Goodbye Symposium Aarnout van Delden

'Have fun and be curious when doing science.'

Aarnout van Delden and IMAU director Thomas Röckmann
Aarnout van Delden en IMAU director Thomas Röckmann.

Despite the beautiful weather on 11 May this year, the theatre room of Parnassos was well-filled to say goodbye to Aarnout van Delden. Aarnout is very well known at IMAU for being a skilful researcher and a passionate teacher who always shares the  latest insights with his students. Personally, I got to know Aarnout as the MPOC (now Climate Physics) Master programme coordinator 11 years ago. Although I did not have to travel far, coming to Utrecht from a different country I was supported and welcomed by Aarnout. Above anything, Aarnout has always been concerned with the Climate Physics Master students, helping them find their way at IMAU and the university. After graduating, I was delighted to become the teaching assistant for Aarnout's Dynamical Meteorology course. The following anecdote from this time serves well to illustrate Aarnout's curiosity and passion for the weather; I got a message saying: 'We are currently on vacation in South Africa and just had an intense cold front coming through! Can you believe that this happens at such a low latitude, isn't the weather just amazing?'

Also during the farewell symposium, Aarnout's main message was: have fun and be curious when doing science. I felt honoured that Aarnout asked me to give the opening presentation at his farewell symposium about the beauty of our atmosphere. Then came an exciting talk by Rein Haarsma who confirmed to the audience that indeed science is fun. Through the years, Rein worked on many exciting topics with Aarnout's students. After a well-deserved break, Jordi Vila continued with a presentation on the challenges of capturing surface processes in atmospheric models. As much as a science talk, this was a warming and sincere story about Jordi and Aarnout's shared history and tight friendship. The afternoon was concluded by Maarten Ambaum, another close friend of Aarnout, with a talk about the essence and meaning of understanding. Building on Aarnout's considerations, Maarten took the audience on a philosophical journey through the different aspects of what it means to do science and how to cope with questions and results.

So far, Aarnout managed to be in charge of the symposium but luckily there was also room for a few surprises! Karin van de Wiel succeeded well in surprising Aarnout with an honorary membership of the NVBM (the Dutch association of meteorologists). Earlier this year Aarnout received the 5-year NVBM award acknowledging his teaching efforts in Climate Physics. A fascinating and exciting afternoon was then closed by some very kind words from the current IMAU director Thomas Röckmann, complimenting a notably satisfied and happy Aarnout surrounded by an impressive crowd of colleagues, family and friends. I am confident that I can speak on behalf of all current and former IMAU students and colleagues, saying that Aarnout will be missed. Thank you Aarnout, we hope to still see you around at IMAU and wish you a great and well-deserved retirement. Like you, we will make sure to keep having fun, stay curious and enjoy the weather!

Michiel Baatsen