| When I passed the ASTRON Reading Room, my eye caught a gathering of this illustrious group. Jan Noordam, Wim Brouw, Jaap Bregman, Arnold van Ardenne, Johan Hamaker, Thijs van der Hulst and Ger de Bruyn are clearly up to something, but we are not allowed to know. Hopefully these giants from radio astronomy will surprise us in the coming months.
Editor's note: Well spotted by our young colleague. This inconspicuous group, a.k.a. "De Stille Kracht", is indeed up to something. They are united in their great good fortune of having been involved in an altogether unusual success story: The Westerbork Syhthesis Radio Telescope(*). Led by Mr WSRT, they are engaged in preparing a brief history of the last 45 years, to share with you all.
(*) For more than a decade, the WSRT was the most powerful astronomical telescope in the world, operating in the most exciting wavelength area (most of the Nobel prizes awarded to astronomical subjects were based on radio observations). And even after other radio telescopes caught up, the WSRT continued to set the standard for instrumental excellence for several more decades. The success was magnified by the absence, in the 70's and early 80's, of competition from satellites or mountain top telescopes. Ah, it was good to be alive. (It still is, of course.)