A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
On September 1st each year Leiden’s faculty of Science opens the new academic year usually with a small celebration. This year however was somewhat special – Leiden Science is now 200 years old! Well technically science at Leiden is almost as old as the Uni itself, remember it was established in 1575 (and the observatory in the 1600s), however with the new constitution laid out in 1815 Leiden got an official science faculty. Before that the professors were knowns as philosophers. So this evening we had a nice celebration with around 400 staff/students gathered at Gorlaeus.
The evening was hosted by the pianist Gregor Bak. He was very witty along with being musically talented of course. He gave a nice musical introduction to the remarkable 200 years of successful science at Leiden paying tributes to names such as Onnes, Tinbergen and several others.
Gregor also demonstrated how a slight change to a note (what he called ‘dropping’) could change the mood from being that of elation to that of sadness. He joked how this was going to be synonymous to the lineup of the guests of the evening i.e. the dropping standards/qualifications as our speakers went from being the Dean of the faculty to the Mayor of the city 🙂 .
We also saw the launch of a (Lustrum) book with stories of the people who have contributed over the last two centuries and its author Dirk van Delft of the Museum Boerhaave said he spent several late-nights in compiling the book and still managed to remain happily married.
Finally we ended the celebration with a song written by Gregor which included a chorus of ‘We are Science’.