Francis Berghmans (20/09/1969) received his PhD in Applied Sciences in 1998 at VUB. Francis Berghmans teaches the basics of physics to the first bachelor year students in Engineering and in Physics and Astronomy. He also trains teachers to exploit Photonics – the science and technology of light – as a vehicle to promote the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in secondary schools. As of the academic year 2020-2021, he will serve as the dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Francis is a renown scientist for his work on novel types of sensors that use light to enable the measurement of a multitude of vital parameters. His research ensures, for example, that airplanes deliver safe flights and that bridges can carry the weight of passing traffic, as the sensors allow detecting the onset of damage in aircraft and in civil engineering structures, which triggers the repairs that are required to avoid potentially catastrophic consequences. He supervises and guides a team of young researchers that are passionate about how light and its applications can contribute to the benefit of mankind.