Dutch-born, Nienke holds a Bachelors in Physics and Astronomy, a Masters in Astronomy and Instrumentation and a PhD from Leiden University in the Netherlands. Nienke, was a research fellow at the University of Hawaii when the NRC noticed her rising star in astrophysics. The fellowship presented her with a golden opportunity to collaborate with the very scientists she always wanted to work with. Nienke joined the NRC to work on planet formation using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the world's most powerful radio telescope and the largest ground-based astronomy facility ever built.
Through ALMA, she analyzes young protoplanetary disks by interpreting structures in gas and dust, and collaborates with data reduction experts and astronomers working on star formation, exoplanets and the Solar System. She also collaborates with a University of Victoria faculty member who works on theoretical simulations of planet formation.
Nienke works with data from the ALMA archive, where unpublished datasets and images are available for download. She also makes use of the computational facilities from the local Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC). Access to these resources will allow Nienke to contribute to the creation of a new program within the NRC's Millimeter Astronomy Group, called ARCADES, which will ultimately promote and facilitate easier access to the ALMA archive for the Canadian astronomy community.
"A career in astronomy is a never-ending quest to solve the mysteries of the Universe: every research question is just another challenge."