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The University of Amsterdam will award honorary doctorates to technological innovator Martin van den Brink, macroeconomist Willem Buiter, philosopher Daniel Dennett and theoretical physicist Peter Zoller.

The University of Amsterdam will award honorary doctorates to technological innovator Martin van den Brink, macroeconomist Willem Buiter, philosopher Daniel Dennett and theoretical physicist Peter Zoller. Van den Brink will be awarded a doctorate in recognition of his contribution to the enormous success of the semiconductor industry. Buiter will receive an honorary doctorate for his distinguished macroeconomic research and his contribution to macroeconomic policy. Dennett will be lauded for his pioneering role in changing the way philosophers view the human brain. Finally, Zoller will receive the honorary doctorate in recognition of his groundbreaking work on lasers and atoms. The honorary doctorates will be conferred during the UvA Dies Natalis celebration on Friday, 6 January 2012. The Dies is the start of the special ‘lustrum’ celebrations (occurring every five years), with 2012 marking the 380th anniversary of the UvA.

Martin van den Brink

M.A. van den Brink (b. 1957) has been instrumental in the immense success of the semiconductor industry for almost twenty years. According to Moore’s law dating from 1965, the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit doubles every two years as the result of technological advancement. Partly due to Van den Brink’s efforts, the resolution of equipment used to produce integrated circuits has continued to grow at the pace predicted by Moore’s law. He has achieved this by continually innovating the lithography technology used by ASML, manufacturer of equipment used to produce integrated circuits (computer chips) for the ICT industry. He has shown consistent vision and unrivalled audacity, applying these innovations on an industrial scale in the face of scientific scepticism about their practical applicability. These qualities make Van den Brink one of the most important proponents of innovation and valorisation in the Netherlands. His efforts have also indirectly helped promote scientific research, as valorisationcannot exist without scientific breakthroughs. Thanks to Van den Brink's innovations, the semiconductor industry is now capable of etching ever-finer patterns on a square centimetre of silicon. As a result, the industry can continue to put new generations of computers, mobile phones and other ICT equipment on the market. Van den Brink’s work has also played a key role in improving the Netherlands' standing among multinational companies and hi-tech sector investors. Van den Brink has worked at ASML since 1984. In recent years, he has served as the company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Product & Technology Officer. Van den Brink studied Physics at the University of Twente.

Professor of Experimental Physics Bart Noordam has been appointed honorary supervisor.

Willem Buiter

Since obtaining his doctorate at Yale University in 1975, Professor W.H. Buiter (b. 1949) is regarded as one of the world’s leading macroeconomics researchers. His work covers the full spectrum of macroeconomics, spanning from monetary policy to budgetary policy, intergenerational effects and the sustainability of public finances. His research on the coordination of macroeconomic policy - a subject that has once again become the focus of fervent debates - caused a stir in the 1980s. Buiter actively participates in the international policy debate. From 2007 to 2009, he did this primarily through a blog in the Financial Times. Over the past two decades, he has been actively engaged in the debate on European monetary unification and has regularly criticised its institutional structure. Buiter has played a key role in the development of macroeconomic policy both in his capacity as a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee – the senior body responsible for monetary policy decisions in the United Kingdom – and as chief economist and special advisor to the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London. Buiter also worked as a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the University of Cambridge, Yale University and the University of Bristol. He is currently chief economist for Citigroup, one of the world's largest financial institutions.

Professor Roel Beetsma, Professor of Macroeconomics specialising in European macroeconomic policy is the honorary supervisor.

Daniel Dennett

Professor D.C. Dennett (b. 1942) is one of the world’s leading contemporary philosophers. He has enjoyed a high profile career in the fields of philosophy and cognitive science. Dennett rose to international prominence on the basis of his provocative and controversial theory that human consciousness and free will are the result of physical processes in the brain. The ensuing debate that continues to this day fundamentally changed the way in which philosophers view the human mind. As a result, neurocognitive facts have become relevant to the core themes of philosophy, such as the nature of human knowledge. The interdisciplinary nature of Dennett’s work has helped build bridges between philosophy and the fields of neuroscience, linguistics, artificial intelligence and psychology. Dennett is University Professor and Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, and serves as co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He studied Philosophy at Harvard and obtained his doctorate at the University of Oxford. He has been affiliated with Tufts University since 1971. He also served as visiting professor at Harvard University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Oxford, the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and the London School of Economics and Political Science. Dennett is a prolific writer, and has authored well-known works such The Mind's I, Consciousness Explained and Darwin's Dangerous Idea. He has published over 300 scientific articles on various aspects of the human mind, in journals such as Artificial Intelligence, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Poetics Today and Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. He was appointed a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1987.

Professor Johan van Benthem, University Professor of Pure and Applied Logic, is the honorary supervisor.

Professor Dennett will be participating in a colloquium and giving a public lecture the day after the Dies Natalis. Registration for these events is necessary. Please see the links below for further information.

Peter Zoller

Theoretical physicist Professor P. Zoller (b. 1952) has conducted pioneering research on lasers and atoms. He contributed to fundamental developments in the field of quantum optics and has helped bridge the fields of quantum information and solid state physics. Working in collaboration with Spanish physicist Ignacio Cirac, he developed a design for a quantum computer based on ion traps. The design offers a key advantage in that it can be applied to larger systems. Zoller and his colleagues also developed an innovative quantum simulator. The underlying system of ultracold atoms trapped in an optical lattice provides insight into previously uncharted behaviour of specific materials such as high-temperature superconductors. Zoller studied Physics at the University of Innsbruck in Austria where he obtained his doctorate in 1977. He was Professor of Physics and fellow at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA) and worked at the University of Colorado Boulder Physics department. He has served as professor at the University of Innsbruck since 1994, where he also headed the Institute of Theoretical Physics in the second half of the 1990s. He subsequently served as visiting professor at many institutes, including Harvard University and Tsinghua University. Zoller has been scientific director of the Austrian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) since 2003. He works closely with researchers from the University of Amsterdam's Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute.

Professor Jook Walraven, professor of Experimental Statistical Physics, is the honorary supervisor.