Prize for thesis on crickets

Slovenian student Uroš Cerkvenik wrote the best Wageningen thesis in 2014. The student of Biology received the Thesis Prize during the Dies Natalis (Founders Day) on 9 March for his study on the hearing of crickets.
Linda van der Nat

Every year the Wageningen University Fund and alumni association KLV reward the best final theses in each of Wageningen’s main fields with 500 euros and a bronze statue. The stories of the four winners can be read on Resource-online. nl. The overall best thesis is picked out at Founders Day.

And that was Uroš, who had studied how the vibrations of the cricket’s eardrum change when the direction or pitch of the sound changes. According to the jury he had done an ‘excellent’ job. Their report praises the complex and innovative experiments carried out by the biology student (including soundproof rooms for his test subjects). The thesis, said the jury, also has important implications for the development of small acoustic sensors and is a good example of new insights from evolutionary biology.

Cerkvenik was not the only prizewinner at Founders Day. Microbiologist Daan Swarts received the triennial Research Award for his publication on the spectacular discovery of an immune system in micro-organisms. His research opens up entire new routes towards targeted adaptation of DNA, from that of bacteria and fungi to that of plant and human cells. The jury called his research a ‘breakthrough’. It could create new opportunities to cure hereditary human diseases. Swarts received a trophy, a sculpture and a cheque for 2500 euros.

Photo: Sven Menschel

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