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					                                                                          Verschijnt 14-daags,    België-Belqique
                                                                           uitgez. juli en aug.         P.B.
                                                                                                  3500 Hasselt 1
                                                                             Afgiftekantoor           12/39
                                                                               Hasselt 1




April 2001   *    international magazine of/revista internacional de la K.U.Leuven




                 Leuven in stamps
                                                                                                                                   EDITORIAL




April 2001                                              TEN T
                                                    CON campuskrantS                                                                             Dear Alumni,

                                                                                                                                                    This is already the fifth issue of Campus-
                                                                                                                                               krant International. Too young for a real cele-
                                                                                                                                               bration, but mature enough to face the future
                                                                                                                                               with increasing self-confidence. Campuskrant
                                                                                                                                               International will keep you informed about
Campuskrant International
                                                                                                                                               life back here in Leuven, where you spent such
International magazine of K.U.Leuven
                                                                                                                                               an important period of your own life.
Editorial Board                                                                                                               It has been a year full of celebrations - and many more still to
Toon Boon, Ine Van Houdenhove
                                                                                                                          come - to commemorate the 575th anniversary of our university.
(editors-in-chief), Ronny Vanden-
broele                                                                                                                    The Belgian king visited the K.U.Leuven at the beginning of this
                                                                                                                          academic year. February 2 nd, the Patron Saint’s Day, was clearly a
Editorial Committee
                                                                                                                          highlight of the academic year. On this occasion we not only gran-
Amy Crawshaw, Trees Deloddere,
Jack Dick, John Hymers, Ludo Mey-                                                                                         ted an unusually large number of Honorary Doctoral degrees, but
vis, Isabel Penne, Marta Pertegas Sen-                                                                                    were ourselves honored with the presence of the rector of U.C.L .
der, Beatrice Navarro de la Torre-
                                                                                                                          and several hundred of its professors and students. A fter growing
Schotsmans, Miles Smit, P aula van
Eupen-Lavrysen, Wouter Verbeylen                                                                                          apart for thirty years, both sister universities expressed their
                                                                                                                          strong intention to move towards increasing collaboration in the
Address
                                                                                                                          years to come.
Campuskrant International
Communications Office                                                                                                         An issue that is more and more on everyone’s mind at the uni-
Oude Markt 13                                                                                                             versity is the upcoming introduction of the bachelor-master sys-
3000 Leuven
                                                                                                                          tem within the framework of the European harmonization effort
phone +32-16-32 40 18
fax +32-16-32 40 1 4                                                                                                      initiated by the Sorbonne and Bologna Statements. Study program-
e-mail:                                                                                                                   mes are being thoroughly reshuffled and we anticipate becoming
Ine.VanHoudenhove@dcom.kuleu-
                                                                                                                          much more internationalized than ever before. But that’s nothing
ven.ac.be
                                          photo: Rob Stevens                                                              new to you: after all, you were the international presence in Leu-
Also on the Internet                                                                                                      ven. The process of internationalization continues to move for-
http://www.kuleuven.ac.be/ck/
                                          3 Patron Saint’s Day                                                            ward. Campuskrant International will keep you posted.
Steering Committee Campuskrant
Ronny Vandenbroele (president), Jan             On February 2nd, the Patron Saint’s Day, seven Honor-                     Professor Guido Langouche, Vice-rector K.U.Leuven
Bauwens, Jan De Vuyst, Jan Elen, Erik
                                                ary Doctoral degrees were granted. This anniversary
Gobin, Chloé Heerman, Els Heylen,
Bernard Himpens, Carlos Steel, Paul             year, the Rector and several professors and students of
Thurman, Jos Vaesen, Luc Vanquic-               the Université Catholique de Louvain, our French-
kenborne, Jan Verhaeghe, Marc Wael-
                                                speaking sibling university, faced winter to commemo-                        Estimados alumnos,
kens
                                                rate with K.U.L euven the founding of the university in
Contributors                                    1425.                                                                         Esta es la 5 a edición de Campuskrant International. Muy joven
Jack Dick, John Hymers, Nadia Koeck,
                                                                                                                          para una verdadera celebración, pero lo suficientemente maduro
Ludo Meyvis, Beatrice Navarro de la
Torre-Schotsmans, Miles Smit, P aula                                                                                      como para encarar el futuro con una confianza creciente. Campus-
van Eupen-Lavrysen, Anouk Vanherf,                  3 K.U.Leuven, the early years                                         krant International desea mantenerle informado acerca de la vida
Karla Venken
                                                   The remarkable history of our Founding Bull                            aquí en Lovaina, en donde pasó una importante etapa de su vida.
Layout                                                                                                                        Fue un año pleno de celebraciones - y vendrán aún más - para
Total Design Belgium                                4 Vesta focuses on university hospitality                             conmemorar el 575 aniversario de nuestra Universidad. El Rey de
                                                    How to welcome our guests                                             Bélgica visitó la K.U.Leuven al comienzo del año académico. El 2
Photography
Rob Stevens, Michaël De Lausnay                                                                                           de febrero, el día del Santo Patrono, fue uno de los puntos culmi-
                                                    4 El proyecto Vesta                                                   nantes de este año académico. En esta ocasión, no solamente se
Circulation
                                                    La acogida de huéspedes extranjeros                                   otorgaron una gran cantidad de grados de Doctor Honorario, sino
10.000 copies
                                                                                                                          que también contamos con la notable presencia del rector de la
Print                                               5 Acuerdos Bilaterales Selectivos para Latinoamérica                  U.C.L. y varios cientos de sus profesores y estudiantes. Después
Van In, L ier
                                                    Programa de becas doctorales                                          de treinta años de separación; ambas universidades hermanas,
Publisher                                                                                                                 expresaron su clara intención de volver a aumentar su colabora-
Ronny Vandenbroele, Oude Markt 13,                  6 Study information - e-Newsletter - Alumni                           ción en los años venideros.
3000 Leuven, Belgium
                                                                                                                              Un asunto que llama cada vez más la atención de todas las
Copyright articles                                 7 Leuven research safeguards the world                                 personas en la Universidad, es la próxima introducción del siste-
Articles from this edition can be used              Rijndael, new standard for encoding                                   ma de bachelor-master, en el marco de un esfuerzo de armoniza-
only with permission of the publisher
                                                                                                                          ción europeo, iniciado por las Actas de la Sorbona y Bologna. Los
Subscription                                       8 Caravan routes discovered in the Dakhla o asis, Egypt                programas de estudio van a ser cuidadosamente reagrupados, y
Alumni from K.U.L euven can ask for                 In the footsteps of Harkuf?                                           esperamos que sean mucho más internacionalizados que antes.
their free copy by phoning, faxing,
                                                                                                                          Pero esto no es nuevo para vosotros: después de todo, vosotros
mailing to Véronique Limbourg
(address: see above). If you would like             8 Art and sc ience fuse together                                      erais la presencia internacional en Lovaina. Campuskrant Interna-
to contribute financially to the alumni             Living jewels                                                         tional les va a mantener informados acerca del desarrollo de este
association Alumni Lovanienses
                                                                                                                          proceso de internacionalización.
International, you can transfer your
gift to bank account 000-0136526-47
of Alumni Lovanienses, Naamsestraat                                                                                       Profesor Guido Langouche, Vice-rector K.U.Leuven
63, 3000 L euven, Belgium.

If you no longer wish to receive Cam-
puskrant International, please notify
the editor.

                                                    Cover illustration - K.U.L euven anniversary stamp


                                                   The 575th anniversary of the foundation of the university of Leu-       Leuven’) in Ottignies, in the Walloon part of the country. Both
                                                   ven is being celebrated with a special stamp. A very remarkable         K.U.Leuven and UCL kept as their emblem the Sedes Sapientiae.
                                                   stamp, because it sort of contains a historical error. For no histo-    Stamp collectors have already derived great pleasure from the
                                                   rian will assert that 575 years ago, the Katholieke Universiteit        university of Leuven. In the past, the Central Library and the
                                                   Leuven - or the Université Catholique de Louvain - was founded.         University Hall figured on stamps, as did great Leuven scholars
                                                   Both universities - rightfully - celebrate the foundation in 1425 of    such as Vesalius, Mercator, Erasmus and Lemaître. At the 550th
                                                   a university in L euven. In 1968 t wo independent universities ori-     anniversary of the university a stamp was presented with the
                                                   ginated from this university: the Dutch-speaking Katholieke             Sedes as it occurs on the university seal.
                                                   Universiteit Leuven, which remained in Leuven, in the Flemish           On the new anniversary stamp the sculpture of Maria (1442) is
                                                   part of the country, and the French-speaking Université Catholi-        depicted, a statue from the Church of Saint Peter that models for
                                                   que de Louvain (UCL), which moved to Louvain-la-Neuve (‘New             Sedes Sapientiae since 1927.




                                                    2 C A M P U S K R A N T I N T E R N AT I O N A L   April 2001
NEWS




575, and still going strong

Patron Saint’s Feast
                                                                No Patron Saint’s Feast without honorary doctors. This            scholarly achievements in
Ludo Meyvis                                                     year, seven distinguished scientists were given K.U.L eu-         soil science, but also for his
                                                                ven’s top award, the doctorate honoris causa.                     successful development pro-
This year’s Patron Saint’s Feast was something special.             Professor Hans U. Gerber (Lausanne) was honored               grams in sub-Saharan A frica.
The 575th anniversary of our university was the central         for his actuarial research, which integrates financial,                Professor Robert Stead-
theme, from the opening words of Cardinal Danneels in           insurance and mathematical theories. He has written a             ward (University of Alberta)
the high mass to the closing remarks by Rector Ooster-          number of textbooks that have become the de facto stan-           is a distinguished scientist in the field of sports for han-
linck. To underline the special character of this day, sever-   dard in actuarial study programs.                                 dicapped people. He is best known for his chairmanship
al hundred guests from Louvain-la-Neuve honored our                 Professor Paul Kennedy (Yale) is a renowned histo-            of the International Paralympic Committee, a grouping
university with their presence. In their speeches, the rec-     rian, who has published extensively on the rise and fall          of 160 countries that organizes the Paralympics.
tors of K.U.Leuven and UCL stressed the importance of           of modern ‘empires’. He is cur rently focusing on (redefi-             Professor Robert J. Sternberg (Yale), finally, was
future collaboration.                                           ned) security issues, such as (over)population, aids, eth-        honored for his work in the field of cognitive psychology,
                                                                nic violence etc.                                                 in which he argues that intelligence encompasses much
                                                                    Professor Michel Mayor (Observatoire de Genève) is            more than strictly ‘intellectual’ components: the social,
                                                                the first to have established proof of the existence of pla-      practical and other forms of intelligence must also be
                                                                nets orbiting around other stars than our own sun. His            taken into consideration.
                                                                approach has led to the discovery of already more than
                                                                50 extra-solar planets.
                                                                    Professor Elisabeth Nabel (National Heart, Lung and
                                                                Blood Institute, NIH) was given our university’s highest
                                                                honor for her gene therapy in the treatment of certain
                                                                cardiovascular diseases. Recently, she has been concen-
                                                                trating on the study of the cell cycle and on methods for
                                                                intervening in the cell’s development.
                                                                    Professor Pedro Sanchez (International Center for
                                                                Research in Agroforestry) was honored not only for his




The adventuresome life of our Founding Bull
                                                                                                                                 photo: Rob Stevens

Ludo Meyvis/Translation John Hymers - Miles Smit




                            If you think archival documents, charters and            date the position of the town. The cloth industry was as good as dead, and Brussels threatened to
                            papal administration are supremely boring, you           displace Leuven as the leading cit y of Brabant, thanks to the preference that the Burgundians
                            need to have a chat with Marc Nelissen. He’s the         showed for our future capital. So Leuven built a new Town Hall, a n ew Sint-Pieterskerk, and
                            adjunct-archivist of the K.U.L euven and last year,      sought alternatives for the textile industry - and tried to breathe new life into the city with a Uni-
                            together with Professors Van Mingroot and Roe-           versity.”
                            giers, he published the definitive book on the Papal         “Willem Neve may have made the trip to Rome alone. Once there, he had the support of the
                            Bull decreeing the foundation of our University.         representative of the Duke of Brabant, who was in Rome to plead with the Pope on account of
                                                                                     Jan IV’s marital woes. Jan IV was wedded to Jacoba van B eieren, a marriage which, in the context
                            Marc Nelissen’s haunt is the University Archives,        of the Burgundian expansionism of this period, had become less opportune.”
                            six floors up in the Central Library. But his wor-
                            king territory covers pretty much the whole buil-        Papal strategies
                            ding. He lures us into the Reserve of the Library,       “Various requests were directed to the pope through the papal administration, the most impor-
                            where old documents and valuable works are pre-          tant of which naturally was for formal permission to found a university. This permission was
served. In the corner one finds the safe, with                                                                                       granted in the Founding Bull, dated 9 December
special climate control for the museum pie-                                                                                          1425. Since papal charters were invariably dated the
ces. Letters from Erasmus, a few breviaries ...                                                                                      day on which the pope approved the requested
why do I suddenly feel like a child in a candy                                                                                       favor, December 9th is the formal founding date of
shop?                                                                                                                                our university. On that same day, three other bulls
                                                                                                                                     were also approved that regulated a number of juri-
The university in my hands                                                                                                           dical details regarding the foundation.”
Way back in the r eserve are the shelves hol-                                                                                            “But not everything was granted. The pope did
ding the charters, most of which still need                                                                                          not approve until 1427 the petitions, or supplica-
to be restored. These are administrative and                                                                                         tions, that requested additional juridical privileges
juridical texts, the content of which only a                                                                                         completing those of 1425. And, properly speaking,
trained eye can decipher.                                                                                                            the founding process did not end until 1432. Only
“Yes, that’s them ...” Three documents, sig-                                                                                         then did the pope approve the founding of the
ned and dated December 9th, 1425. “Those                                                                                             Theology Faculty alongside the original four: Arts
are three of the four authentic documents in                                                                                         (Philosophy and Natural Science), Medicine, Civil
which the Pope stipulates the details of the                                                                                         Law, and Canon Law. This approval did not come
establishment of our University.”                                                                                                    from Martin V, but from his successor, Eugene IV.
    I’m holding the scrolls, and it must be                                                                                          Martin V was probably hesitant because he feared
said the charters aren’t exactly beautiful.                                                                                          that Leuven could become a center of opposition to
They are about the size of two A4 sheets,                                                                                            papal authority. Do not forget that this was precise-
and dangling at the bottom is the Papal Seal, in lead. “Martin V. That was the       ly the time in which the German Hussites were advancing.”
Pope with whom the Leuven authorities had to deal to get permission to                   “Willem Neve did not fail to think about his own future. As the director of the town school,
establish a university. The initiative came from the Leuven town elders, may-        after all, his income would decrease with the establishment of the university. So, he arranged that
be foremost from the Chapter, a group of canons who provided for the public          the bull name him as rector, with absolute power, for five years. When he arrived back in Leuven,
worship at the Sint-Pieterskerk. The director of the Chapter, Willem Neve,           the town council was less than thrilled, but they could not directly oppose a papal decree. In
was responsible for education. Whether he can truly be considered the spiri-         1426, the local authorities indeed managed to arrange that he give up his rectorship - but with a
tual father of our University, nobody can really say, but he was certainly clo-      financial pay-off. The foundation of the university took a substantial bite from the town budget;
sely involved. He was sent by the Leuven city council to Rome with a peti-           the accounts show that Neve’s delegation and the expenses in Rome alone cost about a tenth of
tion and a kind of recommendation from Jan IV, Duke of Brabant, who used             the city’s financial resources in 1425. The authorities in Leuven thus had quite an in terest in the
to be thought of as the real founder, but that seems unfair.”                        realization of their initiative.”
    “The plan to set up a University in Leuven was certainly also driven by a                                                                                             continued on page 7
concern for worldly prestige. This figured in a series of initiatives to consoli-




                                                                                                         April 2001 C A M P U S K R A N T I N T E R N A T I O N A L   3
NEWS




Vesta focuses on university hospitality                                                      tive students before they arrive. Such people have greater chances for success. Many students dis-
                                                                                             cover that the workload is greater and the studies are far more demanding at the K.U.Leuven than
How to welcome our guests                                                                    at their home university.”
                                                                                                 “Language competence also increases the chances of success and is an important factor for
Nadia Koeck/Translation Jack Dick                                                            feeling at home in Leuven. From now on students following a Dutch-language program must
                                                                                             have achieved at least the highest level of Dutch language competence at the Institute for Living
                                                                                             Languages. Of course the majority of our foreign guests register for one of the roughly forty dif-
                         Roughly nine percent of the students and eleven per-                ferent master’s degree programs in English. Our experience, however, is that even students with
                         cent of the researchers and guest professors at                     high TOEFL scores often lack sufficient knowledge of English to succeed in these programs. They
                         K.U.Leuven are foreigners. Their stay is not always                 may have a good theoretical understanding, but they still lack the oral language skills that are so
                         without problems. For this reason, the university has               necessary for coping with the high demands of these programs. For this reason we are planning
                         launched the so-called Vesta Project, the aim of which              to organize a summer crash course in English.”
                         is to monitor the university’s reception policy and its
                         coaching of foreign guests.                                         Financial snowball
                                                                                      “Approximately two-thirds of our foreign students are ‘self-supporting’: they do not have a scho-
                          The onset for the project was the recently published        larship. These students sometimes underestimate the actual costs of living and studying in Leu-
                          Vesta Report. The Office for International Students         ven. They run into financial difficulties which lead to social problems that take a r eal toll on their
                          and Scholars was asked to make                                                                academic work. And then, when they don’t pass their examina-
                          inquiries for the purpose of                                                                  tions, the real problems start ...”
detecting shortcomings and remedying defects.                                                                                In response to this problem, the Vesta Report proposes cer-
    Trees Deloddere, head of the office: “The study is                                                                  tain financial conditions for the acceptance of foreign students.
based on two main lines of inquiry. First we interviewed                                                                Non-EU students who do not have a scholarship must satisfacto-
the staff members who are primarily concerned with                                                                      rily prove that they have adequate financial resources to cover
foreign visitors, both in the f aculties and in the soc ial ser-                                                        their study costs in Leuven.
vices offices. Then of course we approached the foreign                                                                      “We want to avoid a situation in which our students have to
visitors themselves. As we suspected, the university’s                                                                  combine their studies with a job, something that is really impos-
academic and educational quality and its world-wide                                                                     sible to do if you are pursuing one of the very demanding mas-
fame were the primary reasons why foreigners come to                                                                    ter’s degree programs. With the assistance of the university’s Job
K.U.Leuven; but we had little knowledge of peoples’                                                                     Center, students may find some part-time work to cover little
experiences once they were here.”                                                                                       extra expenses, but that is something very different. Within the
    “According to our survey, half of our foreign guests                                                                framework of the Vesta Project, the university’s Social Services
are clearly satisfied. Some 20 percent have experienced                                                                 Office will again research and calculate the living costs so that we
difficulties, but as these difficulties were readily resol-                                                             can better inform our potential foreign students and also adjust
ved, these people ended up happy about their stay at the                                                                our scholarship levels to fit the actual living costs.”
K.U.Leuven. The remaining 30 percent - exclusively stu-
dents, and primarily from non-EU countries - have had                                                                   Housing
serious problems, which are often financial in nature.                                                                  In terms of actual care for foreign students, the Vesta Report
Within the group of people who remain in Leuven for                                                                     makes a number of recommendations at the level of academic
more than three months, there is a growing dissatisfac-                                                                 support.
tion as time passes about the services they receive. Our                                                                    Trees Deloddere: “We are asking professors to do even more
conclusion is that foreign guests are in need of guidance                                                               to ‘coach’ their students in terms of their study methods so that
and support throughout the entire academic year. The                                                                    they can complete their academic programs in a timely fashion.
Vesta working group is an advocate of optimizing the             Feeling at home in Leuven, at the New Year reception This also helps them avoid financial problems. It is our aim, for
welcome period and the assistance provided throughout                                                                  instance, that researchers should complete their doctorates within
the entire duration of the guest’s stay in Leuven, including the departure and        four years. There are also some newly approved measures relating to psycho-social care: all
alumni relations.”                                                                    foreigners can now take advantage of the social services package. This package deal includes
                                                                                      general advice, housing services, health care, psychotherapeutic help, medical-social help, socio-
Screening increases the success rate                                                  cultural support, and nourishment.”
“Vesta was the goddess of the hearth. She symbolizes what we hope to                      “For most foreign guests, housing is their priority concern. As for our residence placement
achieve with this project. We want our foreign guests to feel really at home          policy, quota restrictions play a crucial role. Foreign students with a priority scholarship, for
in Leuven; and that happens only when they are truly welcomed and atten-              instance, have the right to a room in one of the residences subsidized by the K.U.L euven. Anyone
ded to.”                                                                              who cannot find a place to stay in one of the university residences can appeal to the Housing Ser-
    Some foreigners begin already with a handicap that should have been               vice for coaching. Currently the university administration is working to secure funds and a loc a-
attended to before they arrived. For this reason, the Vesta Report is propo-          tion for a guesthouse that could serve the needs both of short-term guests and of long-term resi-
sing more efficient admission and acceptance policies - the initial step in           dents until they find a more permanent residence.”
attracting international students as fellows.                                             “Finally, more attention must also be given to international alumni relations since our foreign
    “In terms of academic competence, we want to bett er screen our prospec- alumni are the best ambassadors for the K.U.Leuven.”
                                                                                                                                                    For your own comments, see page 5




Vesta examina la acogida de huéspedes extranjeros
Nadia Koeck/Traducción Beatrice Schotsmans - Paula van Eupen-Lavrysen



Aproximadamente el 9 por ciento de los estudiantes y el 11        financieros. El descontento crece en general a medida que          subestiman los gastos para vivir en L ovaina y llegan a
por ciento de los investigadores y profesores huéspedes de        dura la estancia en Lovaina. Se necesita entonces una              tener problemas financieros lo que trae problemas socia-
la K.U.Leuven son extranjeros. Como su estancia aquí es a         mejor acogida durante toda la estancia.”                           les y menos probabilidad de éxito. Por eso los estudiantes
veces problemática, la universidad lanzó el proyecto Vesta.           El informe Vesta hace propuestas para una g estión             que no pertenecen a la Union Europea y que no tienen
Vesta es la diosa del hogar, todo un símbolo para que los         mas eficaz ya que algunos extranjeros empiezan en                  beca tienen que demostrar que poseen medios de subsis-
extranjeros se sientan como en su casa en Lovaina.                Lovaina con un ‘handicap’. “Queremos que los estudian-             tencia suficientes. “Queremos evitar que nuestros hués-
                                                                  tes sean bien elegidos antes de que lleguen aquí porque            pedes tengan que combinar sus estudios con un trabajo
                                                                  muchas veces se encuentran en Lovaina con más estrés y             lo cual parece casi imposible con un programa master tan
Trees Deloddere de la Oficina de la Acogida Internacion-          con más cargas con sus estudios que en su país de origen.          cargado. Eso si, eventualmente podrán hacer algún traba-
al aclara los resultados. “Por una parte nos hemos reuni-         También el conocimiento de idiomas tiene una gran in-              jo de estudiante, pero entonces como máximo un
do con los responsables que se ocupan de la acogida de            fluencia sobre sus probabilidades de éxito. En cuanto a            pequeño extra. También vamos a reexaminar los gastos
los huéspedes extranjeros - los servicios sociales y los          los programas Master en idioma inglés, el test TOEFL no            de vida reales para informarles mejor y adaptar las becas.
responsables al interior de las facultades -, y por otra par-     parece dar bastante garantía para un dominio del idioma.           Además se debe reforzar el apoyo académico. Se podría
te nos hemos entrevistado con los extranjeros mismos.             Por eso hemos planificado un crash course English (curso           perfeccionar el rol de mentores de los profesores para sus
La mitad de ellos están satisfechos, el 20 por ciento tiene       de emergencia) durante las vacaciones de verano.”                  estudiantes y un doctorado tendría que terminarse den-
problemas al comienzo que son solucionados y el 30 por                Dos de cada tres estudiantes extranjeros son auto-             tro de cuatro años. Un tiempo de estudios corto evitará
ciento restante tiene serios problemas, en varios casos           suficientes económicamente, sin beca. Muchas veces                 más fácilmente los problemas financieros.”
                                                                                                                                                                        continua en página 5


                                          4 C A M P U S K R A N T I N T E R N AT I O N A L    April 2001
NEWS




Acuerdos Bilaterales Selectivos para L atinoamérica

Programa de becas doctorales
Karla Venken/Traducción Beatrice Schotsmans - Paula van Eupen-Lavrysen

Los buenos contactos de investigación y de enseñanza en-     programa prevé la adjudicación anual de diez becas doc-                                                         Prácticamente
tre las diferentes facultades de la K.U.L euven y algunas    torales a estudiantes latinoamericanos y empieza con las                                                        De esta manera, cada año, se ofrece a unos 10 estudiantes
universidades latinoamericanas forman la base para un        universidades siguientes:                                                                                       latinoamericanos la posibilidad de hacer su doctorado en
nuevo programa de becas.                                         Universidad Mayor de San Simón, B olivia                                                                    Lovaina. El número de años que un estudiante doctoral
                                                                 Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile                                                                    regular necesita para finalizar sus estudios doctorales es
La Europa política y económica parece por fin descubrir          Universidad de Chile                                                                                        de cuatro a cinco años como máximo. El primer año
que el continente latinoamericano no es el campo de              Universidad de la Habana, Cuba                                                                              puede ser un año predoctoral con una prueba de admi-
juegos ni el barrio bajo de los Estados Unidos. Por otra         Universidad de Cuenca, Ecuador                                                                              sión final según los requisitos previos de la facultad en
parte, ni la enseñanza superior ni la economía escapan a         Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México                                                                     cuestión. Al final de cada año de estudio, una comisión
la tendencia hacia internacionalización y globalización.         Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú                                                                    supervisora evaluará las actividades de los estudiantes ya
También en el mundo académico se encuentra ahora un              Universidad de Lima, Perú                                                                                   matriculados en Lovaina, para decidir sobre la prórroga
refuerzo estratégico de la interrelación de cooperación.                                                                                                                     de sus becas. Todo el periodo de 4 a 5 años está cubierto
Existe un interés de cooperación estructurada por ambos           Aunque las negociaciones empezaron en el segundo                                                           por la beca, la cual exige una evaluación positiva.
lados, y se formalizan relaciones con terceras partes pri-   semestre del año 2000, 6 universidades ya propusieron                                                               Las universidades asoc iadas pueden proponer 3 can-
vilegiadas.                                                  unos 14 candidatos para la primera ronda de selección, la                                                       didatos para la ronda de selección anual. Las candidaturas
     La K.U.L euven buscó una o varias terceras partes en    cual finalizará en el mes de abril. Los proyectos doctora-                                                      para el año académico 2002-2003 se espera que lleguen
cada país. La cooperación actual con las universidades       les propuestos son de diferentes asignaturas: filosofía del                                                     antes del 31 de diciembre 2001 a la Oficina de Relaciones
latinoamericanas está respaldada principalmente por una      idioma, gestión geográfica, química, farmacéutica,                                                              Internacionales de la K.U.Leuven.
transmisión de conocimientos y proyectos comunes de          hidráulica, tecnología de alimentos, biología...                                                                    Los estudiantes interesados tienen que presentar su
facultades o laboratorios. Una concentración de la coope-         Generalmente las universidades de las cuales un can-                                                       candidatura en su propia universidad por medio de una
ración en la misma uni versidad parecía ser una buena        didato es aceptado, en principio, están dispuestas a reci-                                                      hoja de solicitud y con una presentación detallada de su
señal para una cooperación significativa. De esta manera,    bir un estudiante o investigador de Lovaina para una                                                            proyecto de doctorado. Todas las facultades de la
el esfuerzo de profesores e investigadores individuales ha   estadía en el marco de sus estudios o investigaciones.                                                          K.U.Leuven están ofreciendo programas doctorales. Se
sido reconocido en un acuerdo formal con las universida-          Este programa de becas doctorales es en sí un p aso                                                        da preferencia a aquellos candidatos que ya tengan un
des implicadas.                                              muy modesto. Pero, tanto por parte de Lovaina como por                                                          promotor o que al menos tengan contactos en Lovaina
                                                             las terceras partes latinoamericanas existen expectativas                                                       con las facultades o departamentos interesados. Por otra
Gestión geográfica                                           explícitas de que este acuerdo pueda abrir nuevos cami-                                                         parte se exige un conocimiento profundo del inglés: una
La K.U.Leuven hizo propuestas a las universidades selec-     nos hacia una cooperación académica más intensa, y                                                              prueba TOEFL con un puntaje mínimo de 580, o de 23 7
cionadas para un Acuerdo Bilateral Selectivo, lo cual        especialmente hacia un intercambio estructural de estu-                                                         en la prueba TOEFL con el ordenador.
garantiza una participación a un programa de becas. El       diantes, investigadores y docentes.                                                                             www.kuleuven.ac.be/studeng/Interrelations/b_latiname-
                                                                                                                                                                             rica.htm




   continuación de la página 4                                                                                                                Vesta survey

La acogida de huéspedes                                        1. During your studies at K.U.L euven, how would you describe your stay in Leuven and at the University, in
                                                               terms of the welcome and hospitality?
extranjeros                                                    .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
                                                               .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
                                                               .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
                                                               .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    El alojamiento es de primera importancia para que los      2. On a scale from 1 to 10 (f rom poor to excellent), how would you rate the housing services and facilities of
huéspedes se sientan como en su casa. “Estudiantes             K.U.Leuven? Did you find them convenient and comfortable? Would you recommend them to other students?
extranjeros con una beca prioritaria tienen derecho a una      .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
habitación en una residencia subsidiada, y el que no           .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
encuentra sitio allí, podrá dir igirse al Housing Service.     .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
También pensamos en establecer una casa de huéspedes,          .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
que podrá servir como residencia temporal para los que         3. Was the financial assistance that you received for your studies, from your home university and/or K.U.L eu-
se quedan muy poco tiempo en Lovaina, y como casa              ven, sufficient to cope with your various needs?
temporal para el que no encuentra una habitación defini-       .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
tiva de inmediato.”                                            .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    “Finalmente, la obra de Alumni International merece        .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
una atención especial porque los ex-estudiantes extran-        .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
jeros de Alumni siguen siendo los mejores embajadores          4. On a scale from 1 to 10 (f rom very affordable to very expensive), how would you rate the level of standard of
de la K.U.Leuven.”                                             living in Leuven for a student, from the perspective of your own home country?
                                                               .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
                                                               .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
                                                               .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
Your opinion                                                   .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
                                                               5. Were you able to communicate well with other K.U.L euven students, Belgian and international? And what
By way of supplement to the Vesta report, the Bureau for       about the citizens of Belgium? Were there certain hindrances at any point? Which? What would you recom-
International Students and Scholars would welcome any          mend to new students, if they show willingness to communicate with Belgian and international students?
comments of readers who have been studying in Leuven           .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
for a short or longer period.                                  .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
What is your experience with K.U.Leuven? Six questions,        .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
six invitations to your unvarnished opinion. Please feel       .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
free to add a separate sheet if you wish to elaborate on       6. How would you react to the statement: ‘K.U.Leuven is among the top-ten European universities in terms of
certain aspects of your stay.                                  academic research and quality education’? How would you describe the level of academic research and study at
Please send to:                                                K.U.Leuven?
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven                                 .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
Office for International Students and Scholars                 .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
Oude Markt 13                                                  .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
B-3000 Leuven                                                  .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
(Belgium)
fax +32-16 32 37 73.




                                                                                                                                      April 2001 C A M P U S K R A N T I N T E R N A T I ON A L                                     5
A D VA LVA S
                                                                                                                                 Alumni Record Form

                                                                                                                                 As an Alumnus I wish to forward the following information for
Orientation Days, September 19-23                                                                                                your records in the ‘Alumni K.U.Leuven - International’ databa-
                                                                                                                                 se for
Before formally opening the academic year, K.U.L euven traditionally organises a varied Orientation Days Program-                Country:...............................................................................
me for all its new (international) students. It is meant to provide the newcomers with practical information about               City:....................................................................................
living and studying in Leuven, and to offer a basic introduction to the history and socio-cultural reality of Flanders
and Belgium. Activities include a guided tour through Leuven, a trip to Bruges, meetings with international and                  Personal Data
Belgian students, a session on the computer facilities at K.U.L euven, miscellaneous lectures, a Flemish film and                Name:.................................................................................
international party night, ...                                                                                                   Maiden Name (if applicable):................................................
Preference is given to online registration, between July 15 and September 1 4, on www.kuleuven.ac.be/orientation,                Date of Birth:..........................................Sex:........................
where updated information can be found as well.                                                                                  Nationality/Citizenship:.........................................................
Office for International Students & Scholars
Oude Markt 13                                                                                                                    Home Address
B-3000 Leuven (Belgium)                                                                                                          Street:..................................................................................
fax +32-16 32 37 73                                                                                                              Town:.........................................Zip code:............................
E-mail: Jesus.CastilloCoronado@dir.kuleuven.ac.be                                                                                Country:...............................................................................
                                                                                                                                 Phone:........................................Fax:...................................
                                                                                                                                 E-mail:.................................................................................


E-Newsletter                                                                                                                     Former Studies & School:.......................................................
                                                                                                                                 Stay/Studies at K.U.Leuven:...................................................
K.U.Leuven has recently launched a monthly English-language electronic newsletter, parallell to the Dutch E-                     -Faculty:...............................................................................
Nieuwsbrief that has been up and running for a few months now. The English-language version is simply called                     -Department:.........................................................................
e-Newsletter, and is tar geted towards non-Dutch-speaking K.U.L euven students and staff, prospective K.U.L euven                -Director/Staff:.....................................................................
students and other non-Dutch-speakers with an interest in K.U.Leuven.                                                            -Institution:............................................................................
The format is based on the Dutch-language version. The left and right columns contain a number of fixed hyper-                   -Period:................................................................................
links to services, offices, organisations, etc., that are of interest to the e-Newsletter’s target audience. The middle          -Obtained Degree:................................................................
column displays news items and temporary anouncements, and links to a Calendar of Events, a day-by-day over-                     -Class Year Graduation:.........................................................
view of activities such as lectures, seminars, cultural e vents, etc. All K.U.L euven international staff and students are       -Promotor:.............................................................................
on the e-Newsletter’s mailing list and will be notified when a new edition appears. Others can subscribe to the e-               -Thesis/Dissertation Title:........................................................
Newsletter or unsubscribe when no longer interested.                                                                             ...........................................................................................
www.kuleuven.ac.be/newsletter
                                                                                                                                 Employment & Professional Particulars
                                                                                                                                 Designation: ........................................................................
                                                                                                                                 Profession: ...........................................................................
                                                                               Back to the future                                Office Adress/Institution/Department
                                                                               On a cold and dark december evening, and to       Name: ................................................................................
                                                                               the straints of the university’s carillon, 575    Street: .................................................................................
                                                                               candles were lit to form the emblem of            Town: .................................................................................
                                                                               K.U.Leuven’s festive year. The occasion for       Zip code: ............................................................................
                                                                               this enchanting gathering in the Central          Country: ..............................................................................
                                                                               Library’s square was the signing by Pope          Phone: ....................................Fax: .....................................
                                                                               Martinus V of the Bull decreeing the founda-      Telex: ..................................................................................
                                                                               tion of our university, on the 9th of Decem-      E-mail: ................................................................................
                                                                               ber 1425, exactly 575 years before. Rector
                                                                               Oosterlinck lit the first candle and passed the   Interest in Alumni Activities
                                                                               fire on to 575 staff members and students.        Academic: O
                                                                               From the library’s tower the candles seem to      Profession: O
                                                                               kindle themselves against the Christmas lit       Social: O
                                                                               trees and shops.                                  Cultural: O
                                                                                                                                 K.U.Leuven Development: O
                                                                                                                                 Other, please specify: ...........................................................


                                                                                                                                 ‘Alumni K.U.Leuven-International’ Group in your City/Country:
Application deadlines                                                                                                            Non-existent:              O
                                                                                                                                 Will be formed:            O
Non-EU citi zens must apply before February 1 for the Dutch-language programmes, and before April 1 for the Eng-                 Existent:                  O
lish-language programmes. We regret that applications after these dates can no longer be accepted. E U-students with             Contactperson/Secretary: ....................................................
the required background and language fluency may enroll up to the end of September, but we would appreciate recei-               Address: ............................................................................
ving the applications before July 1. T here is no deadline for predoctoral and doctoral programmes, nor for internatio-          Town: .................................................................................
nal and visiting scholars.                                                                                                       Zip code: ....................Country: ..........................................
Tuition for students is approximately EUR 470 (BEF 1 9.000 or USD 470). Some international programmes may char-                  Phone: .....................................Fax:....................................
ge an additional tuition fee. Visiting scholars are exempt from tuition.                                                         E-mail: ...............................................................................
Application forms and detailed information about our university, its admission policy, study and research programmes
and their diploma and language requirements, etc. can be found on www.kuleuven.ac.be/studeng/.                                   Contact with Belgian Embassy: O
E-mail: admission.officer@dsa.kuleuven.ac.be                                                                                     Additional Information:.........................................................
                                                                                                                                 ..........................................................................................


                                                                                                                                 Please send to Mr. Erik Gobin, Atrechtcollege, Naamsestraat
                                                                                                                                 63, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium, phone +32-16 32 40 02, fax
                                                                                                                                 +32-16 32 41 90, erik.gobin@alum.kuleuven.ac.be
International Study Programmes
                                                                                                                                 Copies of this form can be used by your friends Fellow-Alumni
Most of our foreign students register in one of K.U.Leuven’s 39 International Study Programmes, which are specifi-
cally meant for both Belgian and foreign students and hence are taught in English.                                               The requested data will be inserted in the Alumni K.U.Leuven
A brochure with a detailed description of every programe (purpose of the study, a survey of its courses, the target              International database. This database is registered according
audience, admission requirements, etc.) is available at the Study Advisory Office of the K.U.Leuven.                             to the Privacy Law of December 8, 1992. The personal data of
Study Advisory Office                                                                                                            the alumni are legally protected. Every alumnus registered in
Naamsestraat 63                                                                                                                  the database is allowed to look into and change his or her per-
B-3000 Leuven                                                                                                                    sonal data. The Alumni K.U.Leuven International database is
fax +32-16 32 43 30                                                                                                              used to inform the alumni worldwide of international activities
e-mail: isp@dsa.kuleuven.ac.be.                                                                                                  and events taking place at the Catholic University of Leuven.




                                          6 C A M P U S K R A N T I N T E R N AT I O N A L   April 2001
RESEARCH




Leuven research safeguards the world

Rijndael, new standard for encoding
Ludo Meyvis




Somewhere in one of the office cabinets at COSIC, the Computer Security and           growing from day to day. There are no ‘closed doors’ in this world: a message that you send
Industrial Cryptography Section of the Electrical Engineering Department, lie         comes into contact with dozens of computers and your guess is as good as anyone else’s as to
four sheets of paper. It sounds incredible, but in the coming years the security of   whether they are manned by bona fide people or not. Absolute security is a fiction in such a
billions of electronic messages will depend on these four thin sheets. Welcome to     world, but neither should we make it too easy for those with unwholesome intentions. That’s
Rijndael.                                                                             what cryptographers are for. The essential thing in our work is the code word. Only the person
                                                                                                                          who has it can gain acc ess to the message. If someone were
In 1997 two young COSIC researchers participated                                                                          to serve me up a message that is encoded with Rijndael, I
in an international competition organized by the                                                                          would not be able to crack it. Even if I knew the algorithm by
NIST, the National Institute of Standards and                                                                             heart. A cryptographer who can crack his own message has
Technology, in the USA. The assignment was to                                                                             produced a poor product.”
develop a new standard for securing confidential                                                                               “The essence of our work fits onto about four pages, with
information in an electronic environment - not a                                                                          a couple dozen pages of introduction and explanation. On
ready-made application, but rather a general algo-                                                                        these four pages we describe mathematically how, starting
rithm, a mathematical description for the enco-                                                                           from the clear text, the readable version of your message,
ding of documents. Vincent Rijmen and Joan                                                                                you proceed via complex and irreversible operations to arrive
Daemen christened their project Rijndael, and in                                                                          at the encoded message. One basic principle is that each ent-
October of last year their work was selected by the                                                                       ry bit - or just say each letter of the original message - must
American government as the new national elec-                                                                             have an effect on the exit bit. This is necessary in order to
tronic security standard.                                                                                                 exclude statistical decryption. If you use linear encoding -
                                                                                                                          something like ‘a becomes x, b becomes y’ - then with a little
No money                                                                                                                  experience, a little puzzling around and a little statistics, you
Vincent Rijmen: “Our algorithm uses only opera-                                                                           can reconstruct the clear text. Of course, that simply cannot
tions that can be done on nearly any electronic                                                                           be.”
platform. Because of this, you can implement                                                                                   “Our system is intended for sensitive information. Above
Rijndael - in fact from now on I should use the                                                                           it, you still have secret and top secret. Our level is used main-
American name AES or Advanced Encryption                                                                                  ly for personal information, as for example the information
Standard - on a PC as well as in a machine that                                                                           that the government keeps on you. It’s not a matter of abso-
reads bank cards. What’s more, by limiting oursel-                                                                        lute state secrets, but just information for which it is undesi-
ves to truly basic operations, the algorithm works                                                                        rable that unauthorized people should have access to it. An d,
super-fast.”                                                                                                              in addition, our system is naturally intended for protecting
    “When the NIST organized the competition,                                                                             communication between computers, as for example email.”
we had to sign a document in which we relinquis-
hed any claim to future payment or royalties. That                                                                          See you in 149,000 billion years
may seem a bit strange now, certainly if you consi-                                                                         “The expectation is that our proposal will gradually replace
der that it’s a system that will be used for billions                                                                       the old encryption system, DES. This is necessary because
of documents and messages. I can understand that         Vincent Rijmen (r) with the mascot of Linux                        the computers are gradually reaching a level where that stan-
people think that we must be filthy rich by now,                                                                            dard is no longer secure. There are machines that can cr ack
but that’s not the case. And anyway, I really don’t find that so important. To       the DES standard in a couple hours time. To give you some idea of the security that Rijndael
the contrary, I think we gradually need to give up the dream that we should          offers: if a DES cracker could handle a document in 1 second - which would involve 2 to the 55th
be able to keep earning money for the rest of our life from a single idea. My        power number of operations per second - then that same machine would need roughly 149,000
job is to think and to construct algorithms like Rijndael. I don’t mind at all       billion years to crack Rijndael. Now that’s something that we’re not really too concerned about at
doing that in exchange for a normal salary, and now that we’ve finished, one         this time, since the universe has only existed for the past 20 billion years.”
or other prize as a token of recognition would suit me just fine, but it really           “Naturally, such calculations are leaky as a sieve. In recent years, the calculating power of
doesn’t need to be more than that.”                                                  computers has been doubling every eighteen months. If it goes on li ke this, then Rijndael will
    “I realize that not everybody will agree with my r easoning. Far from it.        remain secure only for a century. And if technological developments push ahead of schedule,
But in the frontline of developments in computer science it is not so very           then we can be content with ten or twenty years. But anyway, we can sleep easy for a little whi-
unusual. Just look at Linux, an operating system that is available totally free      le.”
of charge, with a source code that is accessible for everyone. I think th at trend        Meanwhile, Rijmen and Daemen did win their ‘prize as a token of recognition’: the audience
will continue as the in formation society further expands.”                          of the Flemish public television and radio elected them as ‘Flemish personalities of the year
                                                                                     2000’.
Clear text
“Cryptography is indispensable in a world in which electronic data traffic is         www.esat.kuleuven.ac.be/~rijmen/rijndael




The Founding Bull                       continuation of page 3



Up in smoke
“When Willem Neve arrived back in Leuven at the                 a few days after 9 December.”                                       clean sweep of it and give the founding bull back to Rec-
beginning of 1426, everything had to be readied in order            “The founding bull was carefully preserved in the               tor Ladeuze. And not until 1983 did the remaining three
to begin the first academic year in a timely fashion. The       university archive, but during the French Revolution it             bulls from 9 December 1425 turn up again in Leuven.
town made a few buildings available, among them the             was judged best to bring it to a s afer location. After much        With the help of photogravure, a facsimile of the original
present site of the old City Library on the Van der Kelen-      roving about, the archive was split among Brussels,                 was made in 1909 th at was given to a number of invited
straat, and the first academic year was able to begin in        Gent, and Den Bosch, where the founding bull turned                 persons. And this w as quite fortunate because the bull
September of that year. But there was still quite some          up. The document was hidden there from the French,                  itself was stored in the University Lib rary, then housed
tension. Martin V had stipulated that the bull should lap-      but apparently so well that no one back in Leuven any               in the University Hall, which was burned down five
se if duke Jan IV did not renounce his control over the         longer knew precisely where the bull was. Not until                 years later by the Germans. Our founding bull went up
university. The duke surrendered his authority only a           1909, on the occasion of the festivities surrounding the            in smoke ...”
few weeks before 9 December 1426, but not with enthu-           75th anniversary of the re-foundation of the Catholic
siasm. For that matter, he received his old privileges back     university in 183 4, did the Bishop of Den Bosch make a




                                                                                                   April 2001 C A M P U S K R A N T I N T E R N A T I O N A L   7
RESEARCH




Caravan routes discovered in the Dakhla oasis, Egypt                                       locks encircling the oasis, huts were found (photo), from which one had a m agnificent view of the
                                                                                           immense desert plains. The researchers presumed that these were look-out points or ‘shelters’, at
In the footsteps of Harkuf?                                                                those places where the caravan roads entered the oasis. The team of Harco Willems, professor
                                                                                           of Egyptology at the K.U.Leuven, which has been involved with this research project since 1988 ,
Anouk Vanherf/Adaptation Karla Venken/Translation Miles Smit                               saw its hypothesis confirmed at the end of 2000. They discovered a caravan route running f rom
                                                                                           the oasis to the Nile Valley, possibly the route described in a tr avel account related by a certain
                                                                                           Harkuf.
The laying of asphalt roads in the Egyptian desert in the 1970s provided the                    Professor Harco Willems:”The text of Harkuf dates from 2350 B.C. It is a classic which all
first opportunity for scientists to investigate previously inaccessible oases and          Egyptologists have to read as a part of their education. Harkuf ’s journey begins in a city in the
territories thitherto undeveloped. Since 1977, a multidisciplinary team has                Nile Valley, lying at the same latitude as the spot where the caravan route enters the Dahkla oasis.
been studying the relation between environment and history in human activi-                It is certain that he went from this city westwards, eventually to wind up in Nubia, to the south
ty in the big Dakhla oasis, some 800 km to the southwest of Cairo.                         of Egypt. Nobody knows the exact route, as the place names given by Harkuf have never been
                                                                                           identified. If you take the route to the West, you will arrive at the Dakhla o asis. It is a bit specula-
Quickly enough, a large city was uncovered, Ayn Asil, which would have                     tive to suggest that the recently-discovered caravan route is the one Harkuf took, since there may
been an important commercial center around 2300 B.C. On a number of hil-                   be still more undiscovered roads. But it’s not improbable.”
                                                                                                The historical importance of the discovery goes still further. The Egyptians ventured across
                                                                                           the borders of their Nile Valley earlier than had previously been assumed. “Along the road, and at
                                                                                           a number of recently discovered watch-posts, we found Egyptian ceramics that date from 2450
                                                                                           B.C. , which makes them the earliest extant ceramics in the whole Dakhla oasis - the oldest rem-
                                                                                           nants discovered so far in Ayn Asil being from about a century later. Research shows that in fact
                                                                                           the newly discovered ceramics were made from Nile clay and thus were probably brought along
                                                                                           by merchant travelers coming from the Nile Valley. So now we had strong evidence that the
                                                                                           Egyptians reached this oasis a hundred years earlier than had previously been thought. The cera-
                                                                                           mics tell us that at least by 2450 B.C. they had encroached upon what in my view must have been
                                                                                           a totally un-Egyptian environment, populated by the herds people of the so-called Sheik Muftah
                                                                                           culture. This is a ‘new’ prehistoric culture, of which little is known as yet. Due to the arrival of
                                                                                           the Egyptians, little by little the indigenous culture lost its own character. A bit of colonization
                                                                                           history ‘avant-la-lettre’, so to speak.”




Melting science and art together                                    difficulty for us was to form and fine-tune the alloys in         is to cool it off again.”
                                                                    such a fashion that they made exactly the desired
Living Jewels                                                       movement at exactly the desired temperature.”                     Stents, satellites and earthquakes
                                                                                                                                    Some critics question the proposition that university
Nadia Koeck/Translation John Hymers                                 Peacock’s tail                                                  researchers should devote their talents to the develop-
                                                                    The jewelry actuators were developed and produced in            ment of extremely expensive jewelry. Thierry Holemans
                                                                    connection with Flexmets, a spin-off company of the             is a famed master-jeweller with boutiques on the Avenue
The world-premier exhibition of three extremely exclusive           MTM Department.                                                 Louise in Brussels and on the Place Vendôme in Paris,
                        and artistic pieces of jewelry took              Van Humbeeck: “Our department mainly played an             famous for their top jewelers. Their jewelry is fittingly
                        place in the presence of Princess           advisory role in the whole project. Flexmets was                exclusive - 85 percent being custom made to individual
                        Astrid of Belgium on 8 March 2001           responsible for the realization of the actuators that we        specifications - and thus often carries an exclusive price-
                        in Leuven. They are the result of a         fashioned for Holemans’ jewelry. But the creative brain         tag.
                        collaboration between the Belgian           was the jeweler himself. He had read about shape                     Professor Jan Van Humbeeck therefore stresses the
                        master-jeweller Thierry Holemans            memory alloys and came to us with a proposal for the            whole range of meaningful applications of the technolo-
                        and the K.U.Leuven’s Department             three pieces of jewelry, a proposal which has now pro-          gy upon which his department has worked for more than
                        of Metallurgy and Materials Engi-           ven to be a success.”                                           25 years. “Five years ago the medical sector forced a real
                        neering (MTM). The department is                 “The necklace is really a ‘pièce unique’. It consists of   breakthrough in this technology, and developments have
                        a world leader in research into             more than three thousand diamonds, fashioned into               continued to increase enormously. The breakthrough
                        actuators, or special temperature-          three flower motifs. Under the flowers lie nickel-titani-       came thanks to applications in instruments for explora-
sensitive alloys with shape memory.                                                                                                    tory surgery, and to applications in stents, which are a
                                                                                                                                       type of self-relaxing instrument that, for instance, can
Says Jan Van Humbeeck, professor of material sciences                                                                                  be introduced into the blocked veins of heart patients
in the MTM Department: “A shape memory alloy is a                                                                                      in order to re-open them.”
nickel-titanium alloy with two remarkable properties.                                                                                      “We also use the shape memory alloys in projects
First is the pseudo-elastic effect whereby the alloy can be                                                                            to protect buildings against earthquakes. The buildings
made to bend. We use this effect often in medical appli-                                                                               are constructed on moveable sockets fashioned from
cations, for instance in the well-known orthodontic                                                                                    alloys with pseudo-elastic effect, so that earth tremors
fibers which are used in order to straighten a set of                                                                                  can be absorbed. Furthermore, we are working on
teeth. Second is the shape memory effect, which, for                                                                                   applications in the automobile industry, as well as in
instance, can be applied in various operations to repair                                                                               space technology: satellites will use shape memory
fractures. If you deform a piece of metal with such an                                                                                 alloys. And now in jewelry as well. Each new project is
alloy in its normal cold state, it returns to that original                                                                            at the same time an exploration of a new world. I have
form when warmed.”                                                                                                                     come to know Thierry Holemans as an artist r ather
    Professor Van Humbeeck illustrates with an exam-                                                                                   than as a jeweller. He is possessed with the idea of
ple. He completely stretches out the length of a spiral                                                                                making something beautiful, a work of art.”
                                  fashioned from nickel-                  The Belgian Princess Astrid and juweller Thierry Holemans      Flexmets should get out the order book, since the
                                  titanium, and f astens                                                                            jeweller is hoping to
                                  one end to an object on           um plates that we have adjusted so that they react pre-         develop applications
                                  the table. When he warms          cisely to body temperature. When you wear the neck-             that are suitable for
                                  up the metal spiral with a        lace, your body temperature opens up the flowers. In            mass production.
                                  lit match, it immediately         the brooch, which forms a peacock, we fashioned the             Rings, for instance,
                                  shrinks back to its original      feathers from the alloy and adjusted them for an                that fit themselves
                                  shape and, moreover, rai-         ambient temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. When you             perfectly on the little
                                  ses the object to which it        enter a room at that temperature with the brooch con-           finger, or on swollen
                                  was attached.                     tracted, the peacock will slowly spread its feathers. And       fingers. Comfortable
        Passive phase                 “So you see that the          the bracelet works a little like the spiral that remembers      jewelry? Science and                  Active phase
                                  metal also develops force         its original shape. It is made f rom a very soft material       art sometimes fuse
through this shape memory effect. We call this the actu-            that can easily change shape in a cold state. You can           together in surprisingly beautiful fashion.
ator function. Such actuators are present in Holemans’              then open it up in order to put it on. In contact with the
jewelry and enable it to change its shape, for instance, at         body heat, the bracelet slowly closes around your wrist         www.mtm.kuleuven.ac.be/Research/A2P2/Shape.html
room temperature or upon contact with body heat. The                ... and you can scarcely take it off. T he only way to do so




                                           8 C A M P U S K R A N T I N T E R N AT I O N A L April 2001

				
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