2021 - Communication TNW

Ron Haaksman, beloved teacher of physics experiments at Applied Sciences, has been awarded this year's J.B. Westerdijk Prize. Ron was nominated by the Vereniging voor Technische Physica (VvTP), the study association of Applied Physics, and received the prize during the Faculty's New Year's Breakfast on Monday, January 11, 2021.

Miriam Blaauboer, member of the board of the J.B. Westerdijk Fund Foundation, virtually presented the award to Ron during the online meeting. "Ron is known for his insightful and enthusiastic experimental demonstrations of physical phenomena during lectures in the BSc physics program," she said. "These types of phenomena span almost the entire field of physics, from mechanics to electromagnetism, and from thermodynamics to superconductivity."

Blaauboer then addressed Ron directly: "The way you explain physics in the form of demonstrations is a valuable part of many courses that is greatly appreciated by both staff and students. Colleagues say, 'Without Ron's demonstration, my lecture would only be half as effective and much less fun.' And every year students say in the surveys, 'We want more Ron.'"

Pub lecture

Annelot Broerze, President of study association VvTP, also took the floor. She said, "Physics is sometimes very abstract and Ron makes it tangible. That helps the students a lot. He also sometimes gives informal lectures in our Teepee Café, and those 'pub lectures' are always very much appreciated." The other VvTP board members thanked Ron by way of the video below:


Ron Haaksman himself also briefly addressed the audience. "I am truly honoured to receive this award," he said. "It may sound cliché, but I can honestly say that I really enjoy doing this work. But I don't want to take all the credit. You probably all know that a lot goes on behind the scenes, and at TU Delft I see a lot of people who are passionate about educating the next generation, which I find really inspiring."

Ron also expressed his appreciation for the work of others, "I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who keeps education going, from cleaners who keep the building clean and Covid-free to all the lecturers I interact with during courses," he said. "But also the support staff, the people from IT, the technicians, communications and administration. And a special thanks goes out to the VvTP for organizing events, for involving both students and faculty, and for appreciating my work. I hope to be able to do this work for many years to come!”

About the J.B. Westerdijk Prize

The J.B. Westerdijk prize is awarded to a person who has shown exceptional dedication to the education provided at Applied Physics. The prize is named after Mr. Westerdijk, a much-loved former professor. He taught physics at various faculties within TU Delft and did so with such dedication that even students who had not chosen physics as their primary subject tremendously appreciated the subject.

At the time Mr Westerdijk retired, he did not want a parting gift, but chose to use this money to establish the J.B. Westerdijk Foundation, and so the J.B. Westerdijk prize was born.

The board of the J.B. Westerdijkfonds Foundation consists of: J.T. Pronk, chairman
Dr. M. Blaauboer
Ir. K.M. van der Laan, secretary and treasurer

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