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ASTRON astronomers make light work of pulsars!

ASTRON Astronomers Joeri van Leeuwen and Jason Hessels won the ‘Enlighten Your Research’ competition of SURFNet. They win a so called dynamic light path, free of charge. A light path is a direct, fast connection between two (super)computers using glass fiber. They also receive 20.000 Euro to make sure the light path is embedded well into their research.

Published by the editorial team, 7 September 2009

In their winning project, Van Leeuwen and Hessels are researching pulsars. Pulsars remain when stars explode at the end of their life. They are just as heavy as stars, but at the explosion they are compressed so much, that they become 100,000 times smaller than stars. Because of this compression, pulsars are very suitable objects for research into the fundamental properties of matter and gravity in our Universe.

“We are searching for rare pulsar systems with the biggest and most sensitive radio telescopes in the world,” says Van Leeuwen. “In order to save, process and visualise the constant stream of data, we will now unite four different supercomputers and workplaces in Dwingeloo, Groningen and Amsterdam per light path into one system.”

More information:

Dr. Joeri van Leeuwen. E-mail: Tel: 06 – 26 154 552

Femke Boekhorst, PR & Communicatie. Tel.: 0521 595 204.

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