20 February 2024
Carbyon’s first two carbon removal installations will help clean the Québec skies
In Brainport Eindhoven we change the world because here we develop key technologies that change society. We can only do that because of our pioneers. Therefore, meet one of our pioneers: Jop Hendrikx.
My name is Jop Hendrikx and I am 21 years old. I was born in The Hague but moved to Delft when I was four years old. Later I moved to Tiel, where I still live.
I am doing the bachelor of Applied Physics at TU/e. In July I finished my bachelor final project with a 7.5. There I was in the research group on nuclear fusion. Two machines are used in nuclear fusion: a tokamak and a stellarator. We want to be able to see very well what is happening in a machine. The temperature and the location of that temperature, for example. The tokamak is a doughnut shape, with the same cross-section everywhere. A stellarator on the other hand is very complex, because of the intrinsic rotations of the machine, a cross-section across the whole machine is completely different. My goal is to make a cross-section of a stellarator, to see exactly what’s happening and visualize that.
It's a super fun experience and it's nice that the researchers want to use it. For example, there are also interested people in America who want to use these visualizations.
I have a very broad orientation and in high school, I found it very difficult to make a choice. That is why I finally decided to choose the broadest academic study: applied physics. That was a very logical choice. I liked physics and I was also very good at mathematics. The practical side of the TU/e appealed to me very much. The whole ambience, the fact that students want to work together so much to make something, felt very good.
After my bachelor, I want to do a double masters in physics and nuclear fusion. These masters are very complementary. It is so nice that I do not have to do two times two years, but that I can combine these masters in a total of three years. This way you do not have an extremely heavy study load and you have the security that with one extra year you can complete both master programs.
Physics is mostly very theoretical, but I also wanted to learn a lot more software-wise. How is something put together? How can you make something in a certain way so that it works? I wanted to learn more about the applied side of it. Blue Jay Eindhoven was the ideal opportunity for me. It is a slightly smaller student team, so you have a sense of belonging. The goal of also being able to save people is also an important point for me.
Initially, I wanted to learn more about AI and wanted to work as an engineer. But I was a bit afraid to do something software related because I didn't have enough knowledge about it. However, there was a need for a lead and after a pitch, I became the AI lead.
Most of all, I learned that I like management. A student team is perfect for learning what you like and what you want.
Next year I will go to Aster. There we are going to try to make a satellite. We are going to focus on cube satellites, satellites of about one cubic meter. We can still determine the exact functions. That is what is so nice about working in a student team.
Besides the fact that, as a new student team, you can do everything yourself, it is cool that we are the first at the TU/e to do something with space. As a university, you want to be able to compete with other universities, for example, TU Delft, which has a lot to do with it. It is very cool to have your name in space as a TU/e.
The difficult thing about my broad interests is that you do not always know what you want or in what direction you should look. Since my experience at Blue Jay Eindhoven, I would like to focus more on management at a technical company. Then it's about what a team looks like, how a project proceeds, how you improve the process. My study fits in well with that. Especially in physics, you try to explain everything from the basics. And I think that is very nice as a basis for structuring a large company.
Through my technical solution, I have increased my analytical thinking skills and that is an important aspect of management. I have learned how to approach problems and it is also important to explain work processes to the outside world. I'm not afraid that I won't be able to put enough of my technical knowledge to use, because at companies like ASML and Philips there is plenty of physics being applied.
I do always want to keep learning and finding out new things. I don't have a clear preference for the field of work, but nuclear fusion is being put into practice more and more. If that becomes something, then energy transition is the field I would like to work in. Suppose that would be too theoretical, then with my education I could also work in photonics.
I also think it's important that my work means something to society. There are enough problems in the world for which it is important to find a solution.
There is a huge amount of energy being consumed and more and more people consuming energy. Nuclear fusion is a solution to it. It's a green energy type that doesn't emit anything at all. It's the perfect candidate to solve something. Solar and wind power are very fluctuating and nuclear fusion is a relatively inexhaustible source. It is made from hydrogen, something you can easily create and get a lot of energy from.
The days I go to Eindhoven, I feel like I'm among like-minded people. It's nice to see what kind of cool things are being developed around you. All the companies being together and being very accessible is also very convenient. There is so much to do and you see so much being developed. It is very cool to study here. Brainport has so many advantages.
A student team is the best thing you can do as a student. I have learned so much there. You have to deal with other studies, sponsors, and you get a bigger network. It has so many advantages. So I can recommend it.