I am currently working in the smoggy metropolis Santiago. Chile is a stunning country and I look forward to all the exploring (and science of course) I can do here in the years to come.

I brought my beautiful Hawaiian wife with me from Amsterdam: Joey Gutierrez. Joey has a gift for writing and if you are curious about our life in Chile I encourage you to read her blog: The Øther Hemisphere. This is an especially useful blog for astronomers moving to or living in Santiago.

Why did I become an Astronomer?

Astronomy holds, like nothing else known to me, the power to stimulate the imagination. The story of astronomy has been told countless times since the beginning of written history. In the old days, astronomy concerned the will of the gods, navigation and agricultural application through the motions of heavenly bodies. Now astronomy deals with the physical universe outside the Earth’s atmosphere. It describes a reality that does not overlap with our experiences, on scales that are (almost) beyond our comprehension. Amongst  many other questions, it deals with the subject of our origins. Questions such as “How did the universe come into being?” and “How many planets like Earth are there?” refer to subjects that return in all stories of origin and, I think, that are fundamental to human curiosity.

I feel very fortunate that I can contribute my small part to all of this. My research is part of the broader subject of planet formation. It concerns the likely birth place of planets, so called protoplanetary disks, and their evolution and eventual dissipation [read more about my ongoing research projects]