Gemma Janssen

Astronomer

From an early age I knew I wanted to become an astronomer, and I chose to study astronomy after high school. During my PhD research, that focussed on the precise measurement of radio pulsars, I gained a lot of experience in observing with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope. The wide range of project that I have used the data for have resulted in an interesting thesis.

I have worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the UK for four years, where I have expanded my knowledge by working with other radio telescopes in Europe. After this period abroad I wanted to continue my work in The Netherlands. Having two world-class telescopes available for observing, combined with the broad range of expertise at ASTRON, allows me to progress my work in an excellent way.

The most inspiring part of my work is to be able to carry out fundamental research with a relatively small data set. By studying radio pulsars regularly we can eventually test General Relativity, as described by Einstein. We do this in different ways: we measure the masses of pulsars in binary systems, but also we compare measurements of a larger set of pulsars.

A very nice aspect of my work is the interaction with colleagues. I discuss the observations with the operators, and review my projects with other astronomers. I am in daily contact with collaborators outside ASTRON, who are spread across the world.

Word of a staff member
Tammo Jan Dijkema
Scientific software engineer

The work at ASTRON fits perfectly with my studies Scientific Computing at the interface between physics, mathematics and computer science. I work, among other things, on the mathematics to perform faster calculations on physical and astronomical super computers. This allows the astronomers to perform their calculations more efficient. The location of the ASTRON headquarters amazing! […]

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