Hi there! My name is Geert, which is a funny Dutch name.
I am an Astronomer and Computer Scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center in sunny Silicon Valley, California.
I help run NASA's Kepler/K2 Space Telescope, which is discovering Earth-like planets orbiting other stars and has yielded a huge, revolutionary data set that is aiding all areas of astrophysics.
I became an astronomer because I love to analyze data using powerful tools such as Python, PostgreSQL, and high-performance computing. I believe that computers are a bicycle for the brain and I like to cycle them as far and as fast as I can. 🚴
I obtained my undergraduate degree in computer science at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, where I focused on statistics, probability theory, databases, and machine learning.
After my undergraduate studies, I tackled data analysis challenges during internships at the Meteorological Institute of Belgium and the European Space Agency.
I then went on to obtain a PhD in Astrophysics on the top of star formation at the Armagh Observatory (Queen's University Belfast) in Northern Ireland, and completed post-doctoral research at the University of Hertfordshire, where I used large telescopes to map our Milky Way and gained teaching experience by lecturing undergraduate courses on software engineering and statistics.
In 2015, I was given the incredible opportunity to join NASA, where I work now.
- 2002-2006: MSc Computer Science, University of Antwerp (Belgium)
- 2006-2007: Research Assistant, Royal Meteorological Institute (Belgium)
- 2007-2008: Young Graduate Trainee, European Space Agency (The Netherlands)
- 2008-2012: PhD Astrophysics, Queen's University Belfast (UK)
- 2012-2015: Post-doctoral Research Assistant, University of Hertfordshire (UK)
- 2015-now: Research Scientist, NASA (USA)
- object-oriented software engineering using Python, Java, C/C++, PHP;
- data cleaning, processing and archiving using unix tools and database systems;
- hierarchical probabilistic (Bayesian) inference and machine learning;
- data visualization;
- presenting scientific results to an audience of experts or non-experts.
Things I have created
- numerous scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals;
- a detailed atlas of our own Galaxy containing 219 million stars;
- websites for the IPHAS and VPHAS astronomy surveys;
- meteoroid flux profiles for the International Meteor Organization;
- the Venus ground-based image archive for the European Space Agency;
- NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day on 25 April 2011;
- visualisations which made it onto the BBC news website.