She will “only” start in six months, because after that she will have time to complete her current work. She is currently working in Hawaii. Dempsey succeeds Marco de Vries, who currently remains interim manager.
More opportunities for little girls
Astron is very pleased with Dempsey’s imminent arrival. “She’s very good at her job,” spokesman Frank Newggins said. “She has experience in areas that interest us. Jessica is good at astronomy, she can handle instruments and knows how to keep the observatory running.” Dempsey’s scientific focus is primarily on researching molecules in the galaxy at radio wavelengths.
According to ASTRON, Dempsey also gets along well with the organization, as she finds the importance of “inclusion, equality and diversity.” The scientist wants young girls to have a better chance of becoming science and technology leaders in the future.
‘Dempsey looks forward to the seasons’
The new manager is looking forward to a new job. “It is an honor to have this opportunity and to work with this very dedicated and talented ASTRON,” she says. “ASTRON and the Dutch astronomy community in general are world leaders in many fields. We will face great challenges in the next decade. I am very excited to be part of that adventure.”
Dempsey is currently the deputy director of the East Asian Observatory in Hawaii. So next year the sunny American island will be replaced by Drenthe. “She’s already told me she’s looking forward to experiencing the seasons,” spokesman Noygens said with a smile. “She doesn’t mind a little rain.”
Dempsey previously worked at the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (also in Hawaii). She was also the first scientist from Australia to work in Antarctica. There she spent five summers building instruments and a robotic telescope. In 2005, she also spent the entire winter in Antarctica to conduct an experiment. She was also a member of the award-winning Event Horizon Telescope team, which captured a picture of a black hole for the first time.
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