Let the science begin!

Afgelopen week vond de start bijeenkomst van mijn Europese onderzoeksprogramma OptiVisT plaats. On-line uiteraard, vanwege corona. Als coordinator gaf ik de aftrap in  mijn welkomstwoord. Daarin memoreerde ik aan dat dit programma voor mij gelinked is met Kester.

For me personally, OptiVisT is very dear for a reason that goes well beyond its many scientific and training opportunities. While many of you are aware of this, I prefer to share this with everyone.

If you make it to the very end of the OptiVisT proposal (or the grant agreement), you will find a picture of a child playing. It is my son Kester, when he was about 6 months old. Kester was a cheerful and inquisitive kid, who loved to know everything there is to know about nature. Nearly three years ago, at the age of 12, Kester died of cancer.
OptiVisT arose, when thinking about the topic and the involved challenges, was a way for me to find out if I could still “enjoy” vision science and scientific thinking, after this this deep personal loss. I concluded I could. Not as a way to get over it, but as a way to get through it.

For me, it goes to illustrate how, and I am now quoting because someone once said it very nicely already:

“… The boundary between academic work and our own life is artificial. …. there is always a deep personal involvement with the topic behind it. ”

I am very glad that all of you, each for your own personal reasons, are willing to take on this journey, together.

Veel van de betrokkenen wisten van het overlijden van Kester, maar de nieuw gerecruteerde medewerkers uiteraard niet. Nu wel. De quote in deze quote is van Elain Pagels.


Opkomende zon bij La Herradura, waar ik eind december 2018 en begin januari 2019 aan de voorloper schreef van het voorstel dat uiteindelijk zou leiden tot OptiVisT.