About me

I am an astronomer with a passion for data-intensive astronomy, instrument precision calibration, astro-informatics and astronomy with a societal impact. I am leading several teams that develop data flow systems for the next generation of ESO’s and ESA’s instrumentation. My astronomical scientific interests include:

  • the astrophysical influences on the long-term future habitability of Earth
  • co-evolution of galaxies and their Super Massive Black Holes.

I was born in the Netherlands, grew up in The Hague, did my MSc and PhD astronomy at the Sterrewacht at Leiden University and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, USA. After a postdoc at STScI I became an ESO Fellow at the European Southern Observatory in Germany. Then I went back to The Netherlands to take up a position at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of the University of Groningen. I am there today on a permanent position as astronomer. I can provide a more detailed CV upon request.

If I were in a more boisterous and provocative mood I would say:

“My life’s quest is to obtain a deeper understanding how the Universe looks upon the human species in its cosmological context. To educate myself for this quest professionally, I chose between becoming an astronomical philosopher, an astronomical sociologist and an astronomical physicist. I picked the third option. Today, I am a Big Data Science astronomer exploiting Petabytes of astronomical data. As astrophysicist I use that data to study astrophysical influences on the long-term future habitability of Earth and the co-evolution of galaxies & their Super Massive Black Holes. As astro-sociologist I use that data to detect & monitor Near-Earth Objects and their impact risk.

As amateur astro-philosopher and professional astrophysicist I give public lectures on “Earth’s Cruise Guide To The Galaxy”. To further share the passion for my quest outside academia, I help with the design & trade of toys portraying Earth as a cruise ship in space. The toys have a price tag ranging from 0 euro to 300 Trillion euro.

Before becoming astronomer, I used to be the elected mayor of city that receives over a million tourists per year.”

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