The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded 159 young, recently promoted researchers, among whom dr. Adam Deller (ASTRON) a Veni grant. Each researcher receives 150,000 euro. This allows the talented researchers to do research for a period of three years. The Veni grant of NWO is one of the most prestigious awards for young researchers. Receiving this award marks an important step in a scientific career.Dr. Deller focuses his research on on radio pulsars, the energetic compact objects which are formed in a supernova explosion. Radio pulsars are visible to great distances across the Galaxy and careful study of their radio emission can be used, amongst many other purposes, to build a model of the ionized gas component of the Galaxy. To anchor this model, independent distance measures are needed, which Dr Deller obtains using observations with Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI). VLBI provides the sharpest angular resolution imaging in astronomy, necessary to discern the tiny "parallax" motion on the sky which divulges the distance to the pulsar.
The image shows the predicted distribution of over 100 known radio pulsars across the Galaxy, a significant fraction of the known population of 2000. One of several projects Dr Deller will undertake in his Veni project is to measure precise distances to all of these objects - a sample much greater than ever assembled before, and sufficient to build a much more precise model of the Milky Way's ionized gas. Observations have already begun on the objects marked in green, while a future project will address the objects shown in red.
965 researchers requested a Veni grant this year. The requests were evaluated by national and international scientists. The Veni researchers are at the beginning of their careers, but have already shown a remarkable talent for conducting scientific research. They belong to the top of their field.
159 researchers now receive a Veni, which means 16.5 % of the researchers that submitted a proposal for the Veni actually receives one. The number of excellent proposals NWO receives, is much higher.
About ASTRON: www.astron.nl
About NWO and the Veni grant: http://www.nwo.nl/nwohome.nsf/pages/NWOA_4YJDQ3