News of the Week: 13-19 November

What's happened in week 47? A potential new faculty in Friesland, RUG computer system hacked, NAM criticism and more.

11th faculty in Friesland

thumb-UCFThe RUG may be getting a new faculty – in Friesland. The university is considering making the University Campus Friesland (UCF) the RUG’s eleventh faculty. The RUG, the province of Friesland and the municipality of Leeuwarden are discussing that possibility.

This summer, the University began a facility in Leeuwarden for the international master’s programme Multilingualism as well as a Water Management master, partially financed by Provincie Friesland. The RUG has nine traditional faculties, and last year, the University College Groningen became the tenth.

RUG computer system hacked

thumb-hackRUG computer systems were hacked last week and used to attack websites and computer networks. Research systems were targeted, but ‘we have pulled them out of the entire system, which has helped the problems’, says CIT technical director Haije Wind.

Researchers not updating their computers and therefore leaving the network vulnerable may be the cause. ‘We’re going to analyze how the systems were hacked, fix the leak and put the systems back in the network’, Wind says. Shutting down the entire network is not an option, since academics must be able to access it to conduct their research.

Groningers critical of NAM

thumb-namGroningers question the openness and honesty of NAM, the Dutch Petroleum Company, who is responsible for the extraction of natural gas in Groningen. NAM asked the RUG to conduct independent research into what provincial residents think about the company and the gas industry here.

The research shows that Groningers, especially those living in earthquake-prone areas, are very critical of NAM. Residents remain concerned about the earthquakes caused by the gas extraction: they damage houses and decrease property value. The quakes also lead to more stress and lower quality of life and have created a negative reputation for the province.

Smarter than Einstein

thumb-einsteinPhD candidate Jacob Noordmans’ research brings Einstein’s theory of relativity, which assumes that the speed of light is constant dependent on the speed of the observer, into question.

Noordmans’ research demonstrates that time is not always constant, but only when travelling near the speed of light. That is only possible for small particles like muons. Noordmans used a variation on the theory of relativity to calculate the lifespan of moving muons based on the lifespan of stationary muons. ‘With the data we have used for our calculations, our model makes more sense than the theory of relativity.’

Dozens ticketed during traffic stop

thumb-fietscontroleDuring an hour-long bike check at the Oosterweg last week, 24 cyclists were ticketed for failing to have headlights and taillights – many of them were students. The cyclists were fined 62 euros if they didn’t have lights for their bike.

Motorcycle police agents Hans de Groot and Gerrit Spijksma conducted the traffic stop near the Oosterbrug. They say that students are less likely than the average citizen to have appropriate lighting. As the days get shorter and the weather worsens as winter approaches, bikes become nearly invisible in dark and foggy conditions without lights.