Two Vidi grants for Faculty of Science

Science researchers Sander Veraverbeke (Earth Sciences) and Jasmin Christian Blanchette (Computer Science) both receive a NWO Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros.

06/01/2018 | 12:27 PM

Fires pushing trees North
Sander Veraverbeke investigates forest fires. His project hypothesizes that fires create opportunities for tree species to move North, and he will analyse effects of these changes on global climate. He will do research in northern regions such as Alaska, Canada and Siberia. Especially in Siberia (Russia) relatively few measurements have been made, so these data are desperately needed.

In these northern regions, forest fires are mainly caused by lightning, and due to climate change there is more lightning, and therefore more fires. “Moreover, high-latitude regions are warming faster than the rest of the world”, explains Veraverbeke. “This causes more fires, and ensures that the ideal climate zone for northern tree species is located more northerly. So where some thirty years ago only coniferous forest could grow, can now grow deciduous forest. And where previously nothing grew, the tundra, there is now more and more coniferous forest.”

Computer-checked proofs for mathematicians
Jasmin Christian Blanchette develops proof assistants: software that helps researchers and practitioners write correct proofs. His Vidi project focuses on developing formal libraries and tools for supporting number theory. He will collaborate with VU researcher Sander Dahmen (Vidi 2016) and other number theorists at the VU to make the software usable for working mathematicians.