The faculty of Earth and Life Sciences of VU University Amsterdam is one of the world’s leading authorities on climate research. Our scientists work together on gaining more knowledge on the changing climate, each from within their own field. Earth scientists and biologists study present and past climate changes, whereas geo-environmental scientists and hydrologists analyze the influence of humans. Environmental scientists pose social economical questions: should we continue to live in areas where floods are to be expected?
Is overweight among young people best prevented by targeted TV commercials, by serving healthier food in school canteens, or by giving pupils three hours of extra PE lessons a week? While overweight can be solved by developing an anti-fat pill, health scientists are also looking to other possible solutions. These include higher taxes on fatty foods or modifying the residential environment to include more play facilities for children.
The trend is that young people are drinking more alcohol, more often, and at an ever younger age. This seems odd, given that a growing body of research is showing that alcohol consumption at an early age is more harmful to brain development than had previously been thought. Exactly how much harm does alcohol consumption inflict on young people, and how we discourage it? This is just the sort of issue that lends itself to the broad vision of Health and Life Sciences students.
How does the Earth ‘work’? Is there any chance of an earthquake in the Netherlands? How long will there be clean drinking water for everybody? Earth scientists study mountains, fossils, minerals, icecaps, rivers and oceans in order to understand how the earth fits together as a system. Whether you are delving into geological history or examining present-day consequences, understanding System Earth is the key.
Genomics pioneer Craig Venter declared in 1998: "We are now starting the century of biology". Thanks to the genomics revolution, we now know a great deal more about the evolutionary connection between humans, animals and plants. And this evolution is still in progress everywhere around us! Which discoveries are still to be expected? What is the relation between evolution and philosophy of life? Evolution is a central theme in the biology programme at VU University Amsterdam.
- IVM researcher presents her circular economy vision to MEPs
- Economic trade now trumps geography in determining island biodiversity
- 2014 SENSE PhD Award for Harro van Asselt
- Eddy Moors Endowed Professor of Water and Climate
- Climate hydrologist Diego Miralles receives NWO Veni grant