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Advice for young engineers from ASML CTO Martin van den Brink
3-minute read - By Sander Hofman, June 29, 2016
In his career spanning over 30 years at ASML, President and CTO Martin van den Brink has received many awards for his contributions to nanotechnology and microelectronics, including the IEEE Cledo Brunetti Award, the Robert N Noyce Medal and an honorary doctorate from the University of Amsterdam. He's also a Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion (Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw). So what advice does Martin have for the young engineers of today? Here's what Martin contributed to the yearbook for the Delft University of Technology 'Electrotechnische Vereeniging' study association.
“When I was asked to contribute to the yearbook of a study association in Delft, I had a moment of doubt. After all, my own academic roots were on the other side of the country. But then I realized the association in question was the Electrotechnische Vereeniging. Your association has supplied the world with top technical talent for almost 100 years. You can be proud of that. So allow me to say that it is an honor to contribute with this short reflection on the start of my career. I hope it helps you in yours.
“My own career started 31 years ago, after my studies Electrical Engineering (HTS Arnhem with an internship at Delft University) and Physics (University of Twente). I went looking for a job and thought I had found it at Philips, until I was handed a flyer during my job interview. The flyer read ‘Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Lithography’.
“A joint venture of Philips and ASMI, ‘ASML’ would manufacture chip machines. The consensus in the market was that the whole thing was doomed. One American analyst even wrote: 'ASM Lithography must give up aspirations to be a player in the manufacturing market. The world passed them by about two years before they started.'
"But without hesitation, I started my career there. Here’s why.
"First and foremost, the technology fascinated me. I recognized immediately that semiconductor lithography equipment would not be one technology, but would actually bring together many different types of expertise. Optics, mechatronics, electronics, software engineering, chemistry. They all triggered my curious engineering brain. I was determined to work across disciplines, instead of focusing on one.
"I was determined to work across disciplines, instead of focusing on one."
"Secondly, I was an ambitious young man. At ASML, I could work on challenging new technologies in a small group of exceptionally bright engineers. We failed often, but always started again to eventually succeed. I had the chance to take on additional responsibility as a project leader, then as a program manager. That meant that most of the time, I was in over my head. But every time, I learned something new. I grew fast.
"In 1984, curiosity and ambition drove me to ASML. We still foster these characteristics at ASML. In fact, they are an essential part of our corporate culture and innovative power. In 2015, all major semiconductor manufacturers use our machines to drive Moore’s Law towards ever smaller, faster and more powerful computer chips.
"So stay curious and never stop learning. Be ambitious and step out of your comfort zone. Challenge the status quo. And know that you too can change the world through innovation.”
Martin van den Brink
President and Chief Technology Officer
Martin van den Brink was appointed President and CTO on July 1, 2013. He joined ASML when the company was founded in early 1984, holding several engineering positions; in 1995, Martin was named Vice President Technology. In 1999, he was promoted to Executive Vice President Marketing & Technology and appointed as a member of ASML's Board of Management.
Martin earned a degree in electrical engineering from HTS Arnhem (HAN University) and a degree in physics from the University of Twente in the Netherlands in 1984. In 2012, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in physics by the University of Amsterdam and in 2014 was made a Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion (Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw).
He received the 2014 IEEE Cledo Brunetti Award for his contributions to nanotechnology and was awarded the 2015 IEEE Robert N Noyce Medal for exceptional contributions to the microelectronics industry. In 2019 Martin received the Imec Lifetime of Innovation Award in recognition of his personal contribution to the realization of ever more powerful microchips.
About the author
- Sander Hofman
- Media relations manager
- +31 6 2381 0214
- Sander loves to bring technology, stories and media together on ASML’s digital channels. He’s a communications dude by day, an aspiring screenwriter by night, and a geek by sheer luck.