About Myself

I was born on 21 October (Wednesday) 1953, around 8:45 a.m. (Central European Time) in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. This picture was taken on a St. Nicholas Day in the 1980s when I was much slimmer, still had some hair on my head and dreams of becoming an important astronomer.

I studied astronomy at the Astronomical Institute of Utrecht where I obtained my Ph.D. in astronomy in 1989.

From 1989 to 1999 I was curator of astronomy and mathematics at the Museum Boerhaave, Leiden.

From 2001 to 2002 worked as an astronomical software developer for the High Performance Computing Group of the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy of the Utrecht University.

From 2005 until 2014 I worked as a research associate for the Institute for History and Foundations of Science where I helped to develop the Christiaan Huygens Web, a website on the famous Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695) and Dutch science in the 17th century and on a joint project with the Utrecht Research Program in the History of Cartography (Explokart) and the Astronomical Institute of Utrecht on the history of Dutch celestial cartography.

Since 2014 I work as a scientific researcher for the Mathematical Institute of Utrecht.

My main interests are calendars, chronology, the history of astrology, cartography, navigation, stellar & planetary astronomy and anything (even slightly) related to these topics.


Some of my Terrestrial Coordinates in the Past


List of Publications

My Webpages


Please note that the lunar crater Van Gent, the minor planet 1666 van Gent (1930 OG) and the comets van Gent (C/1941 K1 = 1941 VIII = 1941d), van Gent-Peltier-Daimaca (C/1943 W1 =  1944 I) and van Gent (C/1944 K2 = 1944 IV) were not named after me but after the (unrelated) Leiden/Johannesburg astronomer Hendrik van Gent (1900-1947).

Nor am I related to the American amateur astronomer and Astronomy League president Robert (“Bob”) L. Gent, after whom the minor planet 10498 Bobgent (1986 RG3) is named.


E-mail: E-mail