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We had a winter garden at home. As a child, I used to put all the plants that I could collect in it, heavily depending on my mother’s love for me to basically be the one who kept all these plants alive; every time I saw an ornamental plant somewhere which I did not yet have, I would knock on the door or ring the bell asking to get a piece of it, and then try at home to let it root and grow. Most of them did. The wintergarden became a garden.

Maybe that was a sign where my career would lead me to: I became a biologist, though at the beginning, a microbiologist working with methanogenic bacteria at the University of Nijmegen. Later I subjected myself to study bioprocess technology at the Technical University in Delft. Thereafter, I got my doctor degree in chemistry at the University of Amsterdam, strangely by studying which factors are important to enable phytoplankton to grow so succesfull in the very dynamic underwater world. So at the end, I became a specialist in plants, even thoug they are microscopically small! And that study took me from mathematics and biophysics through biochemistry, then through cellular physiology and finally to marine biology and ecology and at the end to….make me wonder why I was so lucky to be enabled to collect all that knowledge.

Always trying to see the societal relevance of science (or in other words, finding applications for the gained knowledge), through many interesting stations, the most enjoyable and impressing one being at Prof. Barbara Prezelin’s lab in Santa Barbara, California. Being enabled to be on the North pole, South pole and Red Sea in one year, seeing the vast differences between rich and poor, seeing regions where there is plenty of food and plenty of misery, understanding how vast our oceans are and how microscopically spaced events influence global phenomena, I started to wonder for the first time, if being a scientist is the best way to invest one’s life. It took a few more unforeseen events in my life before I decided one day, literally getting up to go to work, to cancel my job and to start a company based on my past experiences and know-how to grow marine phytoplankton.

And from there, life confronted me with mind blasting up and downs, both in magnitude and in intensity, more than I had ever hoped for or could have imagined; but each of which seem to have taught me new things that I did not know before.

And now I decided to spend some time, once in a while, to blog my thoughts, hoping that at some time, this blog might trigger a vivid discussion on this singularly one tremendous powerful topic that fuels my mind, that drives my motivation, that keeps me fascinated: the development of Marine Agriculture into an industrial platform which has the potential to help changing this world into a stable human unity, not a world of equality, but filled with motivated people, differing in their roots, in abilities, with success and failures, but all alllowing the other one to have a dignified live and to bring the human potential to its best possible expression, blinding by its intensity and sustainable by its empathy.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. barbara permalink
    July 22, 2009 4:16 PM

    thank you for the shout out Bernd. The paths of your life are interesting to follow and a lovely insight into who you are. But from where comes the intense drive to conquer heroic goals where combattants are numerous, in order to protect ______ (how would you fill in the blank? people, the future, impending doom, yourself, or something else?)

    phytoplankton are also great food for thought.


    • Bernd Kroon permalink
      July 23, 2009 1:49 AM

      Difficult question you ask me, I don’t think the goals are heroic, they are simply necessary from analyses of the system we live in. Nor do I think that a doom is awaiting at the horizon.

      Hugs for you, my mentor, and thank you for your fascinating question.

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