“In the Netherlands astronomy is considered to be a field worth investing in, not least because of the strong links with information technology.”
“An important feature of this master’s is that our students spend half their time working on research projects with members of our department. We involve them in front line research in all possible areas, from cosmology to the chemistry of the interstellar medium.
The Sterrewacht in Leiden is the oldest university observatory in the world. It dates from 1633, and has a very rich history. More recently, Leiden’s reputation can be largely attributed to Professor Jan Oort,
who put Leiden on the world map. Our department is still one of the most active astronomy research institutes in the world. In the Netherlands, astronomy is considered to be a field worth investing in, not least because of the strong links with information technology. Even though astronomy does not directly serve a financial or economic purpose, nonetheless the government has invested hundreds of millions of euros in this field. These funds are now being used for projects like the LOFAR radio telescope, which will be used to make fundamentally new observations. These are very exciting developments.
My research concerns the distribution of dark matter, one of the major issues in present-day astronomy. Most of the matter in space cannot be seen, but you do become aware of it when measuring gravity. I am head of an international research group which is researching how light is deflected by gravity. The world of astronomy is very international. Astronomers frequently work together and use satellites and telescopes from across the world.”