New director ASTRON: ‘Drenthe makes me feel as excited as Antarctica or Hawaii’

He has already met ASTRON’s new director Jessica Dempsey from Hawaii this week. Famous woman with an impressive record of achievement in science. But first what does the Australian bring to Trente?

“I shouldn’t lead the way, I still don’t know the way,” Dempsey laughs. He leads us to the large telescope at the back of the ASTRON site on the Dwingelterweld border. This is not the first time he has visited ASTRON in Twinkle. This is the first time she is going to live there.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s a very exciting challenge and I’m very proud to be able to join the company,” he begins.

The company has been on his radar for a long time. “Astron and I have been coming back for a long time,” he says. “The Astron telescope was designed and built 35 years ago. I worked in Hawaii for many years.”

Very adventurous career

Dempsey grew up in the desert of Australia, was Australia’s first female scientist at the South Pole, then spent 15 years in Hawaii at the East Asian Laboratory, where she later became a director.

“I never saw snow before I went to Antarctica,” he says. “I’m from the desert, so it’s good for me. But after 12 months of winter at the South Pole, I can no longer see the snow.”

‘Hawaii must have been hot, that’s a lie’

She wanted the idea of ​​a tropical island, but nothing could be further from the truth. “They told me it’s not snowing in Hawaii. But the mountain where the telescopes are is what they call the ‘White Mountain’ in Hawaii. They do it because there’s snow,” she laughs. “During my first week in Hawaii it started to snow. Hawaii must have been hot, it was lying, but the view was beautiful and I had nothing to complain about.”

But didn’t Trende get a little bored after that? Tempsy laughs. “It’s as exciting to me as Antarctica or Hawaii. It may seem weird to you, but trust me you live in a beautiful place.”

It is noteworthy that, according to Dempsey, astronomical organizations are often located in the most unique places in the world. “You have to go to a quiet place for radio science, which is often very far away. Especially now that radio technology is popular because of telephony, for example, it’s hard to hear gossip about the universe. Compared to Australia, you still have a lot of cities in that area.”

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