KM3NeT collaboration award for Nikhef engineer Edward Berbee

9 March 2023

The KM3NeT collaboration that is building a neutrino telescope in the Mediterranean Sea has awarded Nikhef’s Edward Berbee the Giorgos Androulakis award for engineers in the project.

That was announced this week. The jury praised mechanical engineer Berbee for his numerous contributions to the construction of the KM3NeT project and his commitment and dedication. Edward Berbee has been involved in the design, construction and testing of virtually all components of the detector.

Nikhef has been closely involved with KM3NeT from the beginning. The detector will eventually consist of hundreds of vertical lines on the bottom of the deep sea to which light sensors in glass spheres are attached, called DOMs. Some of these have already been placed near Italy and France and are active.

The network of thousands of sensors in the murky deep sea can reveal the trajectory of passing neutrinos. The research involves both the properties of neutrinos themselves, as well as the sources in the universe.

Berbee designed the DOMs that are now being produced by the hundreds, including at Nikhef at Science Park Amsterdam. He also developed all the mechanics to ensure that the detection units roll out in a controlled manner and stand up straight, without any damage.

The prize was awarded for the first time this year. Named after the late KM3NeT quality manager Giorgos Androulakis, it has two categories: for young collaborative scientists and for engineers who made a vital contribution to the project.

Group leader Patrick Werneke of Nikhef’s Mechanical Engineering Department calls the award to Berbee more than deserved. “A wonderful recognition of his tireless work for KM3NeT.”