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Niels de Winter wins Eos Pipette 2021

Climate change affects temperature extremes. To gain insight into how this happened, scientists reconstruct climate from the distant past. These reconstructions are usually not very detailed. They often cover periods of several thousand to millions of years.

Niels de Winter (VUB) analyzes the shells to improve these reconstructions. He looks at the layers of growth on the fossil shells of mussels, oysters and cockles. These layers show how the temperature has fluctuated throughout the year.

De Winter also grows oysters, mussels and cockles. These help him to better interpret the data from the fossils. “This way, we see a snapshot of the climate millions of years ago,” de Winter says.

With this award, the science journal Eos and Young Academy honors the most promising young researcher of the moment. Chair of the jury Karen Mikes chose De Winter as the winner. The audience award goes to speech therapist Cassandra Alighieri (University of Ghent).

De Winter will receive a work by plastic artist Athar Jaber, a member of the Youth Academy.

These are the winners:

Speech therapist Cassandra Alighieri (Ghent University) is looking at speech and expression therapies in children with cleft lip and palate.

– Physicist Robin Bunye (Hasselt University) wants to replace the polluting materials in our electronics with biodegradable bacteria.

– Geologist Niels de Winter (Free University of Brussels) Revising climate models by analyzing fossil shells.

– Genetics Jana Helsen (KU Leuven) investigates the evolutionary impact of genetic defects.

– biological engineer Emile Michaels KU Leuven is assembling a toolbox of proteins that can be used against new and emerging viruses.

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