Govert is a self-taught astronomy writer and populariser in the Netherlands. As a teenager, he started out as an amateur astronomer after seeing the planet Saturn through a three-inch telescope. Although Govert never lost his interest in astronomy, he did not pursue an academic career. Instead, he trained as a mechanical engineer and subsequently became a picture researcher for a Dutch encyclopedia publisher and editor-in-chief of the Dutch amateur astronomy monthly magazine Zenit.
In 1982 Govert was hired as a scriptwriter and programme editor by the planetarium in Amsterdam. He also began to write newspaper and magazine stories about astronomy, and his first book was published in late 1985. In 1987 the planetarium moved to Artis (the Amsterdam zoo) and Govert continued to produce popular planetarium shows, including a children’s show based on Sesame Street characters, for which he received an Award of Excellency from Children’s Television Workshop.
For many years Govert combined his part-time job for the Artis Planetarium with his freelance work for newspapers, magazines, radio and television. In 1998 he became a full-time freelancer. He writes about astronomy and space science for the Dutch daily national newspaper de Volkskrant, for a number of other Dutch weekly and monthly magazines, forNew Scientist and BBC Sky at Night in the United Kingdom, and for Sky & Telescope (for which he is a contributing editor),Science and Scientific American.
Govert has written over fifty books on various astronomical topics, from children’s books and simple sky guides to topical books about new developments in astronomy. Some of his books have been translated into German and English, including Flash! The Hunt for the Biggest Explosions in the Universe, Evolving Cosmos, The Hunt for Planet X, and Atlas of Astronomical Discoveries.
He is also the owner and editor of the popular Dutch astronomy portal site www.allesoversterrenkunde.nl. In 2002 he received the prestigious Dutch Eureka Prize for his contribution to the popularisation of science and technology.
Asteroid 10986 was named Govert by the International Astronomical Union in 2007.
Lars Lindberg Christensen
Lars is a science communication specialist heading the ESO education and Public Outreach Department (ePOD) in Munich, Germany. He is responsible for public outreach and education for the La Silla-Paranal Observatory, for ESO's part of ALMA, for the European Extremely Large Telescope, for ESA’s part of the Hubble Space Telescope and for the International Astronomical Union Press Office.
He obtained his Master’s Degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Before assuming his current position, he spent a decade working as a science communicator and technical specialist for Tycho Brahe Planetarium in Copenhagen.
Lars has more than 100 publications to his credit, most of them in popular science communication and in its theory. His other productive interests lie in the areas of graphical communication, written communication, technical communication and scientific communication. He has written several books, for instance The Hands-On Guide to Science Communicators (Springer, 2006), Eyes on the Skies, Hidden Universe (both Springer, 2008) and Hubble – 15 Years of Discovery (Springer, 2006). His books have been translated to Finnish, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Danish, German and Chinese.
He has produced material for a multitude of different media from star shows, laser shows and slide shows, to web, print, TV and radio. His methodology is focussed on devising and implementing innovative strategies for the production of efficient science communication and educational material. This work involves working with highly skilled graphics people and technicians, some results of which are visible at: www.eso.org and www.spacetelescope.org.
He is Press Officer for the International Astronomical Union (IAU), a founding member and vice-president of the IAU Commission 55 Communicating Astronomy with the Public, manager of the ESA/ESO/NASA Photoshop FITS Liberator project, executive editor of the peer-reviewed Communicating Astronomy with the Public journal, manager of the IAU International Year of Astronomy Secretariat, and the Executive producer and director of the science documentary movies Eyes on the Skies – 400 Years of Telescopic Discoveries (~440,000 copies distributed) and Hubble – 15 Years of Discovery (~840,000 copies distributed). Lars received theTycho Brahe Medal in 2005 as the youngest recipient so far for his achievements in science communication.