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 ;)).
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.
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!
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 🙂
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!
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?