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Skype an Astronomer

Or use Zoom, or Jitsi...

Meet an actual scientist with your class and get answers to all your questions, like...

  • What does an astronomer do all day?
  • Do all scientists wear a lab coat?
  • Or for example: Why is it impossible to travel faster than light?

From now on you can book an online 'guest lesson' for one or more school groups and allow the students to make their acquaintance with astronomy and science in an informal way. The scientists who are available for this will introduce themselves below. Please be advised: They do not speak Dutch so this is less suitable for younger children. As soon as we have more Dutch speaking options, this will be announced below.

A videoconferencing guest lesson can be requested by sending an e-mail to

Portrait showing a smiling young woman with long dark hair and wearing a white shirt
Hinna Shivkumar

I am a first year PhD student at the University of Amsterdam. My current research focuses on characterizing exoplanet atmospheres. I have also previously worked on time-domain astronomy for my master's thesis. I have experience operating telescopes for both research and outreach purposes. Besides research, I also enjoy communicating the wonders of astronomy to the general public. I have done this by, for example, working at science festivals, organizing astronomy-related activities for school students, and volunteering at stargazing events.

Portrait showing a smiling young man with curly hair and a goatee
Danté Hewitt

I am a second-year astronomy PhD student here at the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy of the University of Amsterdam. I completed my previous studies in South Africa and now my research is focused on Fast Radio Bursts - enigmatic millisecond-duration flashes of radio-light from other galaxies. In our research group, we spend lots of time searching for more of these bursts, and once we find them, we pinpoint where exactly they come from and study their time and frequency properties. This gives us clues to try and uncover what astrophysical objects are producing these bursts, and also how exactly they are generated. Previously I worked on cataclysmic variables (binary star systems where a white dwarf star sucks up material from a red dwarf star). I spend a lot of time scheduling observations for radio telescopes all across the world, and have also observed with optical telescopes in Sutherland (South Africa) and on the roof of API!

Portrait showing the face of a young man with dark hair and glasses
Anwesh Madjumder

I am a third year PhD student at Anton Pannekoek Institute working with my advisor Prof. Michael Wise. I work on X-ray studies of clusters of galaxies and in particular their merger. I use data from space telescopes like Chandra and compare that to simulations to make meaningful conclusions. I am also currently in the outreach team trying to share the mysteries of cosmos to the general public. Come find me giving a tour of API dome during the next time you visit!

Swapnil Shankar

I am a third year PhD student at the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam. My scientific interests include Computational Astrophysics, in which I use computer simulations to understand the mechanism behind the superluminous supernovae. Superluminous supernovae are 10 times more energetic than "normal" supernovae and what drives their explosion is still a subject of active research. Besides this, I am also working on developing GPU codes that solve Einstein's equations and fluid equations in the presence of strong magnetic fields, which are necessary to understand systems such as neutron star mergers and supernovae. I have limited experience with telescopes, but have deep interest in all aspects of Astrophysics including science fiction, and am always happy to have discussions about them.