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Posts uit april, 2013 weergeven

In Memoriam: Job Vlijm

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Last week a dear person in my life past away. He will be missed. After his dead I read a speech of a scientist about what he would say at a funeral. For me this gave me support, therefore I put it here for everybody to read (I got it from a well known facebook page).

You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk t…

Reducing uncertainty: Jupiter really has four big moons, I just wasn't sure

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This week I had to defend science a lot (which means I was a lot on facebook and twitter, following discussions between religious people, scientists and people that just like to shout things). I noticed that the definition of science is unclear, not well understood and just disregarded in internet discussions. I know that you cannot be right on the internet (You will miss a good night sleep, next to a gorgeous lady (xkcd)), but I can try ;). There are many definitions of science but I like the following one:

"Science has the purpose to reduce uncertainty with use of observation and discussion"

It clearly states that science does not (really not, so please keep this in mind) have absolute answers to all the questions in life, but tries to keep us busy (with a lot of discussion) by reducing the uncertainty in the answers. It says don't panic, just look around and enjoy. Observations play a primarily and important role in this process. My link to the rest of the blogpost (I …

My first 'real' scientific report: Rossby wave observations in the Atlantic Ocean

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My background is not entirely scientific (maybe that is a good thing, I don't know). I've done my bachelor and masters at the faculty of Aerospace Engineering of TUDelft, which is a Technical University. The biggest part of the education is focused on engineering problems, team work and just building cool stuff. Which is great, but completely different from scientific research (we could debate this, but that is for another blog post (email me ;))). So what decided me to dedicate my life (well for now, I can't look in the future) to science.

In our last year of bachelor, we have an end project called the Design Synthesis Exercise. Ten students, ten weeks, locked up in very small room, creating, designing and engineering. Our assignment was to design a mission to Ganymede to find evidence for a sub-surface ocean. Cooooool!!! After a lot of work and fun, we came up with the Marius Space mission (Simon Marius (No not Galileo) was the second man (yes the first one was Galileo) …

A small update for those who care...

Just got back from the hospital. I could not believe it is already more than a week ago that we got the terrible news of my girlfriend's father. This week was a roller coaster of emotions for her, her family and me.

However, after just communicating with him, it all feels beter. The sun is shining in the Netherlands giving her father that extra energy for his recovery. And hopefully he will become his old self again :)

Thank you for the kind words we received during these stressful times. They were of great support to us. Thank you.

The story of not attending EGU2013 in Vienna

A few ours before my flight to Vienna would depart, my girlfriend and I were called. We had to come to the hospital, because the father of my girlfriend was taken to Intensive Care. His lungs were failing and his blood pressure dropped. So instead of racing to the airport we got in the car and were flying to the hospital.

Arriving at the IC, the rest of the family was already there. He was put in an artificial coma and taken on a breathing apparatus. It all felt so fragile. The doctors and nurses were however able to make him stable for the rest of the day.

It all went so sudden and unannounced. The night before I had subscribed myself to be on the official EGU2013 blogroll to write about my experience visiting my first EGU conference. However, due to these circumstances I have decided not to participate in the conference. I want to support my girlfriend and her family.

There is some good news after 48 hours of stress and waiting. The doctors and nurses are in control. They probably f…

Doubts of two scientists...

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Last week I finally solved my satellite signal processing problem (with the help of my dear colleague). As I posted a few weeks ago, we are setting up a tracking station for satellites with some students here at the TUDelft. We record the signal coming from satellites and try to extract the frequency and frequency shift of that signal. Using the Doppler effect we can make an educated guess of where the satellites are and how fast they orbit the Earth (which is super-awesome!).

However, back to the problem. We record the signal in .wav format. This file consists of two channels, which both represent a signal as a time-serie with deviations from zero (when plotted it looks like a wavy pattern). However, there are two channels and at first I only used one of the two channels (I know now this is wrong, but hé, it was my first time dealing with this). In my first blog-post I showed a figure of the signal, however this figure was made by professional (wel, I think) open-source software. As …