Technically-minded, with a long experience working in international scientific projects. I began my career doing research in astronomy, with a focus on data analysis. I have worked with various astronomical instruments as a user and expert. For the past decade I have worked as a calibration scientis in a Belgian-participant space project and for the European Space Agency. This work includes: instrument calibration, data validation and quality analysis, SW scripting, writing technical and user-focused documentation, teaching via webinars/seminars, liaising between instrument teams and management, representing on user committees, running small data and software projects. I have a multicultural background, am results- orientated and am a team-player.
ISDEFE; the European Space Agency 2014 – present
Instrument Calibration Scientist for the PACS instrument of the Herschel satellite, ESAC, Madrid
• Technical support for the astronomer clients, translating requests into software/data/documentation requirements.
• Coordinator and facilitator, a “translator” between software developers and end users.
• Quality control of scientific data, finding solutions to problems e.g. creating the data products outside the standard data-processing environment.
• Helping investigate instrument calibration issues during the post-operations phase. Presenting the PACS proposals to the ESA—Herschel management and reporting back to both sides.
• SW scripting in Jython, to be used to analyse Herschel data by the calibration team and by the astronomy users.
• Helping to manage the development of components of the Herschel software with the ESA and PACS developer teams.
• Writing technical documentation (for software and hardware), technical reports, and client reports. Managing the archive of PACS documentation and writing the “PACS Instrument Handbook”.
Institute voor Sterrenkunde, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium 2008 – 2013
Instrument Calibration Scientist for the PACS instrument of the Herschel satellite
• Analysis of instrument data. Part of the team that worked on calibrating the Herschel—PACS instrument, beginning just before the launch through to various in-flight validation phases, and then during routine operations.
• Participating in SW and data product validation campaigns.
• Training astronomers to work with the Herschel software and PACS data, via webinars, seminars, and small-group sessions.
• Presenting results/progress/plans to the ESA Herschel team, to various overseeing committees, and to the astronomy users of PACS data.
• Participating in yearly optical telescope observing runs with the Mercator telescope (sited at the European Northern Observatory on La Palma).
• Supervising student master and bachelor projects.
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, USA 2006 – 2008
Research Associate working with Hubble Space Telescope (HST) data
• Analysed HST data, turning a series of 2-dimensionsional images into a 3-dimensional model.
• Reported on our research at international conferences and professional journals, and promoted our work via press interviews, and via the HST News web-pages.
• Ran the institute’s “women in science” monthly meetings for 6 months.
European Southern Observatory, Munich, Germany 2006
A three-month placement to complete a prior project in collaboration with ESO researchers; including validating the data-reduction techniques used for one of their instruments.
Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC), Tenerife, Spain 2003 – 2005
Instrument Support Scientist for an IAC instrument; “Euro3D” EU Research Training Network Fellow
• Installed and ran the IAC’s optical integral field spectrograph whenever it was used. I was responsible for mounting, testing, calibrating, and using it.
• Beta-tested the software developed in the Euro3D project to deal with data from instruments like the IAC one, and edited the documentation for several of them.
• Promoted the goals of the RTN by initiating and then running four successful research projects with European and international researchers, from experiment design, through data analysis, to reporting the results in professional journals.
Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK 2000 – 2003
Designed research projects, ran the observing programmes, analysed data and reported on the results.
Open University, Belfast, UK 2002
Tutor for the Open University course “The Energetic Universe”.
One year of tutoring for the OU’s distance-learning course for Ireland and Northern Ireland.
University College London, London, UK 2000
A three-month placement to complete an astronomy project.
Nicolaus Copernicus Research Inst., Warsaw, Poland 1997 – 2000
Designed research projects, ran observing programmes, analysed the data and reported on the results.
PhD Astrophyics, April 2000. University of St Andrews, UK
MSc Radio Astronomy, Dec 1992. Jodrell Bank, University of Manchester, UK
BSc Astrophysics, July 1991. University of Wales College Cardiff, UK
Software: I have written programs in F77, I wrote Perl scripts to construct and mine an astronomy database, and I currently script in Jython within ESA’s Herschel software system. I can understand Java code and have worked a little in IDL.
Writing: I have written and co-written numerous science papers (http://tinyurl.com/kxal3t5) and I have edited numerous documents and technical books for colleagues. I can write documentation in xml and html, and am familiary with various other informatics software.
Websites: Am co-creator of a wiki about 3D spectroscopy in astronomy: ifs.wikidot.com. I wrote much of the website of the Integral instrument: www.ias.es/proyeto/integral
Languages: English (native), Dutch (intermediate: B2 on the CEFR scale), German (B1-2, learnt naturally as a child), Spanish (A2)
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