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The 2020 Physica Award has been awarded to physicist Martin van Hecke (Leiden Institute of Physics (LION) and the Amsterdam AMOLF).

Martin van Hecke, Leiden University, AMOLF Amsterdam

Van Hecke is one of the most innovative researchers in the field of metamaterials. He studies the surprisingly complex behaviour of seemingly simple systems. Serious physics and everyday problems come together in his work. His work is an example of how fundamental and applied research can go hand in hand. In 2019 he developed ‘programmable origami’, for instance, which was published in Nature Physics. He receives the prize for the excellence and originality of his research, the innovative character for Dutch physics, his efforts for the younger generation and his excellent outreach.


Watch a short Youtube video on Van Hecke's research on programmable origami: Puzzlegami: alphabet of 140 puzzle-pieces programs foldable origami


Peter Dieleman, Niek Vasmel, Scott Waitukaitis, Martin van Hecke, Jigsaw puzzle design of pluripotent origami, Nature Physics, 10 Oktober 2019, doi: 10.1038/s41567-019-0677-3

Eminent physicist

The Physica Award is awarded yearly to an eminent physicist working in the Netherlands, after consultation with representatives of the physics community in the Netherlands, by a jury consisting of the chair of the Nederlandse Natuurkundige Vereniging, the Stichting Physica and a previous winner. 

Van Hecke will receive the award during the FYSICA 2020 conference on Friday 17 April at Twente University. There, he will deliver the Physica lecture. As Martin van Hecke is an excellent speaker, this is expected to be a great story.

Press release (in Dutch) by NNV