Dr. Huib Jan van Langevelde is the new director of JIVE

Published on 20 August 2007


On behalf of the JIVE board, its chairman Prof. Anton Zensus of the Max-Planck-Institute fur Radioastronomie announces that as per September 1 2007 Dr. Huib Jan van Langevelde will be the new director of the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE) in Dwingeloo (NL).

JIVE is the central institute of the European Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) Network in which 17 telescopes in 11 countries collaborate, to produce astronomical images with unsurpassed resolution. Huib Jan van Langevelde (44) has been a member of the JIVE staff for 12 years, holding various positions. Recently he has managed various international projects related to astronomical user software and computing. His astronomical research focuses on the circumstellar matter around young and old stars, with an emphasis on astrophysical masers.

Science councils from China, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom collaborate in JIVE, which is hosted by ASTRON in Dwingeloo. JIVE serves as the central facility of the European VLBI Network (EVN) for data processing and user support. It also takes the lead in technological innovations. A considerable fraction of the JIVE staff is actively involved in astronomical research. JIVE has a very international character, with 13 nationalities represented amongst its 35 staff members.

During his time at the Sterrewacht Leiden, where he got his PhD, van Langevelde specialised in radio and millimetre interferometry. Subsequently, he moved to New Mexico (USA) to represent the EVN at the VLBA correlator. He returned to the Netherlands to take charge of the scientific commissioning of the new central data processor of the EVN at JIVE in Dwingeloo. Since 1998 he has held various management positions at JIVE, first in the daily operations of the data processor, later in EVN-wide software projects. At the same time he carried out a variety of innovative astronomical experiments, like measuring distances to maser stars through extremely accurate astrometry. He is an associate professor at Leiden University where he is involved in various scientific projects, as well as new millimetre interferometry initiatives (ALMA, eSMA). Van Langevelde is also member of a large number of national and international committees on astronomical instrumentation and computing.

Van Langevelde has filled the director position of JIVE ad interim from February 2007, when the former director, Mike Garrett, became the general director of ASTRON. Van Langevelde also assumed the leadership of EXPReS, an international project, subsidized by the EC, aimed at implementing an e-VLBI network in which the remote telescopes are connected in real-time through optical fibre links. JIVE is looking at new ways to take further advantage of this new technology in order to boost the sensitivity of the European VLBI facility, including the establishment of a new correlator facility in Dwingeloo (NL).