The Engineer PowerWoman 2014 has been awarded to Gabby Aitink‑Kroes, engineer at the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA) and ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. Aitink‑Kroes has contributed significantly to the development of sophisticated optical instruments for astronomical research. The award ceremony took place at the WoMenPower conference in Hannover, Germany on Friday 11 April 2014.

Published by the editorial team, 11 April 2014

The Engineer PowerWoman 2014 is awarded yearly to a woman successful in the areas mathematics, ICT, the natural sciences or technology and contributed significantly to her employer because of her dedication, ideas and results. 'The chance of being nominated seemed very small to me, so the fact that I have now been awarded the Engineer PowerWoman 2014 is an immense surprise', says Aitink‑Kroes.

Aitink‑Kroes has been employed by NOVA and ASTRON since 1992. She has played a key role in the development of the MIRI‑instrument that will be installed on the ESA/NASA James Webb Space Telescope. By making smart use of symmetry she was able to advance the design, production and testing of the instrument. On top of this, she contributed to the development of many instruments of ESO's Very Large Telescope, and currently leads the development of the mechanical parts of the METIS‑instrument for the future European Extremely Large Telescope.

Aitink‑Kroes is an active member of the diversity committee of ASTRON that is involved with the organization of the yearly Girlsday and the discussion on gender equality within science & technology. Thereby she is part of 'VHTO spiegelbeeld'. The goal of this project is to create enthusiasm among girls and women for mathematics, the natural sciences and ICT.


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