About me

I am a scientist with a background in astrophysics and astronomical data processing. I enjoy working in collaborative team(s), analyzing and visualizing data, and documenting and presenting results.

I work as a metrology specialist at Agentschap Telecom, where I contribute to the definition of guidelines and requirements for measurement devices in a European and global context. I have previously worked in the LOFAR Science Operations & Support team at ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. Before that, I have held posts at the University of Copenhagen (DK), at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta (Canada), and at the University of Groningen (NL). See my short cv for a timeline.


mhd [at] vanderwiel [dot] org
linkedin profile
Matthijs, Sep 2016


My scientific work has revolved around the study molecules and dust in the immediate environment of protostars, including circumstellar envelopes, planet-forming disks, and outflows. The aim is to understand how the central, young stars influence the physical and chemical processes at play in their surroundings.

The physical processes that control the formation of stars and their planets are of great interest because it sets the scene for the emergence of life. I am involved in several research programs. The main ones being (1) REALM, set out to study outflow dynamics and protoplanetary disk structure at spatial scales of a few au; (2) PILS, detecting a plethora of large, biologically relevant molecules, while also facilitating the study of dynamics in a famous binary protostar; and (3) preparations for SKA science in the context of planet formation and complex molecules.

Much of my research builds on spectral surveys of molecular line emission at (far)-infrared and (sub)millimeter wavelengths. Here, the word 'survey' refers to scanning all wavelengths accessible to a particular instrument, usually toward a limited sample of targets. For this purpose, I have used several (imaging) spectrometer instruments, in rough chronological order: (1) heterodyne receivers at JCMT on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i [SLS program, Van der Wiel+ 2009, 2011]; (2) FTS and heterodyne spectrometers on board the Herschel Space Observatory, which — as the name suggests — operated from space rather than from a mountain top [Van der Wiel+ 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016]; and (3) the interferometer array ALMA, located in northern Chile [PILS, Jørgensen & Van der Wiel+ 2016, Van der Wiel+ 2019].