Other writings (but not all in English)

The opinions expressed in the articles below are my own and need not represent those of the Universiteit Utrecht.

Broedermoord aan de Boelelaan (in Dutch, the title might be translated as Fratricide at Boele Lane). 
A committee at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam consisting of  a Stochastician and an Applied Analyst  from its Mathematics Department and an Applied Analyst brought in from outside recommended that the Geometry section of that department be killed and that two new positions be created for analysts (so that the Department would then only consist of a Stochastics section and an Analysis section). This would among other things involve the sacking of  people who had been hired four years earlier, two of whom had been lured away from permanent positions elsewhere. This caused global outrage among the mathematical community. I felt concerned as a member of the Dutch mathematical community and even more so as a former member of the selection committee for these appointments. I investigated what had happened and this article is an account of my findings. It was originally written with publication in Nieuw Archief voor Wiskunde in mind, but the editors refused it on the grounds that it mentions living persons by name and out of fear that it would create antagonisms within the Dutch mathematical community. They also objected against its title. (The Nieuw Archief voor Wiskunde never devoted a single word to this episode. This I think gives some reason to reflect on the intellectual maturity, if not of that community, then at least of the editors' perception of it.)

Aan de speeltafels van NWO (in Dutch), appeared in Nieuw Archief voor Wiskunde (Dec. 2010). The `innovational research incentive scheme’ of the Netherlands Organisation  for Scientific Research (NWO) currently awards in the cluster Mathematics, Astronomy and Computer Sciences (which somewhat oddly goes under the name Exact Sciences) only one out of ten applications. For this reason NWO decided to let the relevant  panels do a short listing procedure which amounts to rejecting half the applications without any consultation of  a referee. I strongly argue against this. 
This article was also published in the volume  De Onderwijsbubbel (Dec. 2011).

Opklaringen in het Oosten (in Dutch), appeared in Nieuw Archief voor Wiskunde (June 2010). An account of my learning of the Chinese ambitions regarding research in mathematics. It involved among other things the inauguration of a mathematics research center (the Tsinghua  Mathematical Sciences Center), being on the jury of a mathematics high school competition (the Yau awards) and hearing a senior politician outlining a time table for bringing Chinese mathematics to the world’s number one spot.

Dr Pangloss neemt de maat: oordelen en beoordeeld worden (in Dutch), appeared in Nieuw Archief voor Wiskunde (Sept. 2009). The system of Peer Review, with all its imperfections, is still the best there is for evaluating our colleagues. But “noblesse oblige”: it requires a sustained effort on our part, for if we do not take this seriously and use it conscientiously, then who will?

Hoe goed is de nederlandse wiskunde? (in Dutch), appeared in Nieuw Archief voor Wiskunde (Dec. 2008). Is Dutch mathematics as good as some of us seem to think? I offer some facts which should be taken into account when attempting  to answer that question.

On the work of Philip A. Griffiths, the 2008 Brouwer Laureate, appeared in Nieuw Archief voor Wiskunde (Sept. 2008). Laudatio pronounced on the occasion of his Brouwer Lecture, July 14 2008.

Peter Slodowy (with T.A. Springer, in German), appeared in Jahresber. Dtsch. Math.-Ver. 108, No. 2, 105-117 (2006). This mathematical obituary reviews a substantial part of Slodowy’s work.

Naar een Bachelor met een eerstegraads lesbevoegdheid (in Dutch). This note was written around  2003 in my capacity of chair of the Royal Dutch Mathematical Society. It pleads for a short academic path to full teaching qualifications for high schools (such a route once existed, but was eliminated about 20 years ago for reasons I never have been able to understand).

Er is zoveel mooie wiskunde (in Dutch). Interview by Eveline Bus, on my appeared in Kennislink (Jan. 2003).

Het keerpunt van Eduard Looijenga (in Dutch) Interview by Ionica Smeets, appeared in Nieuw Archief voor Wiskunde (June 2014).