|Description:|| Prof. dr. A.G. (Ger) de Bruyn (ASTRON, Dwingeloo & Kapteyn Institute, University of Groningen) has received an Advanced Grant of 3.35 million Euro from the European Research Council (ERC). Advanced Grants are extremely competitive and are awarded only to exceptional researchers.|
The grant has been awarded for studying the important question of the "Epoch of Reionization" (of the early Universe), using the LOFAR radio telescope. The latter is designed, built and operated by ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. With the grant money, Ger can appoint a group of seven scientists (PhD students, postdocs, and specialists in data analysis and software) for the next five years.
The observations, and the subsequent data processing, are very challenging, since the signals are extremely weak, and are being drowned by noise from radio galaxies, our own Galaxy, the ionosphere, receiver electronics, and man-made interference. Therefore, a total of 0.9 million Euro of the ERC grant will be used to acquire an extra powerful computer cluster. This will be needed to carry out the vast number of computations to process the large data volume (more than 1000 terabyte) and to filter the feeble signals from the noise.
Ger, together with colleagues Koopmans and Zaroubi of the Kapteyn Institute and Brentjens and Yatawatta from ASTRON, and supported by an international team of astronomers, students and postdocs, has been planning this LOFAR project for the past ten years. In the next five years, they intend to harvest.
The pictures show Ger, who is a keen sportsman, skating around the "SuperTerp", the 300m heart of the (much larger) LOFAR telescope. Obviously, he approaches this with the same care and thoroughness as he studies the EoR.