Defended my PhD thesis ‘The Virtual Surgical Pelvis: Anatomy Visualization for Education and Surgical Planning’

On the 31st of October, yes that’s Halloween, I successfully defended my PhD thesis/got doctorified. After presenting PelVis at IEEE VIS in Baltimore, I flew straight back to the Netherlands for this special occassion. Jetlag notwithstanding, I did manage to answer one hour’s worth of questions and can now officially call myself doctor (not that I would ^^). I’ve got some pictures for you, my faithful blog readers, of course, taken by my brother and official event photographer Joeri Smit:

I made a special page for my thesis, with some more details and a download link to the pdf version here. I had an amazing day, and would like to thank all those involved for this (read the Acknowledgments chapter in my thesis for a more wordy thank you ;)).

Photo by Marieke Roggeveen for the TU Delft
Photo by Marieke Roggeveen for the TU Delft

FacebookFree – On quitting Facebook for a week

Last week I ran a little personal experiment of quitting Facebook for a week. As a PhD student who is behind a computer all day, it is alI too easy to ctrl+t facebook.com when the going gets tough or when the going gets really boring. The goal of this post is not to come off as a holier than thou person who judges others for what they do on Facebook, but to self-reflect and hopefully learn from the process. I would like to summarize some personal experiences and things I learnt here.

Continue reading FacebookFree – On quitting Facebook for a week

How scientific conferences are like music festivals

Fresh out of the nightly brainfart department, a short look at the similarities between scientific conferences and music festivals as well as some tips and tricks that apply to both:

  • The bigger conferences often feature parallel sessions not unlike how music festivals can have multiple stages and concerts at the same time.

    Tip:  Take a look at the schedule beforehand and choose the talks/concerts you really must see beforehand, so you don’t miss out on anything important during the event.

  • The keynote speakers are like the headliners at a festival: big names in the field who are allowed more time to present their work.

    Tip: Keynotes and headline shows got that spot for a reason, while there are exceptions, in general you can expect high quality content and good delivery, so be sure to attend.

  • Big conferences and festivals can span multiple action-packed days and therefore be really exhausting.

    Tip: Eat and drink well to maintain your energy levels and just hang in there. Big conferences/festivals only come around once a year and you might not get the chance to go every year, so make the most of your time there!

Pelvic 3D model (finger)painting with the Leap Motion

One of the cool things about being a PhD is that you can sometimes enjoy working with super-smart MSc students. It gets even more awesome when aforementioned super-smart MSc students do super-awesome stuff and you get to watch! This afternoon I lent out the Leap Motion to Cees-Willem Hofstede and here’s what he managed to do in a couple of hours:

That’s right, he uses WebGL and the Leap Motion to allow the user to interact with a 3D model of the human pelvis and to paint on this model using his fingers and what I imagine must be several magic incantations! This is just a first proof-of-concept, so more news as it emerges and hopefully I can record a better video for you soon too 🙂

My PhD supervisor left me

This post is of a more personal nature than most, but I would still like to write about this. Last September I took a course called ‘Achieving your goals and performing more successfully in your PhD‘ (a serious contender for the longest-course-name-ever-awards). Among other things, the course had us thinking of potential threats to getting our PhD-degree in the given time. The first thing that came to my mind was the thought of my supervisor leaving me. And guess what, that totally happened: my PhD supervisor left me!

Continue reading My PhD supervisor left me

What’s it like to be a PhD-student?

This weekend one of the students that is working on a MSc-thesis project related to my project asked me: ‘What’s it like to be a PhD-student?’. While there is no clear-cut answer for this and this probably varies wildly between fields, countries and departments, I would still like to reflect on my own experiences in this post. I am now officially one year into my PhD (out of four here in the Netherlands) and this is what it’s been like so far: Continue reading What’s it like to be a PhD-student?