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 Dr. Leo de Wit

Why I work at UCR: I feel fortunate and inspired to work with colleagues that are so dedicated to undergraduate teaching. But even though the faculty and staff are great, what’s best about University College Roosevelt in my mind are its students. It is impressive to see what they accomplish in the classroom every semester. But beyond that, they create a wonderful atmosphere on campus, taking many initiatives and responsibilities. One of my great regrets is always that I cannot attend more concerts, plays, lectures and social events. But there’s just too many of them!
What’s interesting about my discipline: Many sciences ask questions about the world we live in, but physics is very ambitious in the kind of answers it wants to find. A physicist’s goal is to make numerical predictions of the outcome of strictly controlled and verifiable experiments. An understanding of the limited accuracy of observations and the limited validity of theoretical constructs is a key part of physics. Physics aims to be as objective as possible: the main criteria to decide whether we understand something correctly or not are the repeatable experiment and the (mathematical) consistency of results. In this sense, physics is one of the most international of all sciences: things like gravity and electricity are the same throughout the world!
Leo de Wit was born in 1965 in Bergen op Zoom in the Netherlands. He obtained his master degree in physics at the University of Nijmegen (Netherlands) in 1983, completing a thesis on gauge theories, the Standard Model and SU(5) grand unification. On a Fulbright scholarship, he entered the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (USA). He worked there under the supervision of Tini Veltman on various theoretical aspects of quantum field theory, contributing nothing whatsoever to his (Tini’s) 1999 Nobel prize. Nonetheless, Leo earned his PhD in 1992 with a thesis called ‘Applications of Unitarity in the Standard Model’.
Leo returned to the Netherlands where a career in education took shape. From 1994 to 2004, he was a lecturer at the Hogeschool Zeeland in Vlissingen. He taught various science-related disciplines in a dozen or so different programs. He also served a period as head of the chemistry department, and a period as head of the computer science department. One of his last accomplishments in Vlissingen was the 2004 publication (together with Freek Huisman) of ‘Beter Beslissen’, a textbook on applications of quantitative methods in the professional workplace.
In 2004, Leo joined University College Roosevelt in its inaugural year. Since that time he has taught courses in physics and mathematics. He has also been a tutor, advising individual students on what academic program might suit them best. Leo also enjoys supervising undergraduate research projects in the fields of elementary particle physics, general relativity, and theoretical physics in general.
At the administrative level, Leo was head of the science department from 2004-2006. From 2006-2017 he was Director of Education. In this role he was responsible for overseeing academic rules and procedures and University College Roosevelt's system of internal quality control. He also chaired the Board of Studies which is responsible for setting academic policies and the content and quality of the academic program.
Over the years, Leo has cooperated with colleagues at Utrecht University and other university colleges about a range of educational issues in Liberal Arts & Sciences. He remains active in teaching, is involved in the UCR admission process and is currently also part of the team setting up the new Engineering program.

Membership of Professional Organizations

  • American Physical Society



Director of Education

P.O. Box 94
NL-4330 AB Middelburg
Office hours: by appointment
Tel. 0118-655506 / fax 0118-655508