17 1 May 2014 | year 56
Biweekly magazine of the Eindhoven University of Technology For the latest news: www.cursor.tue.nl/en and follow @TUeCursor_news on
MOOC on aerod ynamics about to kick off Wednesday 23 Ap ril - On Monday Ap ril 28, the first mo Online Course (M dule for the Mass OOC) on Sports an ive Open d Building Aerody This TU/e Internet namics will be pu course, presented t online. by prof.dr.ir. Bert will introduce some Blocken of Built En ten thousand peop vironment, le from all over the wo world of wind curre nts with the help rld to the exciting of examples from What’s special ab sports, among ot out the course is her things. that it incorporates Over ten thousand recent research re people registered sults. for the course alr eady.
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New research center for high-tech systems Thursday 24 April - TU/e has a new research center, which opened on April 24: the High Tech Systems Center (HTSC). With the center, TU/e wants to become the front runner in research and development of new, accurate high-tech systems. Not only does HTSC combine disciplines from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, physics and computer science, but also stimulates collaboration between TU/e and the industry. Eighteen TU/e professors are affiliated with the institute. Over the next four years, HTSC will realize two hundred PhD positions.
Celebration dies focuses on closer collaboration with industry
Bert Meijer appointed as Academy Professor by KNAW
Friday 25 April - “TU/e wants to grow in its collaboration with its industrial partners. It’s extremely important for the future of our Brainport region.” Rector Hans van Duijn ended the 58th dies natalis of TU/e in the Paterskerk with a blatant invitation. It was a celebration that overtly highlighted the wish for even stronger bonds with the industry. Prof.dr. Norman Fleck of Cambridge University (“we’re only three and half hours away thanks to Ryanair”) was presented with his honorary doctorate.
Thursday 24 April - The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) will this year award the Academy Professor prize to TU/e professor Bert Meijer and biological psychologist Dorret Boomsma of the VU University Amsterdam. The prize recognizes the lifetime work of researchers who are among the world top in their fields, according to the KNAW. The two scientists will each receive an award of one million euros, to be used for a scientific goal of their own choosing.
More news on www.cursor.tue.nl/en
When the issue is security
Last week I went to one of the foreign embassies in The Hague for a visa application. I have had experiences of applying for visa in several countries, for different destinations. Rules and procedures at each embassy and consulate are similar and different at the same time. A visa application in India normally goes something like this: First, a receptionist will check the copy of the appointment to let me in. Then she will ask me whether I am carrying my passport, fully filled in visa application form, photos and exact fees in cash. Only if I say ‘yes’ she will give me a waiting number and appoint me to security. Security will then check my bag, scan my body and ask me to switch off my mobile phone. When all these procedures are done, and I am considered innocent enough for a visa application - I am allowed to enter the hall and wait for my turn to see the visa officer. I never questioned this method and believed this to be the most secure and efficient procedure. In The Hague, as Google Maps showed me the exact location, I looked up to see nothing but yet another Dutch house
with some flags hanging from the roof. I walked down a few stairs, pushed the door open and found myself in a small room. There was nobody around, except a man sitting behind a counter. Realizing that I was already in front of the visa officer without going through any of the procedures, I handed in all required documents. Even more surprisingly, he expressed no annoyance as I told him I was short of cash. He gave me directions to the nearest cash machine, and I was allowed to go out, run to a cash machine in the next street, come back and finish my application. Now I wonder why it takes so much security and complicated procedures to accept a visa application at other embassies in other parts of the world. Is it just a crowd management technique or a precaution against crime? Maybe both. However, the embassy in The Hague somehow gave me an impression on how security and efficiency can be built from freedom, trust and respect. I have taken some time to think about it. Did other authorities do the same?
Bipashyee Ghosh Innovation , Master student Sciences
20 | Zoom in
1 May 2014
Zoom in | 21
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Scholarly Sanctuary: An Iranian Refugee at TU/e “I was in prison for 105 days - solitary confinement for the whole 105 days. I didn’t see the sky. I didn’t see myself. I didn’t see anyone.” At universities across the Netherlands and Belgium, there are currently 22 academics like Foad Sojoodi Farimani (formerly of the Mechanical Engineering department) who’ve found a safe place to continue their research, away from hostile governments that want to imprison or execute them. And though they’re far from their home countries, loved ones and often living in uncertain circumstances, these academics are the lucky ones - the ones who’ve escaped thanks to activist groups like Scholars at Risk and its Dutch partner, UAF. In February, after 21 months with TU/e, Foad Sojoodi Farimani’s contract with the Mechanical Engineering department ran out. His advisors were very pleased with his work, but there are simply no more funds available to keep him at the university. Because his passport is about to expire and it’s too dangerous to return to his native Iran, Sojoodi Farimani and his wife have applied for asylum and moved to an asylum seekers’ center on April 21. This is where they’ll stay until they receive official permission from the Dutch government to live in the Netherlands. Until then, Sojoodi Farimani is in limbo - without a country, without a job, and fearing every day that Iranian government officials will continue intimidating his mother and siblings in the hope that it’ll force him to return home. “Even at a technological university (in Iran, ed.) we have theology courses and you have to pass them. Out of 140 credits, approximately 20 will be in theology”, explains Sojoodi Farimani. “My main activity was fighting against religious superstition. You think students must have very open minds -that they must have read a lot about their history, their culture- but they haven’t.” Sojoodi Farimani is a man with many sides. He’s a mechanical engineer specializing in medical robotics and an inventor with two
registered patents. But he’s also an activist, fighting to defend what he believes are basic human rights - the right to organize, to read what you want, and to think independently and express your opinions. It was this role that drew his government’s scrutiny. “I decided to create an online library with all the forbidden books. I tried to collect books from everywhere. Cyber places were a kind of shelter for us activists. Even though there’s a lot of censorship in Iran -we don’t have access to Facebook, for examplethere used to be a service called Google Reader. A lot of activists gathered in this place. I helped people to reach my books and read them.”
He was hit in the head, dragged, and thrown into a car In September 2010, Sojoodi Farimani was walking to his university -Tehran’s Amir Kabir University- when a man approached him and said his name. He immediately recognized the man as a low-ranking Basij member (a paramilitary group). Fearing he’d be arrested and possibly never found again, he sprinted for his university grounds hoping that being on university property would force the officers to arrest him
legally. But before he could reach the gates, another plainclothes agent tripped him. He was hit in the head, dragged and thrown into a waiting car where the officers forced his head between his legs. He later arrived at Iran’s infamous Evin Prison where he spent 105 days in solitary confinement and was subjected to both physical and psychological torture. “They try to break you. They try to make you feel ashamed of yourself. They ask you some really nasty questions. It’s disgusting. That was the worst part. I was a research assistant. I had about 15 women as students. They were just my students but they tried to make me confess that I had some relations with them.” Sojoodi Farimani was accused of numerous activities including insulting Islam and having connections with the Mojahedin, an Iranian leftist revolutionary organization. But in reality, his only crime -what inflamed the wrath of his governmentwas his human rights activism on social media. Sojoodi Farimani was eventually sentenced to eight years in prison for his activities and it’s this sentence that forced him to flee Iran in November 2011.
“I just asked them to help me to not kill myself” “After they released me, I had to go to a mental hospital for 10 days. I just asked them to help me to not kill myself. I was hopeless. I was really hopeless. Scholars at Risk found me. I have no idea how they found me but without them, I would maybe be in a jail in Iran right now. They helped me a lot.” Scholars at Risk is a U.S.-based international network of academic
institutions hosted by New York University. Its main goal is to bring scholars facing severe human rights abuses in their own countries to positions of sanctuary at 250 participating institutions worldwide. “What’s unique about Scholars at Risk”, explains Sinead O’Gorman, its European director, “is that we also do a lot of work preventing attacks and promoting academic freedom. We don’t only want to help the ‘emergency cases’ -people who need to flee their home countriesbut we also want to address the root causes of intellectual suppression.” In 2009, Scholars at Risk partnered with the Netherlands’ Foundation for Refugee Students (UAF) in the hopes of broadening their reach in Europe. Says O’Gorman, “Because of this strong partnership, our European network really blossomed. And here in Holland, there’s a strong network of Dutch universities that are very committed to this work. They’re really leading by example and other countries are looking to the Netherlands as a model.” Since 2009, 57 academics have been placed at universities in the Netherlands and Belgium and, today, a full third of all scholars placed in the network are working right here in Holland or neighboring Belgium. Ella de Lange is the Scholars at Risk project coordinator at UAF and helped place Sojoodi Farimani at TU/e, the university’s first such placement. “It takes a lot of financial means to host someone. On the other hand, the university receives the researcher’s knowledge back. It’s not only a good cause - the university also benefits.”De Lange is also helping Sojoodi Farimani in his quest to find a new placement but she explains UAF’s goals also go beyond job assistance. “In the Netherlands, we aim for protection but we’re also now working a lot on promotion. We want the academic world to know that this is a problem. We try to convince universities that
they should invest in these scholars. We also promote our work to scholars so they know that they’re not alone.”
Iran will probably never be home again While offering sanctuary abroad is sometimes a necessary step, Scholars at Risk and UAF ultimately hope that one day their network won’t be needed. “These scholars are outside of their countries. They’re away from their families”, says Ella de Lange. “Part of them is very happy that they can continue their work but, of course, they’d like to continue it in their home country.” Sinead O’Gorman explains further, “The first placement buys the scholar some time to think about their next step. We hope that within five or ten years they can return, not necessarily to their home country but at least to their home region. We work to bring them closer and closer to home.” But for Sojoodi Farimani, Iran will probably never again be home. “It’s not just the government. I hope the government changes. As a reformist I hope it changes gradually. But I’m an atheist, an ex-Muslim, so even if it changes there’s a threat from the society for me. Iran is one of the most secular countries, but I would still be in danger there.” And though his future is uncertain and he still struggles daily to heal from the abuse, he says he doesn’t regret fighting for human rights. “You will die one day anyway but then you ought to question yourself - what have you done with your life? If I want to live in a free world, I have to fight for it. I’m alive and I’m fighting for my life. I’m continuing my war against the Iranian government here in the Netherlands.”
Interview | Angela Daley Photo | Bart van Overbeeke
22 | Research
1 May 2014
4 burning questions 1 ’s on What f your o r e ov ? the c ation t r e s dis
2 Wh a peo t do yo ple u te a whe t par ll ties n abo ut y they a sk our rese arch ?
Miruna Florea | Built Environment
3 What person, technology, or device has been essential for your research?
does How efit n e b ty socie ur work? yo from
Concrete from waste
1 | cover This is a picture I took of a concrete pier in the Gulf of Mexico, in which the damage to the structure caused by sea water is clearly visible. I added the ‘recycling’ symbol as an overlay, composed of six recycled materials I studied for my thesis, all of which can make concrete more durable. 2 | parties My work mainly deals with reducing the impact building
materials have on the environment. One of the ways to achieve this is by using industrial by-products to replace the natural ingredients of concrete. This makes the concrete more sustainable and reduces landfilling, while at the same time it can bring enhanced properties to the concrete product.
Evelyn Aparicio | Applied Physics
3 | essential The laboratory facilities available to me as well as
the access to scientific databases and events have been a great help during my research. What has taken my thesis beyond the academic standard was the collaboration with the industry, which added a practical aspect to my study, and enabled me to expand my experiments to the level of pilot testing.
4 | society benefit My thesis proposes a number of ways to
make building materials more sustainable, more durable in adverse environments and more cost-effective. At the same time, the replacement of primary materials has its own benefits: the reduction of the CO2 footprint of the material, and a reduction of both the quantity of ‘waste’ materials and the need for using limited natural resources.
Understanding algae scum
1 | cover The cover of my thesis shows algae colonies. The colonies 3 | essential The most important component of my research was are subjected to turbulence, hence the patchy appearance. Some of the algae are moving upwards, towards the water surface. This movement is effectuated by gas bubbles inside the colonies.
the interdisciplinary assistance I received from my supervisors - I had four in total. Each of them contributed by providing a holistic approach to the topics I dealt with.
2 | parties My research project studies the reasons for scum formation. Scum formation is caused by algae concentrating on the surface of lakes or reservoirs. It looks like green paint on top of the water. During my project I studied the interaction of algae and the turbulence of a lake. I found that the reason for scum formation is gas bubble growth. Gas bubbles grow because of the photosynthetic activity of algae that release oxygen into the water. When supersaturation is reached, bubbles may occur. These bubbles bring the algae to the surface and remain there for a few days.
4 | society benefit The problem with scum formation is that
the species that are present can be toxic. During summer many lakes used for recreation are closed because of scums. My research project contributes to an understanding of the phenomenon of scum formation. With this knowledge, measures to prevent scum formation can be designed. And we can bathe and sail in lakes during summer without running the risk of being poisoned by algae.
Sonia Gómez Puente | Eindhoven School of Education
OGO: Learning from Practice
1 | cover
3 | essential The teachers, supervisors and students I’ve worked
2 | parties My dissertation reports about the effects the theoretic
4 | society benefit The research results allow for more multi disciplinary projects, for example by including societal, economic, and environmental aspects. Several elements that have been introduced (such as exploring the problem, searching for alternatives, and building a model) that have a positive effect on how students tackle problems.
The cover shows the four OGO projects that have been researched: the truss structure, and propeller projects (first-year Mechanical Engineering), and the Power Construction and Robotic Surgery (second-year Electrical Engineering). These four projects have been redesigned and now contain problems that present realistic case studies.
framework of OGO (Design-Centered Learning) has on lecturers, supervisors, and students. OGO was introduced to apply disciplinary knowledge from lectures to case studies. The most important conclusions of this study show that OGO projects characteristics (such as the open-ended nature of the problems, the authenticity, and the hands-on implementation) stimulate the students to look at the problem from a broader perspective, and to gather knowledge that they can use for solving technical design problems. This way, they learn skills that are relevant for their future careers.
with have been indispensable, because without their help this research project would not have existed.
People | 23
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And how are things in New York City? More and more TU/e students go abroad for their studies to follow courses, internships or a doctorate path. What is it like to find your way in a new country? Students tell their stories.
New York City, the city of yellow cabs, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. For my fourmonth internship I am working at New York University Medical Center, which is a great opportunity to explore this gigantic metropolis. The goal of my project is to optimize pacemaker techniques and to improve patient selection. Using MRI data from patients and a computer model of the heart and circulation, CircAdapt, I try to obtain more knowledge of the mechanisms that cause a non-synchronous contraction of the left and right ventricles in a diseased heart. Using these new insights, patients who will profit from pacemaker therapy can be selected more carefully and optimal patient-specific pacemaker therapy can be applied. The city that never sleeps doesn’t need a pacemaker at all. Besides significant cultural differences among people, each borough has its own identity and own unwritten rules. If you want to run into a crowd of tourists, go to Times Square! However, for a real NYC experience it is way more pleasant to visit the different boroughs: have dinner in Chelsea, rent a bicycle in Brooklyn, go to a ‘hipster’ bar in Williamsburg or just sit down in one of the many NYC parks and watch all those different people walking by. As fast as the street scene changes when walking from the Financial District to China Town, the NYC weather does so, too. One moment you are wearing a t-shirt and shorts, and a few hours later you can’t see the rooftops of the skyscrapers anymore due to falling snow. But NYC would not be NYC if it didn’t adapt perfectly to every weather condition, a flexibility that we can only hope to achieve in the use of pacemakers in the diseased heart.
Pet Masteerr Huntjens Biomed studen , ical En t of gineeri ng Would you also like to write an article about your time abroad? Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more stories online: www.cursor.tue.nl/en
Life after TU/e
Name: Emilio Maldonado Reyes Place of Birth: Monterrey, Mexico Date of Birth: 14 February, 1987 Studied at TU/e: “I started my Master in Automotive Technology in August 2011, and defended my thesis in October 2013. Officially, I graduated in November, 2014” Current position: Design architect for automotive projects What do you do now? “Right now I’m one of the pioneers of the new branch of Prodrive Technol ogies based in Mexico. Prodrive is a well established company in the Netherlands, which is now expanding operations towards emerging markets. I’m a design architec t for automotive projects. It is definitely what I wanted to do. One of the reasons I decided to study abroad is that I wanted to be a designer of solutions, and there was no way of obtaining the necessary tools in my country.” How did you find this job? “To be honest, finding my job was the definition of serendipity. A mutual acquaintance put me in a good word for me with someone who was recruiting for this specific position, before the actual job posting was available on the Internet. Chance, maybe - however I already had other offers from other companies at the time. I don’t think it is difficult for a highly skilled and trained professional to find employm ent. There is always a great need for good engineers out there.” Have you considered staying in The Netherlands? “Even before coming to the Netherlands it was my intention to go back. I believe in my country and I did not want to be part of what we call ‘brain drain; when trained professionals choose to stay abroad because they have better there. I really like the Netherlands, but I feel like I owe my country a lot, and now I have what it takes to actually start making a difference, even if it’s a small one.”
What happens to international students after they graduate from TU/e? Do they go job hunting in the Netherlands, pack their bags and explore the world, or return to their home countries? International TU/e graduates talk about their lives after TU/e.
How do you reflect on your time at TU/e? “I chose to study at TU/e because it offered what I thought to be the best blend of subjects for the field of automotive engineering, without compromising in one specific area. I really liked that the approach was towards having a system-level integration of all of the different topics. Looking back, I have very fond memories of my time there. I would definitely do it again, although maybe I would have spent more time delimiting my research topic. Things can get out of hand very fast if you’re doing experiments.” What advice would you give to current students? “Plan ahead. More importantly, plan for eventualities. I’ve never heard of a case in which someone said “Oh, I had plenty of time to do my thesis, and I actually finished earlier than expected”. You won’t. Seriously.”
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13 mei, 19.30 uur, Gaslab TU/e
Een avond Japan
Een avond die verdergaat dan de clich és die over het Land van de rijzende zon best Te gast zijn Diana Kuijpers (Japanse aan. Didier Volckert (over popcultuur) en ambassade), Electrical Engineering Celine Vincentstudente een tijd in Japan). In samenwerking (studeerde met studievereniging GEWIS.
Woensdag mei, 17.00-23.59 uur, Kanaaldijk Zuid 50, Eindhoven
Animo’s Huizen- en Disputenrac
De jaarlijkse Huizen- en Disputenrace komt er weer aan. De uitdaging kan ook dit jaar weer worden aang egaa vriendengroep een korte afstand over n door met je huis, dispuut of het Eindhovensch Kanaal te roeien. Aansluitend zal er een knal verlies op het water goed gemaakt lend feest plaatsvinden waarbij activiteiten! Na het grote succes vankan worden met biergerelateerde de Huizen- en Disputenrace georganivorig jaar wordt ook dit jaar seerd door Damesdispuut i.o. Animo. www.huizenendisputenrace.nl/ Entree: 15,- euro voor een volledig team