Beyond the scientist: Chris de Korte

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Chris de Korte, professor on Medical Ultrasound Techniques (Radboudumc) and professor on Medical Ultrasound Imaging (University of Twente).

Where and when were you born?

In Sint Maartensdijk, a small village on the island Tholen in Zeeland. I was born in May so almost the “Summer of ‘69”. I lived there for 6 years after we moved to The Hague. Six years later we moved to Zeist and another 6 years later I started studying in Eindhoven.

Where do you live and with whom?

We live in Zeist, in the middle of the Netherlands. I commute to Nijmegen by train. Since I also have an appointment at the University of Twente, I also regularly take the train to Hengelo. I live in Zeist together with my wife and three kids of 16, 14 and 4 years old. A fantastic dynamic environment.

Who was your role model when you were a kid?

I was really interested in sailing boats of the “golden age”. So characters like Michiel de Ruyter and Lord Nelson had my attention. Later that changed to sailors like Dirk Nauta who won the Whitbread race around the world (currently known as the Volvo Ocean Race).

Why aren’t you doing the same thing now as your role model (or do you?)

I still like sailing but not for a daily living. I care too much about my family and friends to be away for long times by sailing the oceans. And doing science is also quite a challenge. In a way, I’m guiding my research group over the oceans of scientific challenges and trying to reach new destinations. Sometimes it is stormy, sometimes you have a gentle breeze with a clear blue sky.

What is the thing in your (work or other) history that you are most proud of?

From a professional standpoint, I’m proud of the excellent atmosphere in the Medical Ultrasound Imaging Center that also results in great scientific work. Personally, I like it that I got a VENI, VIDI and VICI for translational research that most of the time does not score that high in these competitions. Besides that, I’m happy that I can contribute to society by doing work in the church, at school and other organizations.

What is it that you would like to achieve in work in the next 5 to 10 years?

Just continue the things we are doing. Besides that, science is too much focused on milestones like papers, grants, international experience etc. For example, the amount of money that is vaporized by writing grants that sometimes have a ‘chance’ of only 5% to be awarded is enormous. We really have to search for better systems to distribute the money for research. I would like to contribute to that.

For what can we wake you up?

For almost nothing. I’m really bad in getting out of my bed. I only manage to wake up early at conferences for a run at sun rise in a totally different environment and to reset my jetlag.

What is your hobby and how good are you at it?

I like cycling. I barely use our car. For work I travel everywhere by train and folding bike. In summer, I try to cycle home each week by racing bike. Also for pleasure I cycle regularly on the roads in summer and in the woods in winter on an ATB. I’m not really good at it, it is just for pleasure.

What is your biggest irritation?

Lack of commitment. If you have to do something, do it for at least the full 100%.

Who would you like to invite for dinner, if you had the chance?

The first person that pops up in my mind is Jezus but he is not physically present anymore. His message is so inspirational and if we would act accordingly the world would not have been such a mess. Although I also realize that a lot of people that call themselves His followers are a disgrace to his legacy.


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