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A Consummate Insider

Submitter: Jan Noordam
Description: Today we say goodbye to Joris van Enst as scientific director of LOFAR. Being a geophysicist himself, he has wisely delegated the discussion about the astronomical use of LOFAR to "the process", recognizing that the latter is particularly strong in the Netherlands. In the meantime, he has concentrated on the non-astronomical applications, which after all represent a large part of the scientific justification of LOFAR in the eyes of its financial backers.

Joris has made important contributions to "making LOFAR happen" politically. Above all, he is a consummate insider. His network includes everyone worth knowing in the right circles, and what is more, he is part of theirs. For instance, he is on kissing terms (the right end) with our former Minister, which is difficult to overestimate in terms of political currency. Impeccably shod, he is a master of the art of communication, including the advanced technique of deceptively artless banter.

Now that LOFAR is well on its way, and also because the pendulum of prevailing wisdom has swung on its erratic course, Joris has dropped a hint that he is available for other things. He was rapidly scooped up. Starting in June, he will endeavour to harmonize the flow of information between the 26 water authorities in the Netherlands. In an age of rising sea-levels, his new job might bring us even more benefits than LOFAR will.

The picture was pried from the office of his chief-of-staff. She cherises it because it gives a glimpse of the man underneath the high-flyer. On a deeper level, Joris is the younger brother of G, nine times victorious on the Amstel. He is ruled, firmly and affectionately, by no less than three women. At times, he delights in titillating the titillatable with good-natured fraternity talk. And he gives the most wonderful speeches. Delivered smoothly and entirely without notes, they are superbly balanced in tone and body language. We look forward to hearing his last one today.

Copyright: ASTRON
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