In Humans of ASTRON we share stories about the people at ASTRON. Who are the people behind the discoveries and innovations and also, who are the people that make sure that everything runs smoothly? Lesley Goudbeek has been design engineer at ASTRON since 2013.

Published by the editorial team, 1 December 2020

What was the happiest moment in your working life at ASTRON?

There have been many fun moments at ASTRON over the years. I have to admit that, looking back to several projects, the happiest moment would be when the RF over Fibre project came to fruition. In the beginning of the project we were building a couple of lab samples and performed rigorous tests with these. But after some years several hundred were being produced by an external company. And these were not for ASTRON use only; eventually we learned that other radio astronomy institutes had interest in using the modules too, which was of course terrific. Over the years ASTRON has delivered these optical links to some institutes across the globe, and they are currently operational.

Aside from that, there are often some really entertaining moments at ASTRON in general.

Which person was the most important in your career?

For this I have to pick a former ASTRON colleague: Klaas Dijkstra. He was working at ASTRON for over ten years when I arrived fresh out of college, and over the span of two years he has taught me many aspects of analogue electronics, lab equipment, measurements and photonics. And it was quite entertaining that (I think) we had the biggest age gap possible between ASTRON colleagues at the time.

But looking back over the years I think many people have had minor or big impacts on the road I have travelled. During my bachelor years I had some great teachers, mentors, and fellow students that made my studies much more enjoyable.

And I must of course mention my current colleagues; what would ASTRON be without these awesome people working here?

Lesley Goudbeek
"When attending school, I always wanted to do something with computers or electronics." (Copyright: ASTRON)

What was your inspiration to choose this field of work?

That can probably be blamed on my father’s interest in electronics and the fact that he gave me a discarded Phillips MSX computer at a very early age, followed by a Commodore Amiga some years later. Of course, both were pretty dated in the 90's (I could type my name before I learned to write it!). So, when attending school, I always wanted to do something with computers or electronics, which in the end for me turned out to be studying electronics. When I got my junior college degree in electronics, I wanted to learn more and continued to study for my Bachelor at Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, with my final project at the UMCG regarding the use of Augmented or Virtual Reality during surgery.

Why did you choose for ASTRON?

As I grew up in Hooghalen, we had several school trips to the Westerbork Memorial next to the WSRT. Of course, during these trips the big telescopes are hard to miss and as a kid they were quite intriguing to me. After I attained my Bachelor, I was looking for a job and two vacancies stood out; one of them was at ASTRON. Giving it some thought, I concluded that ASTRON would definitely be an interesting workplace and after my first visit I found out that was an understatement. There were so much amazing projects going on inside that rural building at the Dwingelderveld. Aside from radio astronomy, there was electronics design, digital signal processing, data storage, a great mechanical workshop and much more. I have been with ASTRON for a couple of years now and I'm still intrigued with all the (new) projects that my colleagues are working on, and are eager to share with me.

What does your day look like?

When I normally go to ASTRON (outside of COVID season) I get up, do the bathroom morning routine, grab my bicycle and take a ride to ASTRON. There I change clothes and enjoy a nice cup of warm coffee (especially during autumn and winter) while the lab equipment boots up. Then I can usually be found in the Photonics Lab or in the Analogue Lab.

Depending on the project we are working on I'm either building a test bench setup to analyse a new design, do measurements, soldering or modifying a design, or create a brand new circuit board! And of course, with ASTRON located at such a beautiful place, I really enjoy taking a walk during the lunch break (if the weather permits it), or attend one of the great Techno lunches were people present their recent work and findings.


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