Wim van Cappellen from the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, Astron, has been awarded this year’s Veder Prize for his work on the Apertif receiver, incorporated in the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT). Based on peer recommendations, the Scientific Radio Fund Anton Veder has issued the prestigious award nearly yearly since 1929. It’s accompanied by the Anton Veder Trophy and 5,000 euros prize money.
The WSRT is a linear array of fourteen parabolic antennas with a diameter of 25 meters, arranged on a 2.7 km east-west line. Twelve of the dishes have recently been upgraded with Apertif (link in Dutch), a new high-speed, wide-field radio camera developed by Astron. The system consists of many small receivers, located in the focal point of the antennas. Using beamforming, the twelve dishes are now able to map a part of the sky that’s forty times larger than before, giving the telescope a new scientific impulse almost fifty years after it was built.
Anton Veder (1879-1928) was a banker and an amateur radio enthusiast from Rotterdam. Although no scientist, he closely followed scientific advances in radiotelegraphy, radiotelephony and television. One year prior to his death, he founded the Scientific Radio Fund Anton Veder, which aims to boost developments in these areas by annually honoring a great achievement. Laureates include renowned researchers such as Cornelis Johannes de Groot, who realized the first wireless link between the Netherlands and its East India Colonies (now Indonesia).