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Q&A

1.

The first experiment I ever did was... ... stacking pots and pans as a baby boy. I was too young then to remember it now, but my parents often told me in later life how I’d crawl up to the kitchen cupboard, remove all their pots and pans and stack them systematically, such that they’d fit exactly, one on top of the other. Fully focused on a trial-and-error type of task that kept me busy and, apparently, fascinated.

2.

My constant source of inspiration is...

5.

If I had to switch roles with a famous person for one day, I would choose to be… ... either Health Minister Hugo de Jonge or Chris Pratt :-)

6.

I am most creative when…

... my extraordinary husband. Always composed, wise and compassionate. We climb the heights of life together.

... I let go. So often I try to squeeze out some text or other. Deadlines, deadlines. I always get frustrated; it never works when I let my calendar be the judge of when I should write. I need to wait and let go. Then, all of a sudden, I sit down and create.

3.

7.

One book that I recommend to all young scientists is.. ... In Praise of Imperfection (1987) by Rita Levi-Montalcini. That book had a huge influence on me during a particular period of my life, almost as much as the author herself. I refer to her in my Letter to my Students (2016): “Devotion, self-confidence, serenity and courage. Those are the four character traits that neuroscientist and Nobel Prize laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini considered necessary for overcoming any problem in life.”

4.

If I headed the Ministry of Science the first thing I would change is…

JEROEN GEURTS is professor of Translational Neuroscience and Chair of the Department of Anatomy & Neurosciences of VUmc. He is chairman of funding agency ZonMw and cofounder of Brein in Beeld, which aims to translate neuroscience to society.

increasingly complex societal problems demand our collaboration across disciplinary borders and beyond personal gain. We will need to develop different skill sets.

... our system of (e)valuation. Scientists are running a constant rat race. Fierce competition has driven us to great heights but has also wearied us beyond merit. If we intend to make a difference in climate change, global health or migration & integration issues, as we without a doubt ought to, then we need all hands on deck. These

If I could choose my field of study and university once again I would choose… ... neuroscience and philosophy again! Only now I’d study them both simultaneously.

8.

When I am not being a scientist I am mostly… ... I don’t think I’m ever not a scientist. Even when I’m an executive, teacher, politician, administrator, a friend, husband or son. Scientist is who I am.

Profile for Amsterdam Science

Amsterdam Science magazine issue 9  

Amsterdam Science gives Master’s students, PhD and postdoc researchers as well as staff a platform for communicating their latest and most i...

Amsterdam Science magazine issue 9  

Amsterdam Science gives Master’s students, PhD and postdoc researchers as well as staff a platform for communicating their latest and most i...

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