Maarten van Herpen has learned that inspiration can come in any number of ways. A spark, or a flash. Or it may even come while you're gripping a newspaper clipping. Many great films and novels found their inspiration from an impactful headline, or a powerful photograph in the morning paper.
But what about those with a career in the sciences? Can the news have the same effect on a budding research scientist, or should they cancel their subscriptions?
Maarten van Herpen is proof that they shouldn’t. With over 100 patents to his name, his job description might as well be Mad Professor. In fact, when pitching his wild ideas, he’s heard more than once lines like “I think it’s crazy, I don’t believe in it, but here’s some funding and prove me wrong,” he says.
Sitting down to talk with him, it’s clear that he’s constantly having eureka moments, but what’s most impressive is that his epiphanies and novel ideas actually see the light of day.
At the age of 12, Maarten was just as much a dreamer as he was a realist. Struck by an image of a state-of-the-art Philips laboratory in the local paper. You might even say that this is the moment that Maarten got his ‘spark.’
“That was really an inspiration to me,” he recalls. “I wanted to work there.”
And with that, Maarten devoted himself wholeheartedly to one day working there, which is not difficult to understand for a young kid with some initiative.