Gemma Janssen


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
Bram Veenboer
PhD researcher

After studying computer science I wanted to continue in the direction of my master: High Performance Computing. Besided, I wanted to get my doctorate, so I ended up at ASTRON. At ASTRON there was a nice position available within the Dome project. At Dome I can apply the theory into practice and I can immerse […]

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