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7.33 years At ASTRON

Submitter: Harm Munk
Description: Life in ASTRON was diverse, interesting, and never boring. I joined ASTRON in 2009, the period when LOFAR was being rolled out. After about a year, on June 12, 2010, LOFAR was inaugurated by Queen Beatrix. Then followed the intense period of making LOFAR operational. Most of my effort was spent on coordinating the software development, as part of the LOFAR Commisioning Coordination Group, nicknamed the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" by one, now retired ASTRON employee.
Then LOFAR became operational, in December 2012. And that's when life really started, because keeping a new instrument based on new technology operational proved to be the challenge, both in hardware and in software.

On top of that, DIGESTIF was succeeded by APERTIF, and that meant changes at the WSRT. To keep the 40+ year old dishes operational for another five to ten years meant some serious maintenance besides removing old and installing new receivers and signal processing equipment.

The last two years were spent on software development for LOFAR, and especially on handling the post processing pipelines. But also on coordinating the HILADO work package of the RadioNet 3 project, in which both ASTRON and JIVE partipicated.

But life at ASTRON is not only work, it also is pleasure. Especially partaking in the famous ASTRON cabaret was a great source of merriment: dreaming up the script, designing and making the decors, the rehearsals, and of course the performances themselves. The picture tells it all.

After these seven point something years, I exchange ASTRON for TNO, looking back on a stimulating period being part of a great team at ASTRON, and cooperating with JIVE.
Copyright: ASTRON
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