|Description:|| WimSym77 has come and gone, and it was all we could have hoped for. The Van de Hulst auditorium at ASTRON was packed with admirers from all over the world, young and old(er), already famous and up-and-coming. The remote contributions from far-flung continents went well, at least on the ASTRON side(*).|
The various talks on Science, Software, Leadership and Politics tended to be rather heavy on substance, which was much appreciated by Mr Substance himself. Fortunately, a few speakers took it upon themselves to offer a little balance to the cartloads of outrageous (but well-deserved) praise(**) that was heaped upon our smiling Wizard. Many also paid tribute to Joan, the Wizard's Wife (see image). She has been an important stabilizing force in his dizzy orbit, as he graciously acknowledged in his closing remarks
The proceedings were followed intently by Ger de Bruyn, the chairman of the organizing committee, from his sick-bed. The speakers all managed to fully involve him, as one of Wim's closest collaborators and friend, while not allowing his condition to overshadow Wim's moment.
The high point was the lovely barbecue underneath the 25m radio telescope, a singular honor that will not be bestowed on anyone else. The gods themselves smiled upon it with beautiful weather, while the sermon was delivered by much-cited Jaap Baars from halfway up the telescope structure.
(*) Thank you Jan Slagter, Merijn Martens
(**) For instance, the WSRT is the only known case where the software of a major telescope was delivered on schedule on time. He did it all singlehandedly, and everything worked! Etc, etc...
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