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The Mission: The techie and his talks: the importance of soft skills





Steven Vos (1976), Professor of Design & Analysis of Intelligent Systems for Vitality & Leisure Time Sports. He will deliver his inaugural address on the Friday preceding the Eindhoven Marathon, on his 40th birthday: October 7, 2016.




‘After a study of social psychology at the KU Leuven I got to work at a spin-off of that university, a research agency where I worked together with economists and sociologists. I came into contact with beta research as an R&D manager at a private expertise center and then I started my PhD in human movement science at my alma mater. After postdoc work there I went to work in the Netherlands at Fontys Sporthogeschool (FSH). As a lecturer I am responsible there for the ‘Move to be’ research group. Via cooperation with TU/e I came to where I am now; part-time Professor recreational sports and vitality. How can we use clever solutions to enable people to sport and move throughout their lives? In the search for an answer to this question, all my domains are combined.’


Target group Crossfertilization ‘I am my own target group. I’m someone who loves to go in for sports, but is having trouble combining it with a job to which I am fully committed and with my family - my wife and two sons of 6 and 2 years old, for whom I really want to be home. I like running and cycling, but at present I am suffering from injuries. Now I am sporting indoors on a racing bicycle on a roller tester.’

‘During studies into the profile of participants in running events in 2013 I got in touch with Aarnout Brombacher, dean at Industrial Design (ID). In running research we found a joint passion. Our cooperation intensified: TU/e wanted to do something connected with sport and we were doing something in that area. In 2014 we started a joint statutory doctorate period whereby an employee of FSH became a PhD candidate at ID. Brombacher and I are his supervisors. And now I have my own chair.’

‘At TU/e I have a room in Laplace; I’m there every Monday. On other days I come to the campus also, though. My activities at FSH and TU/e are strongly interwoven. One of the tasks connected to my chair is to establish connections with various departments. I already have contacts with Data Science, Industrial Engineering & Innova­ tion Sciences and the urban designers and planners at Archi­ tecture, Building and Planning. I’m also involved in the strategic alliance with Utrecht University.’


‘I occasionally feel like an interpreter between Belgian and Dutch people. During consultations with both nationalities I say to the Dutch that they should not worry if they do not hear anything immediately. And I tell the Belgians not to be frightened by the Dutch directness. At meetings in Belgium real decisions are often made during drinks afterwards. That is really different in the Netherlands, where discussion partners want to operate in the most open manner. It’s another way of working. However, I cannot get used to the eating culture of the Dutch.’

On page 51 backward / with Jos Lichtenberg


no.15 SEPTEMBER 2016


Professor with a strong need for freedom


Brand-new graduate school Data Science in convent

COLOFON Slash is the magazine for external relations and alumni of the Eindhoven University of Technology and comes out three times per year. Total or partial use of Slash’s articles can only be done in consultation with the editors and with acknowledgment of their source. The use of photographs or illustrations is only allowed in conjunction with the creator’s permission. www.tue.nl/slash


Marjan van Loon, CEO Shell Nederland

Editorial Address Eindhoven University of Technology Communications Expertise Centre, Postbox 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, e-mail slash@tue.nl, Tel (040) 24733 30/247 4020 Head editor Han Konings Final editing and coordination Brigit Span Translation Benjamin Ruijsenaars Magazine concept Maters & Hermsen Journalistiek, CEC. Design Natasha Franc


Do you want to advertize in Slash? Please inquire with H&J Uitgevers, Tel (010) 451 55 10 Do you want to receive Slash? Register at: www.tue.nl/slash ISSN: 2212-8468


Computer detects esophageal cancer

SAI: Thirty years of design for the industry



Formula 1 versus AFM

TU/e friendships that have stood the test of time

Editorial advisory board drs. Steef Blok, prof.dr. Carlijn Bouten, mr.drs. Ben Donders, prof.dr.ir.Maarten Steinbuch


Separation of grease from plastic waste

KEEP IN TOUCH Interested in collaborating with TU/e or in studying, working or getting your PhD with us? Or would you like to keep in touch as an alumnus? Here are our contact details:

Collaboration (strategic partnership, contract research) TU/e Innovation Lab, +31 (0)40 247 48 22, Innovationlab@tue.nl Employment or PhD candidates Personnel Department +31 (0)40 247 20 90, jobs@tue.nl Designers Education Stan Ackermans Institute +31 (0)40 247 24 52, sai@3tu.nl Studying (bachelor, master)

Education and Student Services Center, +31 (0)40 247 47 47, studeren@tue.nl Alumni +31 (0)40 247 34 90, alumninet@tue.nl Press Office and Communi­ cations Expertise Center +31 (0)40 247 48 45, cec@tue.nl, www.tue.nl

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FROM CONVENT TO CAMPUS The history of the convent dates back to the 15th century, when nuns moved in. They would eventually stay there for some two hundred years. The Sisters of the Society of Jesus, Maria and Joseph moved into the building towards the end of the 19th century. The last sisters left early this year and the premises were transferred from the congregation to Kadans Vastgoed B.V. TU/e and Tilburg University are renting a wing of the building. It has been agreed that they will deal ‘respectfully’ with the convent, a nationally listed building.

JADS ROOM The former refectory is now being used as a canteen and as a central place for informal gatherings and relaxation.

In the heart of Den Bosch, at Sint Janssingel, we find the magnificent old convent building Mariënburg, with a centuries-old chapel and a monumental convent garden. This is the historical location for the brand-new Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS), a joint venture between TU/e, Tilburg University, the city of Den Bosch and the province of North Brabant.


THE FIRST BATCH The first batch of the Master’s program counts 22 Master students and 16 pre-Master students, who are required to follow several subjects before being allowed to start their proper Master’s programs. In addition, 9 students will start on the Data Science Design Engineers’ program. Furthermore, some 25 scientists and support staff from both TU/e and Tilburg University will set to work in Den Bosch.

Researchers, PhD candidates and lecturers who teach and are involved in the research group can work in flexspaces.



ATTIC FLOOR The attic floor features several study and consultation rooms.

MONUMENTAL ARCHWAY OF PEAR TREES STUDENT DWELLINGS AND LECTURE HALL IN CHAPEL The aim for the next academic year is to start using the other part of the building, in conformity with the schedule of requirements of the universities. In the chapel there will be a lecture hall seating 180 students. In addition, some 70 to 80 student dwellings are going to be realized. Those will not be managed and operated by the university, for that will be done by Kadans Vastgoed.

in convent in Den Bosch

The adjoining garden is monumental. It means that visitors must deal carefully with all its vegetation. For instance, students will need to get to the bicycle shed on foot, holding their bikes; cycling is not allowed. Gems in the garden include the mountainhigh plane-tree and the endless archway of pear trees that you can walk through.

BUSINESSES Businesses, especially in Brabant, are keen to be involved in the programs, says Angelique Penners-Wouters, Director Operations of JADS. ‘Some 420 businesses have shown an interest and cooperation agreements have already been signed with a number of them.’ Students will also get to work with cases and datasets provided by the businesses. The idea is that startups in the Data Science sector can also establish themselves in the building.

THREE LECTURE HALLS On the first floor three lecture halls have been made. The first one accommodates 24 students, the second 70 and the third one some 30 students.

JOINT BACHELOR AND JOINT MASTER TU/e and Tilburg University started a joint Bachelor’s program Data Science in September both on their own campuses. 45 students enrolled for this. Also, in Mariënburg students can follow the joint Master Data Science Entrepreneurship. TU/e is contributing to the Master’s program with lectures about technology and entrepreneurship in particular and Tilburg University will provide entrepreneurship, ethics and law. Tilburg and Eindhoven get to keep their research centers and ’s-Hertogenbosch will accommodate the combined research center in the area of data entrepreneurship and data innovation.


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Student team applies formic NEW FIGUREHEAD acid technology on VDL bus ENERGY Laetitia Ouillet (38) is the new Director of the Strategic Area Energy at TU/e. The former Eneco top executive will be committed to program and consortium formation with external parties, which will include a focus on expanding the third flow of funds and the European investment program Horizon 2020. Ouillet regards her move as an excellent opportunity to contribute to relevant research. ‘The whole energy sector seems to be looking for new products and services as a result of the current energy transition. Research and development of new technology are tremendously important, also to help policymakers and businesses make the right choices. The challenge lies in bringing both worlds together.’

Student team FAST (Formic Acid Sustainable Transportation) and VDL Bus & Coach have since April been joining forces in the development of the world’s first city bus running on formic acid. Team FAST is going to develop a range extender for an electric bus. This trailer, stuffed with equipment, has to extend the opera­ ting range by two hundred kilometers and will be a showcase for the promo­ tion of formic acid technology.

Activities for alumni This autumn TU/e is organizing various activities for alumni again. On October 11 the program features a career event for young alumni: the netWORKshop. A combination of a workshop and networking round the theme ‘Stay or Go’. On October 20 Professor Gerrit Kroesen will present an Open Lecture on High Tech Campus Eindhoven. Have you missed the engraving moments in Alumni Avenue? On November 1 there will be a new opportunity to eternize your name and graduation year in the glazing of the walkway. Look for more information and registration on www.tue.nl/alumni-agenda Would you like to receive our Alumni Event newsletter digitally? Register via Alumninet (https://alumninet.tue.nl)

Alumni meeting at DDW The way in which research, design and technology can lead to designs for the future may be experienced in the exhibition Mind the Step, one of the chief attractions of the Dutch Design Week (DDW), which is scheduled at the Klokgebouw on Strijp-S from October 22 thru 30. The exhibition is a joint venture between TU/e and Design United, a 3TU initiative in which the design engineers’ programs are represented. There will be designs of different scales

on display: from wearables interwoven with clothing that monitor and direct our behavior to complex buildings and inno­ vative urban developments of the future. The exhibition is open every day from 11.00 to 18.00 hours. As in previous years, a special nocturnal meeting will be organized for TU/e alumni on Tuesday October 25. More information can be found on www.mindthestep.nl.



This year during the eleventh Eindhoven light art festival GLOW, which is to take place from November 12 to 19, TU/e wants to set a world record with a lightning bolt of at least eighty meters long. The spectacle ‘Exploding Wire’, which will be executed near the river Dommel, is to be realized by means of a long thin copper wire that will be subjected to a high-voltage pulse of half a million volts. ‘Thereby you produce a bolt, which will make a thundering flash’, promises Gerrit Kroesen, dean of the Department of Applied Physics and coordinator of the TU/e contribution to GLOW. The copper wire has to be stretched anew every ten minutes. That job will be carried out by drones, with the assistance of TU/e’s student team Blue Jay. The Tesla Coil (see photo) will also make a comeback. Five years ago the lightning installation yielded a cascade of enthusiastic reactions to its musical show. Kroesen intends to approach a composer to write a piece of music for the polyphonic Tesla Coil. Above the pond near the Hoofdgebouw a many meters high three-dimensional hologram will be shown, for which a 3D-scan will be made of an art work at the Van Abbe museum. And the chimney stack behind the MetaForum building will be taken in hand; light architect and TU/e alumnus Har Hollands has made the design for this.

AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS ON THE ELECTRIC TOURING MOTORCYCLE STORM Eindhoven on August 14 started the World Tour with the electric touring motorcycle STORM Wave. On a well-filled 18 Septemberplein in the center of Eindhoven President of the Executive Board Jan Mengelers started the clock symbolically. On November 2, after eighty days of touring, the students must be back again. Around the time of the publication of this Slash, the team will be on an airplane to make the crossing from Shanghai to Seattle. Before that time the trip will have taken them through countries including Turkey, Iran (see photo), Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China. At the various locations where the batteries are charged, often universities, lectures will be provided and demonstrations will be given by the team members of STORM. follow.storm-eindhoven.com

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Anyone who wants to put Marjan van Loon out of countenance will need heavy metal. The CEO of Shell Nederland seldom gets stressed. Regardless whether it involves the transition to sustainable energy sources, or motivating young people for technology, Van Loon prefers thinking in solutions to thinking in problems. A matter of her Brabant background, she herself thinks: “I think Brabanders see more swiftly that a glass is half full.’

Marjan van Loon Chief Executive Officer Shell Nederland

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‘You are who you are, and you always will be’, says Marjan van Loon on the phone. Between two appointments she can spare a bit of time to answer some questions. Just a few hours earlier the CEO of Shell Nederland addressed an audience of young start-ups in the Eindhoven PSV stadium. She calls that speech “a kind of home game”, as she once studied chemical engineering in Eindhoven. “I find it important that people see who I am, so that I am Brabant-born as well. For me that implies that I try to get the best out of today and look at the future with a positive mindset. If there is a problem, I tend to think more in terms of solutions. I always enjoy reading what’s going on in Brabant. I am proud of that. Anything that takes me back to my roots, I follow with a keen interest.’

Her career had almost been away from Shell Back to those roots for a bit. At her secondary school in Helmond Van Loon turns out to have a knack for beta subjects. For that reason she decides to study Chemical Engineering and Chemistry in Eindhoven and graduates on the subject of the scraped surface heat exchanger. During a recruitment event at the university the student speaks to two technical managers from

Shell, who almost cause her career to take place outside Shell. The two ask about her studies, her extracurricular activities, but also: how does she think she will stand firm as a woman within a team of mainly male techies? That final question does not go down very well with Van Loon. Not until a recruiter calls her and asks her what went wrong, does she allow herself to be won over by Shell. She herself sees it as an insignificant event. “That was 26 years ago. And I can truly say that during those 26 years at Shell I have always felt supported by a corporate climate in which equal opportunities are deemed to be important.’

NOTEWORTHY ‘It is not about that one perfect model, but about seeing people with a great diversity of roles. That you see someone among them that makes you realize: yes, I could be like that later.’ ‘Navigating towards an energy transition calls for extraordinary and unparalleled coordination, cooperation and leadership in all sectors of society. Shell in the Netherlands focuses on wind energy and gas. That is a necessity if we really want to achieve lower CO2 emissions and also want to do something that is economically useful.’ ‘Start-ups can learn a great deal from a big company like Shell, but Shell in turn can learn so much from these partnerships. We must learn from the new ideas, learn to see their added value and encourage them rather than crush them. Or indeed, we should not take them over lock stock and barrel, but explore them and develop them further to something that is more comprehensive.’

Her career at Shell soon revolves around the production of liquid gas, LNG. For many years she works in Australia and Malaysia, after which in 2007 she returns to the Netherlands to become Global Manager LNG & Gas Processing. As vice-president LNG (since 2009) she is responsible among other things for all the R&D and the design of the Prelude FLNG, a 480-meter-long floating LNG plant. In an interview in Maritiem Nederland she says in 2014 that she would probably have had the fright of her life if many years ago she had known that she would one day come this far. She laughs when the comment crops up again. ‘I live by the day, in the job that I have”, she explains. “That is how my personality is made up. It is true that I am ambitious, in the sense that I want to do interesting things, but I have never attached any value to the rank of seniority that I reached.’ Van Loon thinks that the working atmosphere at Shell has also contributed to her success. ‘A lot of attention is devoted to the development and the quality of women and other minorities on the shop floor. I find that very important, because I have experienced myself that this can make a person quite successful. I belong to one of the first generations in which part-time work was introduced when the children are still young. Shell was one of the first companies where that was possible. Later I made an international step, doubting whether I would pull it off. I was given a lot of encouragement at the time: just try it and if there are any problems, surely we can help.’ In fact it was not even her intention to keep working full time after her children had been born, she says. ‘But when leaving for Australia, where my husband was also going to work for Shell, I accidentally became leading partner. In retrospect that proved to be a


turning point: I was suddenly welcomed as a serious lady, which was due to the simple fact that my husband had to wait for his work permit longer. That has been an essential factor.’ It is always difficult, interviewing a woman in a high position without starting about the fact that she is a woman. Once it was announced that Van Loon is going to be the new CEO of Shell Nederland, the Algemeen Dagblad headlines read without any embarrassment: ‘Merry Marjan runs Shell and her family without any stress’ – as if that was not true for her male predecessor. Other media, too, emphasize with amazement that Van Loon ‘is not a man’ and hence ‘does not come from the old boys’ network’. Van Loon does not seem to be bothered by that. It is an aspect that she really enjoys discussing, hoping that more young women will follow her example. ‘I think that role models are important. I have always done what I enjoyed doing, but I have also always found it very important apart from my work to spend time on my family, on friends, on hobbies. They also have to fit into my life. For me that has never been a barrier. I have noticed that women are relieved when they hear that they can have a life too when they carve out a career.’

‘Sustainable energy sources must first become reliable and affordable’

MARJAN VAN LOON’S CAREER Helmond-born Marjan van Loon (50) studied Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at TU/e. After her graduation in 1989 she entered the employment of Shell as a chemical technologist, where her career would be dominated by the production of LNG (Liquid Natural Gas). As of 1997 she held several management positions in Australia and Malaysia, after which she returned to the Netherlands in 2007 to become Global Manager LNG & Gas Processing. Two years later Van Loon was appointed vice-president LNG. Since January 1 Marjan van Loon has been CEO Shell Nederland B.V. Van Loon is married and has two children.

As CEO of Shell Nederland Van Loon wants to work together with other parties really hard to bring about the transition to a sustainable energy supply in our country. Van Loon thinks that this calls for a combination of urgent action, realism and long-term planning from governments and trade and industry alike. ‘The transition to sustainable energy sources is an enormous challenge’, she says. ‘It requires unprecedented cooperation, investments and innovation. Shell is an energy company that is founded on innovation. We know a great deal about the carriers and the users of energy and we want to utilize that knowledge to play an active role in that transition.’

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Shell sees an important role for gas and wind in the Dutch energy transition and wants to make a contribution to it as well. That intention was shown by the bid made by Shell, Uneco and Van Oord jointly for the tender of the new wind farms Borssele 1 and 2 in the North Sea. And Shell is also involved in a residual heat project in Rotterdam. The tender for Borssele 1 and 2 was not won by Shell. ‘Is Shell going to bid for other tenders in the Netherlands? Stay tuned, I would say. We are also interested in projects elsewhere in Europe and the world. In that sense the loss of the Borssele tender does not make so much difference. You do not make everything dependent on a single project.’ Nevertheless, the company is not really known to be a driver of green energy. Better still, when the multinational recently announced the strategy for the coming years, the company seemed to look at opportunities for growth in particular in the extraction of gas and oil from the deep sea and petrochemistry. Not really what one would call green intentions. ‘Sustainable energy sources must first become reliable and affordable’, says Van Loon in defense of the plans. ‘Until then we will need large quantities of fossil fuels, so it will take research to achieve low dioxide emissions with those as well. While sustainable energy is still just a small portion, it is growing and we are going to expand that further.’ In a new division, New Energies, a number of different units have been merged to achieve this. ‘It is not a question of and/or, but of both/and. Shell has clearly positioned itself as a company that wants to play its role in the energy transition. At different places, in different ways and at different speeds.’ Her speech in Eindhoven was addressed to young high-tech start-ups, with which Shell wants to enter into open cooperative ventures so as to arrive at groundbreaking innovations in the field of sustain­ able energy. And although earlier this year the

company announced that it would cut 2,200 jobs worldwide, young, passionate engineers are still welcome, according to Van Loon. Better still, as a Shell Campus ambassador she tries to attract more Eindhoven talents. ‘This is an era of major changes. There is such a dire need to inspire a new generation to focus on technology and innovation! It would be a great pity if students from Eindhoven did not find out about the opportunities that are available for them here. The image of Shell is that of a large multi­ national, which creates a distance. That’s why I am doing my utmost to explain that I, as a Brabander, have always felt very much at home with Shell.’

‘As a Brabander I have always felt very much at home with Shell’

Her enthusiasm is infective when she talks about the combination of technology and management in her work. Or about the innovative nature of the floating LNG plant in Australia, of which nobody initially believed that it was feasible, but which was realized nevertheless through clever cooperation by distinct Shell disciplines and suppliers. A hell of a job, one might think, but a good friend of hers once told the Eindhovens Dagblad that the CEO never gets stressed. Is that true? Van Loon bursts into a laugh. ‘Well, perhaps she has just never seen me when I am stressed!’ A bit later she does grant her friend this comment. ‘It is true that I don’t get stressed easily. It does not mean that I lean back when faced with problems, but I do always try to find solutions to those problems, convinced that we will sort them out. Perhaps that takes me back to my Brabant background again. I don’t mean to generalize, for outside Brabant you will also come across people who think like that, of course, but I do think that Brabanders see more swiftly that a glass is half full. That approach was very much a part of my upbringing.’

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have stood the test of time


It started many years ago, at TU/e. Their studies, their student life, their friendship. And even though they went their separate ways to different employers and cities at home and abroad, their ties remained. For ever. Slash spoke to three clubs of friends from then and now. With the boys they were then, and who briefly returned to the university. With mechanical engineers from earlier days, during a reunion with their professor. And with a relatively young TU/e generation, which vividly remembers the ancillary activities in particular. What has their time at university given them? How do they look back on it? Stories about a Moulinex cheese mill, a students’ residence at Lijmbeekstraat and organizing parties in the canteen.

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The strength of TRUE


For a brief moment they were back at TU/e again. The men from today, graduated forty years ago. A walk through the corridors of the present departmental buildings immediately brings back the boys they were at the time. Twinkling eyes, a joke, a laugh. This club of seven - five chemical engineers and two industrial engineers – that struck up a friendship during their studies became a close group of friends-for-ever. They have shared joys and sorrows ‘for half a human life’, made nice career steps and witnessed each other’s families being formed. Their friendship is tangible every second.


specially for Slash all seven of them came together at the university again: Bert van den Broek (64), Huub Gillissen (63), Ad Hagelaars (64), Martien van den Hoven (63), Ton Konings (63), Frans van Loon (64) and Jos Welzen (64). In Meta­ Forum - the former W-hall - they greet each other shaking hands and slapping each other’s shoulders. Some of them returned to the university on earlier occasions, while for others this is the first time since 1976. They still remember everything. Where the library was, what the labs looked like. And today’s labs in Helix, where Chemical Engineering and Chemistry is accommodated now, still possess the strongest attraction. While a part of the club is talking in the corridor, Martien and Ad (Adje, for insiders) sneak into the lab through an open door. The sound of laughter, chemical terms floating through the area. A cabinet door is opened and ‘bang!’… a flask perishes. Ad is holding the shards with

a big smile, while the rest of the men roar with laughter. ‘It can only be one’, laughs Martien. ‘It was always Adje. It used to be like that even in the past. We once had to concoct a solution, of which we had to show our lecturer an amount of at least fifty grams. It had taken us many weeks of work. Filtering, distilling, we were ever so cautious. And one day, just before we had to hand in the stuff, Adje dropped it. That was the end of all our hard work. Priceless.’

‘After the studying our downstairs floor turned into a kind of moonshine pub’

This club cherishes countless memories. Martien and Frans are going all the way back to primary school. Frans and Bert both followed the study of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences at Technische Hogeschool Eindhoven - as it was called then - , the rest of the men studied Chemical Engineering and Chemistry. Their joint bond? It was formed in 1972, in a students’ residence at Lijmbeekstraat in Eindhoven. Ton: ‘The house belonged to my father. I shared it with Jos, Huub and Martien. Frans and Bertus regularly dropped by, they were Martien’s friends. And Ad teamed up with us as well. Our students’ residence was a central point. When the quality of the food in the Mensa deteriorated a bit and not all of us could eat at the Philips canteen in town anymore, we started cooking ourselves. At night, once we had all finished studying, the downstairs floor in our house changed into a sort of moonshine pub. We finished

many a swing-top bottle of Grolsch there.’

‘We have shared beautiful events as well as sad ones for forty years now’ It was the start of a beautiful friendship. The men see each other several times a year, but at least once a year in any case they are all there and, together with their partners, they go away for a weekend. Then they undertake all kinds of activities, from riding a Solex to milking cows at a farmstead. Jos: ‘We don’t need to see each other every week to be close. We have been part of each other’s lives for more than forty years and share beautiful as well


From left to right: Jos Welzen, Bert van den Broek, Frans van Loon, Martien van den Hoven, Ad Hagelaars, Huub Gillissen and Ton Konings. as sorrowful events. The topics of conversation have changed over the years: whereas in the past we would talk about our careers and children, now it is about the grandchildren and what we are going to focus on after retirement.’ Some members of the club have already retired, when others are working towards it. They all managed to acquire fine positions. Thus, Ad works for Shell all over the world, Martien held various management jobs at FrieslandCampina, Ton is a project manager in the chemical field and Huub works for Fujifilm in R&D. Jos was in Taiwan, Germany, Portugal and Spain as a manager

for Philips, Frans worked as a project manager at ABN and Van Lanschot and as a manager of ICT & Facilities at ABAB Accountants and Bert was head of the Information Center at DAF and occupied different positions at ABNAMRO and RBS. How do they look back on the university, has it given them the basis they needed? Jos and Martien: ‘It definitely has. We have learned how to think analytically and commercially. Nobody can fool us.’ ‘Working together in groups and practical work are other things we have learnt here as well’, Bert and Frans add. ‘And we did everything ourselves, we did, when we started there were no compu-

ters here, not even calculators. We still know how things should really be done. Yeah, our time here has brought us so many things, both in terms of careers and in terms of friendship.’

with laughter) by Guus Meeuwis, this club. The men they were then, who shared the students’ residence not far from TU/e, will never change.

Doubled up with laughter

[…] One by one they come trickling in The men they were then will never change Still so many new things can be invented The men they were then will never change

The end is near. The men are leaving TU/e behind again. ‘We’ll be seeing each other again soon’, they say to each other. And they laugh. This is the strength of true friendship. It reminds them of the song ‘Tranen gelachen’ (doubled up

I have doubled up with laughter, played the fool And finally, satisfied, turned off the light […]

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ancillary activities

Ask them about their memories of their Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences program and first there is silence. What it was like exactly, what subjects they all had? That has all faded a bit through the years. What they did apart from their studies is something they do remember. Memories of special beers nights at the AOR, of the parties and study trips they organized, of the fun they had together, those are still vivid. Through their studies - begun in 1998- they formed lifelong bonds. And they still enjoy that special friendship.

From left to right: Bob van Eekelen, Koen Cremers, Paul Enders, Francine van Venrooij, Mark Damen.



hey agreed to meet on the terrace of a restaurant in Veldhoven. ‘Easy to reach after work’, for three of the six friends of this club work at nearby ASML. The plates carry hamburgers, fries, salads. There are glasses of beer or soft drinks on the table. Paul Enders (36), Bob van Eekelen (39), Koen Cremers (38), Francine van Venrooij (36) and Mark Damen (35) bring each other up to date about their work, the children, holiday plans. One member of the loyal club of friends is missing this evening, but is explicitly mentioned by name: Onno Steins (38) belongs to the club as well. ‘I cannot remember that much from my studies’, Francine says with a laugh. ‘Yes, we got logistics subjects and –what was it called again- calculus. It was especially a very enjoyable time. Our friendship was born in the AOR. Every Tuesday there was a special beers night. When we were jointly involved in the yearbook of the student faculty association, we got to know one another better. We called ourselves the BDK Heroes. That name arose because there was a certain moment when we started calling each other ‘hero’ when somebody had obtained a good result. Instead of ‘well done’, we would say ‘hero!’

In the early years of their studies they could be found frequently in one particular place at the university, Koen remembers. ‘We were always in the canteen of the Paviljoen. Downloading music onto our laptops, chatting, downloading the Top2000.’ Francine and Bob still remember that clearly too: ‘That’s where the ideas were born for parties and study trips, which we would then organize.’ ‘We didn’t find our studies very difficult, Paul adds. ‘And when we were in the canteen anyway, we might as well do something useful.’

They lived their student lives to the full They were all very much into ‘ancillary activities’. They lived their student lives to the full. Apart from a lot of committee and administrative work at student faculty association Industria, most of them were also active in other associations. Francine and Onno were in the rowing club, Koen in the motorcycle club and Bob in the marketing association. Paul was in the organization of the then TU/e festival Virus. ‘I’ve noticed that

today’s students are far more serious about their studies than we used to be’, says Paul. ‘With them it’s about grants and delay in studies. The pressure to finish your studies faster is much greater now. In our days it was quite attractive to do something on the side. I’m happy I actually did so at the time. It makes one’s student life so much more fun. The fact that things like the AOR and the Mensa have disappeared may well be a sign of that more serious study attitude. Pity.’ Paul smiles: ‘I cherish beautiful memories of the Bunker. I occasionally cycle by and then I think: it was there that I once got my first euros from the ATM at night. Which I then immediately spent on beer.’ In retrospect, would they all decide on the same studies again? The reply from everybody is affirmative. Mark: ‘The advantage of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences is that you are trained broadly, which means that there’s a wide range of options available later. It allows you to change jobs once in a while.’ ‘And at the same time you learn to think like and engineer’, Paul adds. What is striking about this club is that most of them –except for Onno, who is a risk manager at Van Lanschot- have found themselves jobs in logistics.

Mark: ‘I suppose those subjects challenged us most during our studies.’

There is still enough time for ‘ancillary activities’

Although they all have busy jobs, there is still enough time in this club for ‘ancillary activities’. Once a year they and all their partners, children and dogs go away for a weekend. Regular as clockwork. As a group they get to see each other some two or three times a year apart from that. Francine: ‘And we also see each other in subgroups. On maternity visits for instance, at a housewarming, on birthdays. Nearly all of us live in Brabant, so we don’t have to go very far.’ When the hamburgers are all gone and coffee has been ordered, the friends go through each other’s holiday dates. After all the holidays they will certainly meet again. ‘And that barbecue, Paul, was it at your place or at mine?’, Francine checks. The next time they will meet again is never far away.

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fifty years later

At one time they would be sitting around the table every week with the renowned yellow sheet to discuss each other’s final projects. Now, exactly fifty years later, the five former students of Mechanical Engineering along with their then professor are together again. No discussions about devised constructions, but beautiful stories about those days gone by.


nique, that is how orga­nizer Kees Mol (78) characterizes seeing his old fellow-students Ernst Schmidt (77), Bram Brugman (80), Nort Liebrand (73) and Han Cupido (76) again. Particularly so because their thesis professor Wim van der Hoek (91) is in their midst today as well. Halfway through the 1960s they were the first club of students graduating with professor Van der Hoek. A nice opportunity to celebrate this jointly fifty years later, thought Kees and mobilized everyone for dinner and drinks. ‘In 1991 - at our 25-year jubilee we also revived memories together. When saying goodbye it was shouted in jest: ‘See you in 25 years, but make sure professor Van der Hoek is there as well then!’ Surely it is quite extraordinary that we should actually be sitting here now, all relatively undamaged. It feels so familiar again.’ On the terrace of the Eindhoven restaurant De Luytervelde professor Van der Hoek is listening to ‘his boys’ with glee.

‘They don’t seem changed at all, I recognize those faces at once again’ During their graduation phase he would seat them round the table every Monday afternoon. It was covered by a gigantic yellow sheet a few meters wide, on which everybody would draw brilliant ideas or, indeed, stupidities. Often they would afterwards cut out a section that they could reflect upon a bit more at home. ‘And can you still remember that trick with the Moulinex cheese mill during the first table lecture?’, Kees asks them, smiling. ‘I thought, what is that silly thing doing there, but it turned out to be the beginning of a

scientific treatise on bearings and compressive forces. Mechanical engineering straight from everyday life, it was such a revelation to me.’ Van der Hoek chuckles. ‘It’s good to see how well they have turned out. After all, you do feel a kind of ‘paternal’ responsibility. They don’t seem changed at all, I recognize those faces at once again.’ A good job, that is what their studies at TU/e - then called TH - has brought them, they nod in agreement. Bram rolled into management, Ernst made a switch to the personnel department and Kees was in high feather with Philips where he continued to be a ‘proper techie’. Han, too, has always remained a construction design engineer and during his long career at Rockwool he constructed ‘a couple of pretty things’. ‘And with Nort the wheel has come full circle’, concludes Van der Hoek with a twinkle in his eyes. After many years in the business community he eventually followed in Van der Hoek’s footsteps, as part-time

Professor of Continuous Variable Transmission technology at the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Knowledge gathered during your studies stays with you for the rest of your life, the men think. Sometimes even literally, as Bram’s case proves. The last few years of his career he spent in Ghana. Upon his arrival he had the TH lecture notes in his suitcase. ‘Including the Duivels Prentenboek?’, Han asks. Roaring laughter. Kees: ‘That was one of our standard works. Professor Van der Hoek collected examples - pictures - of construction principles, how they should actually be carried out. In case of fire that would be the first thing you would salvage.’ Han excuses himself and returns a little later with a - fireproof - little briefcase. It contains the yellowed, latest version of the Duivels Prentenboek from 1970. The price tag is still there: two guilders and fifty cents. They browse through it, old photos and newspaper clippings are laid on the table. And more memories come back:


the midget golf range they themselves laid out in the construction room, Van der Hoek’s slide-rule which they welded into a cylinder for St. Nicholas’ eve and the dynamometer competition. Nort: ‘Van der Hoek was a proponent of practical education. For example, once he had installed some sort of dynamometer. What are forces, what do they do with your muscles and when are they overburdened? We turned it into a mutual competition: we would exercise passionately for months to push up half a kilo more than the old record’. Lots of things at TU/e have changed in the meantime.

The love of the craft, the interest and wonder are still deep

Kees: ‘We came from TH and were busy creating things. True mechanical engineering does not exist anymore, it has become more like mechatronics. Ernst adds: ‘Production engineering has drifted off and is now the reign of hbo students’. Nonetheless the love of the craft, the interest and wonder are still deep. Do they visit TU/e often these days? Kees regularly attends lectures, Ernst does keep up with the literature, but does not feel strongly attracted to TU/e itself - ‘those days are behind me’. ‘It so happens that I am going to do a tour across the campus tomorrow and engrave

my name in the Alumni Avenue, you should also do that, you know’, Kees hints. Then the time has come for a champagne toast and a lavish dinner. When they will meet again they do not know. The 95th birthday of professor Van der Hoek is suggested as a nice occasion. ‘Who knows what we’ll be shouting this time when we say goodbye’, Kees concludes. ‘If it’s convenient, we get together very swiftly, it works like a self-combustion fuse. Making long-term plans is something we don’t do anymore at our age, we live by the day’.

Together again after fifty years. From left to right: Han Cupido, Bram Brugman, Kees Mol, Ernst Schmidt, Nort Liebrand. In the chair Wim van der Hoek with the Duivels Prentenboek in his lap.

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The earliest stages of esophageal cancer are difficult to recognize and can be missed easily. In patients with prolonged reflux - causing the esophagus to get irritated by rising gastric acid - abnormal tissue is formed in the lining of the esophagus wall. Such a so-called Barrett’s esophagus is one of the chief risk factors for the development of esophageal cancer. Whereas the early stage of this cancer can be treated well, if it is not detected there is a considerable risk of death. Together with the Catharina Ziekenhuis the Video Coding and Architectures Research Group of TU/e therefore developed a technique for having computers screen photos of the esophagus for signs of esophageal cancer. The results are

impressive: the computer performs about as well as the top specialists in that area. The pictures displayed show a cross-section of an esophagus, several centimeters above the stomach. The circled areas have been qualified by five experts and the computer (on the top right) as suspicious tissue, indicating the onset of esophageal cancer. In a study published recently in the journal Endoscopy the researchers show that their algorithm made the correct diagnosis in 38 out of 44 cases; a percentage of 86, when specialists scored between 81 percent and 91 percent. The introduction of the automatic detection technique into all hospitals would there­fore signify an important advance in the treatment of esophageal cancer.



86 percent

accuracy of automatic esophageal cancer detection

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N G I S E D F O S R A E Y Y THIRT Y R T S U D N I E H T R O F The Designer programs must be streamlined better, must be more visible to the outside world, must be better integrated into research groups and unlock more entrepreneurial zest among students: thirty years after the first Designer programs were started at TU/e, the initiators still see enough reasons to look ahead.


rom the beginning the needs of the industry have been leading. It was like that already in the 1980s, when the University Education (Two-tier System) Act compelled universities to shorten all programs to four years: far too short to prepare TU students for the field of work the industry complained. The Designer programs formed the solution: two extra years of study, set up in close cooperation with the business community, to bridge the gap between academia and the technical practice. Now, thirty years later, more than 3,750 people can add the degree of ‘PDEng’, Professional Doctorate in Engineering, to their names. While that is definitely a sign of success, there are lots of things that can be improved, thinks Jan Fransoo, dean of the TU/e Graduate School and Director of the 4TU school for Technological Design, Stan Ackermans Institute (SAI). ‘Firstly, the programs within TU/e must be attuned to each other better’, he says. ‘Admittedly, the descriptors of the programs have been laid down, but there is still great diversity in the way they are achieved. This is due to the fact that the programs are organized by different departments.’ General subjects that must be followed by the students of all the Designer programs will be offered centrally. And just like an Examination Committee and a Doctoral Committee warrant

the level of graduating Master and PhD students, there should be a committee to ensure the same standard for graduating design engineers, Fransoo proposes. ‘This is our way of showing to the outside world what conditions gradua­ tes must satisfy.’

‘Students do not yield new knowledge, but they set to work with the latest knowledge’ The awareness of that outside world (read: the business community) of the Designer programs is not optimal yet either, Fransoo realizes. ‘The added value of the diploma is not clear yet to a great many companies. We used to position the program as a ‘Masterplus’. Now we want to showcase it more emphatically as an alternative to a doctorate. For doctorates it is clear to everybody that the selection criteria for candidates are strict and that they yield new knowledge. Here the selection is equally strict and as regards the intellectual expertise the Design Engineer’s track is in the same class as a PhD track. They just have different goals: students do

not yield new knowledge, but they set to work with the latest knowledge.’ It is of the essence that companies should see the added value of this: after all, in the second year the students need to carry out a project within a company. The company pays over 5,000 euros per month for this. ‘The advantage over a PhD candidate is that a PDEng trainee works on a project with a very strong focus and produces results within a year’, says policy officer Ben Donders. ‘They have a higher level than someone with just a Master’s degree and are properly trained to define a problem, to tackle and solve a big project. Often trainees continue as employees within the same company to solve similar issues.’ In large valorization programs a combination of PhD and PDEng trainees may work well, Donders adds. ‘You may get a PDEng to get to the bottom of a problem so as to arrive at the definition of the problem for the PhD candidate. Or the PhD delivers the knowledge which a PDEng converts into a product. This is already being done on the Chemelot campus in Geleen.’ About one-fifth of all PDEng trainees comes from our own Master’s programs. The PDEng program forms part of the TU/e Graduate School, the educational tracks which students can follow as soon as they have finished their Bachelor’s programs: Master, PDEng and PhD.


The idea is for students even during their Master’s phase to decide on a career as researcher, entrepreneur or design engineer. The choice of a Designer program after the Master will then become more obvious than it is now. ‘We want to link the Master and PDEng tracks better, says Fransoo. ‘Master students who excel can already follow subjects from the PDEng track apart from their Master’s program, so that they can complete the Designer track faster. We hope that we can retain the best Master students like this.’ In an ideal situation Designer programs are perfectly integrated into the research groups of the universities. That way PDEng trainees can during their traineeship make use of the scientific expertise of the group, while the group enriches

How does th e Designer program wo rk? The Designer programs are two-year programs in th e area of tech nological design. Partic ipants have th e status of paid employ ees at the univ ersity where the prog ram is taking pl ace. The programs do not only aim at broadening th e technologica l knowledge, bu t also at its ap plication in practice. Am ple attention is devoted to professional skills, such as commu­ nication, projec t managemen t and teamwork. In the second ye ar students work on projec ts within com panies as trainees. There are twen ty Designer pr ograms, divided amon g the three un iv er sities of technology and with the fo cus of research in Ei ndhoven. Perh aps Wageningen U niversity, which has recently joined the TU federa tion, will in due cour se start Desig ner programs also .



itself with the input and feedback from the business community. In practice, however, it turns out that this integration occasionally leaves a lot to be desired. For a long time this was due to the publish or perish culture which the whole scientific community has to contend with: researchers are rewarded especially for the publication of scientific articles in professional journals. That way the supervision of design engineers gets less priority. In Fransoo’s opinion this is gradually changing now in Eindhoven. ‘Eindhoven has created an assessment system in which it is possible to get credits for PDEng supervision. For instance, in order to move up from Assistant Professor (UD) to Associate Professor (UHD) you need to have supervised a number of PhD candidates, but they can also be PDEng trainees. The recognition of that contribution to designer projects is leading to a gradual turn in the mindset.’ The procedure adopted by the Designer program itself can also make a big difference, says Donders. ‘In the Department of Electrical Engineering the projects are won from the business community by the scientific staff. Rather than being placed somewhere centrally at a work station, trainees are at the location of the research group of the person who has obtained the assignment. That works fine, as the professor thus gets involved in the subject. However, you also get Designer programs where the program management secures the trainee assignments, because that’s been their usual procedure for many years. This makes it far more difficult to involve colleagues in the project.’

‘We want to increase the number of entrepreneurs’ A large number of PDEng engineers end up in big companies; there are only few who are enterprising enough to start their own businesses. That needs to change as well. ‘We would like to increase the number of entrepreneurs from both Designer and PhD programs’, says Fransoo. ‘That is in the interest of the Dutch economy: at the end of the day, successful techno starters

bring about more growth than when they go and work for companies. Within the programs we already devote attention to this: we give entrepreneurship training courses, we invite alumni who have become successful entre­ preneurs, but it is not producing enough results yet. Maybe we should look out for the entre­ preneurial spirit even when selecting people.’ As if those are not enough plans yet, the Designer programs also need to carve out a more distinct place internationally. Outsiders often regard the program as a ‘near-miss doctorate’. Still, there is a change taking place in this respect as well, says Fransoo. ‘In Scandinavia and England they already have similar programs and within Europe there are discussions about the question whether there should be other variants of the PhD. If you look at the added value for the industry, the vast majority of companies are interested mostly in new products and working systems. The PDEng programs are perfectly aligned with that.’

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edical Engineer m: Qualified M re Degree progra nd application Nemo Healthca care chain arou th al he Principal: of n tio Optimiza born child Project:  r real-time monitoring of un fo

Bas Lemmens, Nemo Healthcare

‘PDEng trainees learn to look at aspects that we had not thought of’ ‘When a pregnant woman indicates to the obstetrician that she feels less activity of the fetus, she ends up in hospital. There they make a CTG to measure the uterine contractions and fetal heartbeat. This is done by means of transducers (straps) with mechanical and ultrasound sensors around the abdomen. The problem is that in 20 to 40 percent of cases the transducers do not work properly. Moreover, an admission to hospital costs a lot of money. We are developing a patch that receives electrophysical signals. You place the patch on the abdomen. This way you can record contractions as well as the fetal heartbeat. It can simply be done at home or at the obstetrician’s surgery, by means of a web application: the data is transmitted to the hospital via the Internet, so that physicians can see them simultaneously, real-time. We wanted to build a real-time monitoring pathway and pull the situation in the hospital outside. Barbara Vermeulen has concentrated on optimizing that pathway. One thing this has led to is that we now work with a separate router with a GSM connection. For what do you do if somebody has no or a poor Internet connection at home? The use of a personal telephone proved to be an uncontrollable factor: what if somebody forgets to charge it? How do you prevent mothers from worrying unnecessarily due to a lack of experience? And how do you circumvent the stringent ICT security in the hospital, how do you exchange the data?

Bas Lemmens

Things like that must be investigated properly so as to come up with a solution that does not cost loads of money and fits within the way the persons concerned think and act. The good thing about the Designer program is that trainees learn to look very consciously at various aspects that we had not thought of ourselves. Barbara has produced a good concept. An improved version of it is currently being tested by two obstetric surgeries. The big bonus of PDEng trainees is that they can work independently very well. They analyze the situation from a sound, scientific basis and subsequently come up with an appropriate solution.’

Barbara Vermeulen

‘I have developed a broader view’ ‘I was a medical technician at the Maxima Medisch Centrum in Veldhoven and was already aware of the project. There have always been strong ties with TU/e. I knew someone who had done the Designer program and thought that was a good way to develop something special together. I had graduated in 2000 and in 2013 I took up studying again. In the first year I often had to find out what the best procedure was. For example, who would be the best person to outsource a part of a project to? Do you decide on a cheap Fontys student who may take a long time over it, or do you employ someone who is more expensive but finishes the job sooner? That constant searching helps you grow as a design engineer. In technology the human aspect of the work often tends to be disregarded. That is why I found the Self-reflection and Communication course very useful. You gain a better understanding of the person that you are. Thanks to the program my network has exploded, so I now know many people in the field. At present I am adviser for medical

Barbara Vermeulen (left) technology at the Radboud UMC. Without this program I would not have had the helicopter view I have now. I don’t only look at what is going on at a certain moment, but include the impact of that on all kinds of areas. I have learned to assess the consequences on various fronts, such as national legislation, ICT developments in healthcare. I have developed a broader view.’

sign e Systems De m: Automotiv e iv Degree progra ot m to TNO Au rd for the w safety standa cles with Principal: ne a g in at gr te In s vehi Project:  velopment of autonomou de O Automotive TN of e ur ed oc pr g tin is ex e th

Sven Jansen, TNO Automotive

‘An investment in a PDEng trainee is a knowledge investment’ ‘Liability is essential in the automotive sector. When an accident happens and it goes to court, you get out your ISO documentation and make it clear that you have acted in accordance with the best safety insights. Then you are not liable as a manufacturer. The new ISO26262 standard for the development of autonomous vehicles contains a very extensive protocol. It is a document of more than 450 pages. That may sometimes imply that you even need to take the cosmic radiation that affects the memory of a computer chip into account. If you apply everything, that easily takes you two years. Arash Khabbaz Saberi has sorted out how we can apply the ISO26262 procedure in such a way that we can still provide our customers with a solution within a reasonably short period. TNO quickly makes prototypes for customers, such as a system that ensures that autonomous vehicles remain within their lane. During the first year the PDEng students must carry out a group assignment. Then we launched this theme, functional safety, because it has so many facets. Arash was group leader and was keenly interested in elaborating the subject further within TNO.


Particularly the non-technical competences are a very strong plus of the Designer program. The balance between technical and soft skills was very sound with Arash. He has produced a good report with a solid underpinning, which is a very nice starting point. Still, it is a paper solution; now we want to find out how it works in practice. We are lucky to have Arash who wants to research this within the framework of a PhD. Long ago we acknowledged that the Designer program is very special, so every year a couple of PDEng trainees are placed within TNO. The investment in such a trainee is a knowledge investment for TNO. Besides, it is a way for us to get to know potential new colleagues.’

Arash Khabbaz Saberi

‘The PDEng study works like a pressure cooker’ ‘After my Master’s study of Embedded Systems at TU/e I was looking for a job in an interdisciplinary environment in the field of robotics. Even after just a few applications I discovered that I needed far more experience for the kind of jobs that I fancied. That’s why in 2013 I started the PDEng study of Automotive Systems Design. I gained a lot of technical knowledge in the first year, but it was especially the subjects in the area of soft skills that I found very interesting. Subjects like communication skills and project management, as well as the personality tests we did, helped me to get to know myself better. Those social skills in particular came in very useful during my final project with TNO Automotive in Helmond. For instance, I first needed to find out which procedures concerning safety they were following at that moment within the TNO Automotive department. That is easier said than done. How do you ask all kinds of questions without bothering people too much? Also, I had to review all sorts of TNO documents. I made sure that my feedback was not only negative, but also contained positive points. Otherwise people will not take your comments to heart at the end of the day. Fortunately they turned out to be quite receptive to my suggestions at TNO.

Sven Jansen (left) and Arash Khabbaz Saberi When I began on the project, TNO Automotive was still sounding out what role the safety standard could play. Meanwhile functional safety is one of the six spearheads. I made a significant contribution to that, which is very gratifying. The PDEng study works like a pressure cooker, you learn so incredibly much during the first year. Of course you can also learn those things on the shop floor, but that would certainly take five to ten years. The program is heavy, you don’t make as much money as in the business community and you are often pushed out of your comfort zone. In the long run it is worth it, though.’

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s - ICT neering System Electrical Engi of gn si De : m ch Degree progra ht systems Philips Resear ss control of lig Principal: rence of wirele rfe te In Project:  Wi-Fi signal by

Paul Linnartz, Philips Research

‘The trainee translates vague definitions of problems into concrete solutions’ ‘ZigBee is a wireless communication system that enables you to control certain Philips lamps. It works at the same frequency as Wi-Fi, which is often located in the same room. This may lead to interference with the control of the light system. That had for a long time been a subject of debate and a topic of an internal investigation. We wanted to chart how the systems could be attuned to each other. And we wanted to develop a device that collects measurement data about the message flow from Wi-Fi and ZigBee in an area. Thereby we can check whether the theoretical models are correct. A graduating student from a Master’s program does not have the time or the depth to arrive at an elaborated measuring instrument. On the other hand, a PhD candidate in the course of four years works much more with a view to scientific publications. There were theoretical models already, but we really wanted to have a measuring instrument that we could use. Chara Papatsimpa has made a link between an existing mathematical model and a measuring arrangement. It enabled her to measure a great many messages. However, once the messages had been encrypted, they often turned out to fall outside the measurement. That is one of the practical problems we still need to solve. Still, Chara has found a

solution to the crux of this difficult issue. Now she is going to work as a PhD on a measuring arrangement by which the internal behavior of a radio network can be measured. As a customer you may have a fairly clear idea of what you want, but subsequently all kinds of unexpected questions crop up: how autonomously must the system work? Should it also observe encoded messages? What you learn in this program is precisely the gradual discovery of such specific requirements, the translation of questions into scientific problems. That a trainee sets about translating an initially not very detailed formulation of a problem into a very specific problem actually makes them quite attractive for future employers.’

Chara Papatsimpa

‘It made the transition to a ‘real’ job easier’ ‘The problem I had to solve for Philips was one I had experienced at home as well: while I was downloading large files, I could not change the color of my Hue lamps. I really enjoy doing that: looking for solutions to a problem that I see myself. I have learnt so much especially in the area of communication. I was used to always working by myself, and now I had to learn to adopt a new approach. Sometimes when I had called a meeting of Philips people, it turned out that they didn’t find the subject all that important. Instead of following my normal course and subsequently communicating about it, I have learnt to consult with other people in advance about various steps. In addition, the time management and project management courses were very useful to me. I am rather chaotic by nature and have now found out that it makes sense first to write down all the different steps of a project. After my Master’s program I was not sure what I wanted to do: work in the business community, or conduct research at a university.

Paul Linnartz and Chara Papatsimpa

Thanks to the PDEng program I could take a peek in the business community and find out whether it agreed with me. It made the transition to a ‘real’ job easier. Now that I have done this, I know what I want. I’m going to extend my PDEng project with a PhD, because I really find it very interesting. Of course I could have started a PhD track straight away also, but then I would always have questioned whether that had been the right choice. I first wanted to see everything. I would like to keep doing research and determine my own projects. That is possible within a company like Philips, but also within the university. As long as I find the subject itself interesting.’


DESIGNER PROGRAM DATA SCIENCE TEACHES STUDENTS TO BE CREATIVE Once there were Franciscan nuns in the Den Bosch convent De Mariënburg who taught catholic girls. Now TU/e and Tilburg University in cooperation with the province of North Brabant and the municipality of Den Bosch are starting a brand-new training center within the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS) initiative. Post-Master students can as of September follow a Designer program of Data Science which is as new as it is innovative. Program Director Stef van Eijndhoven explains. What is the occasion for this new Designer program? ‘The new program arises from the Designer program of Mathematics for Industry, which is being phased out due to developments in trade and industry. There a gradual transition is going on from classical modeling to data modeling. Formerly mathematical models were formed on the basis of hypotheses and physical principles. More and more measurements are made and more and more data is stored. We are getting to a point where data forms the model itself. Which raises the question what the value of that data model is. Machine learning on the basis of big data, the discovery of patterns and the making of predictions is a different form of sport than modeling. It also calls for another type of people.’ What sort of people is the program looking for then? ‘In this field of expertise, storytelling is very important: a data scientist must be capable of retrieving a story from data. This makes it necessary for data scientists to be open and communicative. They have to be curious about the domain where the data comes from - whether that is food, agriculture, health, or whatever. We are searching for people who focus their attention on the world around them. Creativity is an essential factor in this context also. Students are not encouraged to develop creativity during their academic education, where the emphasis lies on avoiding errors. However, anyone who wants to be creative must dare to make errors.’

How do you select such students? ‘Prior to the program we have a data challenge week, in which we offer candidates an assess­ ment. Then they work in groups on certain aspects of datasets that are provided by businesses. Students who have been in the program longer coach the applicants. For a whole week the participants interact with each other quite intensively. Then you can see very well who is suitable for following the program and who is less so.’ How has the program been set up? ‘The study consists of a year of lessons and a year of traineeship at a company. The first year is comprised of five modules. Three of those are obligatory, two can be selected by the students themselves. In total there are nine modules to choose from. In addition to statistics and software engineering, attention is devoted to ethics, entrepreneurship, project management, financing. We work with a new style of learning, in which technical and non-technical skills within each module are combined. Each module has its own theme. Companies provide data sets and then the students within teams work on certain aspects of the datasets related to that theme. The teams communicate with the principal, determine their strategy at the begin­ ning of every week and present the result of their work at the end of the het week. Each module is concluded with the writing of a report.’ What is the role of the teachers within this new style of learning? ‘The teachers are coaches rather, who make sure that students attain their own learning objectives. Prior to setting up this program we held numerous consultations with the business community. It appeared that they missed creativity in particular among recently graduated engineers. In reply to that we give the students full responsibility for what they learn. We hand out elements, while allowing for students to make mistakes. That is quite difficult for a coach, because as such you are inclined to keep people from making mistakes.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the old way of giving instructions, presenting lectures, is no longer the right way to keep doing things at this level.’ In the second year students do traineeships at a company, which pays for this. What does the company get in return? ‘The company pays 5,400 euros per month. Especially for medium-sized and small enter­ prises this is a lot of money, but there is quite some compensation. For twelve months you have somebody fully at your disposal who has completed a Master’s program as well as this program. Moreover, you are securing expertise from the university in the form of supervision, ten hours a month. For many enterprises within which data science is firmly on the rise, the traineeship will be an assessment of a potential employee.’

Why does the education take place in an old convent in Den Bosch? ‘The initiative for this came from the province of North Brabant. The training center is intended to contribute to the international positioning of Brabant as a Data Science region. The convent is a magnificent historic building in the city center with hypermodern facilities. There will be a wing for student apartments and the aim is to have start-ups settle here as well. The convent will form part of a local ‘Data Science ecosystem’, where activities, research and education reinforce each other.’

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GATHERING MOMENTUM In the research into integrated photonics, optical materials and optical communication systems TU/e has been in the lead for two decades. These technologies must be applied on a large scale in the coming years in order to prevent the worldwide digital infrastructure from getting jammed. To retain the Eindhoven knowledge lead and exploit it, the TU/e Institute for Photonic Integration was set up.




xpectations are that digital data traffic will keep growing exponentially over the next ten years, and increase a thousandfold, while the capacity of our computers will in that same period only increase a hundredfold. In order to cope with the increasing Internet traffic, one mega-data­ center after another is springing up. However, there are limits to that growth, if only because the power consumption of these digital hubs is threatening to rise to dozens of percentages of the worldwide power consumption. ‘Even now that power consumption amounts to three percent of the energy consumption worldwide’, says Ton Backx, Director of the Institute for Photonic Integration. Unless we are prepared to pay a multiple in a few years’ time for an Internet connection that is less fast, some kind of action needs to be taken soon. Fortunately a solution is already in the making. Indeed, information can be processed much faster and more energy-efficiently via light signals (optical) than in the form of electric currents. For data


traffic across great distances optical communication via fiberoptic cables is common knowledge already. Nevertheless, light tech­ nology, also known as photonics, will need to be integrated as well into the servers of the datacenters and in the connections to the end users. In other words: in order to prevent congestion on the digital road network, it is not only the motorway that will have to become optical, but the junctions and access roads as well. Which implies that a need for integrated photonics will arise, in which light technology is added to the ‘traditional’ electronic chips. ‘Within four years photonics technology must be applied in datacenters’, says Backx. ‘There­ fore we must now take the step to the business community.’

Photon Delta is a public-private cooperation between enterprises, regional authorities and knowledge institutions in the area of (integrated) photonics which formally started last January 1. The initiative is a consequence of a study of the ‘photonic ecosystem’ in and around Eindhoven made by consultancy firm Berenschot in 2014. Photon Delta, in which TU/e is acting as leading party, is financed for fifty percent by a subsidy from OPZuid - the European Innovation program for the south of the Netherlands. The remaining 1.3 million euro is funded by Brainport and TU/e in particular.

Speed is of the essence not only from a technological perspective, but also for commercial and strategic reasons. At the end of last year President Barack Obama announced that the United States are investing 120 million dollars in a photonics institute that must help America catch up with Europe in this area. ‘And when they say

The day-to-day management of Photon Delta is the responsibility of Ewit Roos, former directorfounder of BrightMove, a company - in which TU/e is co-shareholder - which provides funding to high-tech start-ups. The next four years the Rotterdam economic and legal specialist will be leading the start-up phase of Photon Delta - of which it is not certain, by the way, whether it is going to be a foundation, a cooperation or a limited liability company (bv).


Roos formulates the purpose of Photon Delta as the ‘non-incidental valorization’ of the knowledge available in the ecosystem. Particularly by bringing together the business and scientific communities, by analyzing what type of companies and services could add value to the region, and what specific knowledge is lacking. ‘We already have a great many companies here that make photonic components’, says Roos. ‘The supply chain is developed well, and the Brainport region is already big within the Top sector High Tech Systems & Materials. Now it is important to detect where the gaps are, so that we can fill those specifically.’

From left to right: Ton Backx, Ton Koonen and Ewit Roos.

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the market for integrated photonics will amount to some fifty billion euros in 2020. The coming years will determine who is going to profit from that explosive growth, by all appearances. Which is why Backx thinks there is no time to lose.

Europe, that means us, at TU/e’, says Backx confidently. Research school COBRA, in which photonicsrelated groups of Electrical Engi­ neering and Applied Physics are united, is the global leader in its area of expertise, according to Backx.

‘The latest review shows that the COBRA research is some two years ahead of the rest of the world.’ For TU/e, as well as for the rest of the Netherlands, and indeed Europe, it is of the essence to hang on to that lead. Predictions are that


Ton Koonen, head of the group Electro-optical Communications (ECO), has since February 1 been Academic Director of both research school COBRA and the Institute for Photonic Integration as a whole. As far as Koonen is concerned, COBRA will continue its existence in its present form for the time being, if only because the research school was given a twenty-million euro Gravitation Grant two years ago, which will allow it to continue for the next eight years. ‘The name COBRA must also be maintained’, Koonen emphasizes. He explains that the institute will not be given the name COBRA, because it is going to be significantly broader than the research school alone. ‘However, the reputation of COBRA is too valuable to stop using that name altogether.’ The coming years have a lot in store for the development arm of the new institute, says Koonen. ‘How can we manage to transfer all those beautiful things that we invent within COBRA to the real world? That will be the main challenge for the institute.’ Within COBRA there are now some three hundred researchers at work, including PhD candidates. Expectations are that within the institute another three hundred people will be added to that number over the next five years. ‘In the industry you see that the more you advance in the development of a product, the more people are

‘COBRA research has a two-year lead on the rest of the world’ The Institute for Photonic Integra­ tion is to become a fully-fledged Research & Development-institute,

in which the research arm is formed by COBRA, while the development arm will consist of three Technology Centers, respectively in the areas of so-called (III-V)-Materials, Components-Devices-Circuits, and Systems (see also box ‘COBRA’).’ As stated, the findings of COBRA will be developed further within the Technology Centers to proto­ types which the industry can set to work with, whereby Photon Delta will have a connecting role (see also box ‘Photon Delta’). In this context talks are going on with major technology players within and outside the region, including Philips, NXP, KPN, ASML and IBM. At least one hundred and fifty million euros will be needed

involved. So it is quite possible for the focus of research of the institute to be shifted to the development arm in due course.’ COBRA is comprised of five research groups: two from Electrical Engineering - Photonic Integration (PhI) and Electro-optical Communi­ cations (ECO) – and three from Applied Physics: Photonics and Semiconductor Nanophysics (PSN), Physics of Nanostructures (FNA), and Plasma and Materials Processing (P&MP). These groups conduct research into integrated photonics at three levels: materials (the groups of Applied Physics), devices (PhI) and systems (ECO).

In the end companies can have prototypes made In alignment with these three levels, three Technology Centers have been planned within the institute. ‘At the level of materials we are then referring to the development of advanced photonic materials based on the semi­ conductor indium phosphide’, Koonen explains. ‘That is a so-called (III-V) material which is used mostly in telecom, but which we are trying to adapt for other applications as well. The cleanroom of NanoLab@TU/e has already been equipped specifically for indium phosphide.’


for the total initiative in the next ten years, Backx estimates. For that reason an intensive search is being conducted for private and public bodies (such as the Minis­ try of Economic Affairs, Brainport, the province of North Brabant, and the European Union) that are prepared to contribute.

‘The loss of the lead can cost our country, and Europe, billions’ The brand-new Director is optimistic about the willingness to cough up the required investment. After all, by not investing we would

At the next higher level, the devices, there is actually already a Technology Center in the form of the European consortium Jeppix, of which TU/e is the coordinator. ‘With that center we have already advanced most’, says Koonen. ‘Jeppix concerns itself with generic photonic integration, a method for making optical integration technology accessible to external parties as well. Think of a kind of recipe book with standards for certain photonic components, which a company can then order to be made in any affiliated cleanroom.’ In due course that must lead to a system of ‘open access’ for facilities where companies can have prototypes made. ‘The idea is that companies holding design rules can design their own circuits, which they can subsequently have made by us, or in cleanrooms of the other partners. We do not intend to become a chips factory here, by the way, we shall stick to prototypes. For the eventual mass production there are industrial partners.’

miss out on a great deal of new employment and revenues. ‘The loss of the lead can cost our country, and Europe, billions. Integrated photonics will replace a part of traditional electronics in the years to come, especially in datacenters and for telecommu­ nication. Besides, the technology has great potential for things like biosensors, which enable us to conduct medical tests swiftly and cheaply, for example to detect skin cancer by means of a Smart­ phone. The market for integrated photonics will grow from fifty billion in 2020 to many thousands of billions in the long term.’

At system level, finally, a System Prototyping Center has been planned, which will consider the way in which these components must work together in a system so as to arrive at the desired functionality. ‘How that can be shaped precisely remains to be seen, but it follows naturally from what we at ECO are now doing in our labs in Flux.’ For that matter, today the findings of COBRA do not remain fully hidden from the outside world either. For instance, in the past few years the research school has given birth to various spin-offs, including PhotonX Networks (which produces optical network switches, among other things), Effect Photonics (which designs photonic integrated circuits and fits attunable lasers onto optical chips) and Smart Photonics (production of optical chips). Although the focus of research of COBRA is now in the area of telecommu­ nication, it is expected that the coming years will see more attention going to different applications of photonics. ‘Within the institute we will be doing more work on medical sensors. For one, you can make sensors based on plastic fibers. They allow you to measure properly how people move while asleep; at present we are talking to epilepsy center Kempen­ haeghe in connection with the research into sleeping disorders being conducted there. Then again, you can use optics in traffic, to measure the distance between cars, or the bending of airplane wings. There are more than enough applications you can think of for integrated photonics.’

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BETTER SEARCHING ON THE INTERNET Search enquiries often do not produce the desired results yet, because the search engines do not always interpret the question the way it was meant by the user. By incorporating context, the chance that a search question will yield the desired answer increases. Both explicit context - such as the search history and infor­ mation about the user profile - and seemingly irrelevant factors - like the kind of device on which the search action is carried out, or the day and time - provide relevant information. Yulia Kiseleva researched the best way to use such context in search engines and web services. To this end, she joined forces with the Russian search engine Yandex, Microsoft Bing, Microsoft Cortana and Booking.com.

SOFT WATER THROUGH SMALL PORES If by means of a membrane you want to selectively filter certain molecules from a liquid, it helps if you can make the pores very small. Berry BĂśgels created a membrane from a mixture of rod-like liquid crystals and accessory molecules - which he removed again after the formation process. In this way he managed to make pores in which certain ions, such as calcium and magnesium, are captured, while for instance sodium and potassium are allowed to pass. With such membranes water can be softened in water treatment plants to prevent limescale. An important bonus is that membranes of liquid crystals can be produced cheaply.

5X1 minute

Slash dug through the stack of mostrecent theses in order to highlight five for you. In five minutes, you can soak up information that would otherwise take you hours to plow through.


FILMS OF GROWING FUNGI In spaces where air humidity is too high you run a risk of fungoid growth on the wall. It is more than just unsightly; fungi on a wall - like those on food - are often unsanitary as well. They secrete all sorts of substances to which many people are allergic. A great deal is still unknown about how fungi grow exactly under what conditions. Karel van Laarhoven succeeded in filming fungi growing on a piece of gypsum by means of a microscope, using ferric oxide to create contrast between the white gypsum and the white fungi. Such films can provide valuable information for the design of antifungal materials. For instance, it turns out that fungi grow better when the pores of the material are finer.

FUEL FROM NANOWIRES Flimsy wires made of gallium phosphide - one hundred nanometers, a thousand times thinner than a human hair - are exceptionally capable of converting sunlight into electricity. Especially if you consider how little material is needed to make such nanowires. Anthony Standing managed to ‘harvest’ far thinner wires of gallium phosphide than was possible before. Also, he succeeded in increasing the efficiency of the nanowires by a factor of one thousand, so that they work ten times better now than conventional solar panels. He used them to convert sunlight directly into hydrogen - an important step on the way to the production of solar fuels.

SUPPORTED BY A ROBOTIC ARM People who have ended up in a wheelchair due to a progressive muscle degeneration disease like Duchenne or ALS, at a certain moment also lack the muscle power to lift their own arm. Even simple acts like getting a glass of water then turn into an insurmountable problem. Support by a kind of robotic arm may then bring relief for these people. As overcoming the gravitation costs the most energy in such cases, Bob van Ninhuijs designed an artificial ‘shoulder joint’ that can rotate freely horizontally, while vertically compensating for gravitation through magnetic forces. That concept, which has been patented, can also be useful for industrial robots.

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In 2016 chemical technologist Kitty Nijmeijer (44) switched from Twente to Eindhoven. She won her spurs as a scientist at the University of Twente. By means of a TEDx lecture, a series of lectures in the University of the Netherlands, appearances in tv show DWDD and innovative membrane projects she made a name for herself beyond that as well. Inter alia with the blue energy power station on the Afsluitdijk, which generates energy from the difference in salt concentration between fresh and salt water. Nevertheless, the Professor of Membrane Materials and Processes adds, success cannot travel without doubts.

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‘I was born in Geleen. My parents were both lawyers, so I have very few beta genes. Yet we literally lived within a stone’s throw from DSM: from my bedroom window I could see the flames of the flaring. At primary school I used to dabble with Lego. That may be where my predilection for technology was born: think of something, build it and try it out. At secondary school I soon knew that I wanted to focus on technical subjects and after pre-university education I began on chemical technology at the technical college in Heerlen. Love then guided me to Twente, where my friend studied already. The combination of theory and experiments at a university attracts me. When I was a trainee at Akzo Nobel I realized for the first time how important I find the great freedom in research at a university. So it was a very conscious decision to obtain a doctorate. After having obtained my doctorate I was given the opportunity within the Membrane Science and Technology group of the University of Twente (UT) to lead the section that is involved with contract research for the industry. Several years later I became Assistant Professor in the same group. My need for freedom inspired me to become a full professor, which took place in 2012.

‘It’s a fantastic feeling to be asked’ At the end of September 2015 I got a telephone call from Jaap Schouten, the dean of the Eindhoven Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry (ST). He wanted to talk to me and got down to business at once: how did I feel about moving to Eindhoven? I knew straight away that I wanted to and a few days later my friend and I cut the knot. I most certainly did not leave Twente due to

bad blood; after fifteen years I was aching for something new, so the question came at exactly the right moment. The intrinsic choices made by the Department of ST here in Eindhoven are much more in line with my research. Twente aims strongly at nanotechnology and inorganic materials. My research is about making polymer membranes for industrial applications and Eindhoven has strong clusters around both polymers and process technology. It’s a fantastic feeling to be asked. The Rector of UT, Ed Brinksma, said I was most welcome to it, although he regretted very much to see me leave. My colleague Zandrie Borneman decided a little later also to come over from Twente to Eindhoven. At TU/e we are going to make membranes for new applications, especially for recovering valuable components. Sustainable challenges galore: in the biobased economy, in the food sector or in water treatment. In order to filter pesticides, drug waste or hormones out of water, you need new membranes. Yet we are also working on the separation of gases or on capturing CO2, possibly in combination with the conversion of that into fuels.

‘Excellent dissertations often disappear in a drawer; there is more that can be done with those’ I like to start from fundamental research and then work towards an application. That is how Zandrie and I worked together in Twente on a project for the development of membranes to recover water from flue gases of power plants. I started the project and researched the fundamental aspects in particular. He continued with that and

worked on translating the academic insights into an application in cooperation with industrial parties. Here in Eindhoven we will be cooperating in a similar manner, whereby I am involved with the academic research and teaching, while Zandrie focuses on translating the academic insights into technological solutions to concrete questions from the market. Lots of scientific research is yielding excellent dissertations, which often disappear in a drawer, but there is more that can be done with that knowledge, for the industry and society alike.

‘I have the responsibility to show young people that it is all right to have doubts’ I appreciate the open culture at TU/e; in which board members indicate, for instance, that there are no ready-made solutions to the challenges which the growth of the university entails. I feel a strong commitment to TU/e and have been actively involved in the debate about that growth. How do we cope with more students, more pressure of work and less space? The Rector rightly said: it is the people that matter. If that is one of the leading principles of the university, should we then add even more to the load borne by our staff members who are so committed already? Researchers put a lot of extra time into their work, for example for the writing of research proposals, when on average only ten percent of the applications are honored. I advocate drawing a line: you should not oblige people to give lectures at night also. I want to make sure that people can deliver a good performance in a pleasant environment.


almost every day and I think that I can gauge well how they are doing. Are they feeling comfortable or are they in two minds about going into the lab? Are they grappling with the writing of their dissertation and displaying procrastination behavior? As a professor it is my responsibility to hold people to account for that. PhD candidates are here to learn, but at the end of the day it is their own responsibility to do something with that.

‘My passion is with the content’ We are building a research group and I want to see the results of that as well. I was totally convinced when I decided to come to TU/e and I also have the ambition to stay here in the years to come. I don’t concern myself with what I want to do in five or ten years. Management? That would agree with me alright as far as it involves connecting, bringing people together and creating something jointly. For the moment my passion is with the content. I do feel a responsibility for being socially involved apart from my work. Thus, I am a member of a Lions club in Twente and I am looking for something similar here again. There is a certain charm to commuting between Oldenzaal and Eindhoven: both places have different characters. It seems like fun to me to witness the Dutch Design Week and GLOW, for instance.’

Membrane filtration for the production of clean drinking water.

A professor has a fine position with lots of freedom, as well as responsibility for society and the world. Looking back on my career I am satisfied with the choices I’ve made. It does not mean that I don’t question myself regularly.

As an Assistant Professor I once stated that I wanted to be a professor and that made me vulnerable. I think that I have the responsibility to show young people that it is all right to have doubts. Without doubts gaining the upper hand, of course. I see my PhD candidates


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Both completed their studies at TU/e. The planner chose the path most in line with his education. While the venturer went outside the boundaries of his. A logical choice

A dream come true

‘From childhood I have been fascinated with cars. As a small boy I wanted to be a racing car driver and I loved to go karting. It was obvious that I was going to do something with cars after my secondary school: it became Mechanical Engineering. As a Graduate Stress Engineer at Renault Sport F1 it is my duty to ensure that the components of the Formula 1 race car do not break down and that they are as light and safe as possible. This means that I make calcu­ lations every day and arrange a lot of simulations. I make calculations for new components so that we can estimate when a component will break down and where we can save on materials.’

‘My study, my activities at URE and final project combined have ultimately led to this job. I thought: ‘I’m just going to try and get into Formula 1’. Via LinkedIn I approached department heads of various Formula 1 teams. I was invited to two interviews at two teams after which I decided on the F1 team of Renault. I had never expected this, as there are on average 200 applicants for similar jobs. My dream came true, as this is the ideal job for me.’

Great run-up ‘Communication and efficiency are crucial in my work. Due to time pressure we cannot afford to have long meetings. I also learned this during my studies and at University Racing Eindhoven (URE). That was a great run-up to this job, especially in the area of materials and composites, which I focused on even then. After my involvement with URE the logical topic of my final project became research into the crumple zone of the Formula 1 car. I used microscopic fillers to reduce the weight of the crumple zone while increasing safety at the same time.’

Team spirit ‘In the ordinary automotive industry you get a new car coming onto the market once every four years; we do so every year and sometimes we introduce a new component within two weeks. It means I work long days, but the team spirit, the feeling that you produce swift results and that the whole world sees your work gives me a great deal of satisfaction. In the future I can see myself in a senior job in which I am involved more with the fundamental design of a racing car. After all, those are the pillars on which a racing car is built and which make the difference between finishing first or as number ten.’

PLANNER TIM VERMEER Age 28 Job: • Graduate Stress Engineer at Renault Sport F1 Study: • 2006 - 2015 Mechanical Engineering, Polymer Technology, TU/e


VENTURER THEODOR KOCKELKOREN Age 47 Job • Partner McKinsey & Company • Chairman Committee on Emerging Risk of IOSCO • Chairman Taskforce G20/OECD • Board member Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) • Associate principle McKinsey & Company Study • 1995 - 1996 MBA, INSEAD • 1987 - 1993 Electrical Engineering, TU/e


Fun, but also oppressive ‘The source of my fascination with electrical engineering lies in the electronics DIY kit which my father gave me when I was seven. I enjoyed it so much that I kept tinkering for the rest of my childhood. Later there was the arrival of the computer and an interest in computer science was kindled. If you want to make a contribution to the world through your study program, in my view that meant: specialize, study for a doctorate and then start working at the NatLab. While that seemed like great fun to me, it also oppressed me. You only work within a specialist field, where I wanted to see a bit more of the world.’

Grateful faces ‘I obtained my P (first-year diploma) in my first year, which was quite unusual even then. It gave me extra time, which I invested in a small consultancy firm set up by a friend. For the Bijenkorf we had built a software program, which we supported on the spot for the ladies who had to work with it. I can still remember their grateful faces and that generated my interest in consultancy work. That is how I ended up at McKinsey. They were looking for people with a science background, because they can think tightly and precisely. It was my job to make connections between big, apparently chaotic pieces of information.’

Crisis with great opportunities ‘After eight years at McKinsey I wanted to take a look at the non-profit world. Via a consultancy assignment, which also resulted in the foundation of the AFM in 2002, I ended up with that organization in the same year. The AFM was founded in response to scandals such as share lease. Its mission: ensure that financial institutions treat their customers properly. In 2008 I became a board member there, at the time when the banking crisis broke out. We had seen the precursors a year before in the United States, although DNB and we ourselves had not anticipated that Dutch banks had to be saved by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB). The crisis gave us, so shortly after we had been founded, a great many opportunities to get dealing in the interest of the customer high on the agenda and to keep it there. As an AFM board member I was also active internationally. For instance, I was chairman of a taskforce of the G20 and the OECD, which wanted to put consumer protection higher on the international agenda. In the Netherlands we had become one of the leaders. In 2015 I left the AFM after almost fourteen years. In the past year I quit my job because I wanted to be there for my wife after she had been diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately things are taking a good turn and I have decided to return to McKinsey shortly.’

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The importance of soft skills for the future engineer



Technicians are not known as ‘chatterboxes’. Yet for betas communicative skills are ever more important as well. Employers seek technological know-how whilst placing more and more emphasis on soft skills such as leadership, ability to cooperate and present clearly. Within university education there is also more attention to soft skills, inter alia in the SkillsLab, an online platform where students can enhance their skills. Will the new batch of students be given enough baggage to satisfy the new employer demands? Or should the university start offering these non-technical skills in a totally different manner? Among the visitors to grand café de Zwarte Doos who are having a drink, five experts from the business community and the university are having a heated discussion about ‘soft’ matters.

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agicians who can do the impossible are the employees of the future.’ Yvonne van Hest shoves a stack of papers under the noses of the other Mission participants. Friday afternoon, in the sun on the terrace of grand café de Zwarte Doos five experts are discussing the question how students should be taught soft skills during their studies. For it is clear to everybody that more attention should be devoted to such skills. ‘We have recently had it investigated how the demand for soft skills among employers has changed over the past eight years. Particularly in vacancies in the technical field we see that increasing emphasis is placed on cooperation, leadership capacities and clear presentations; an increase by no less than 26 percent. And where are those magicians? A practical example: my brother’s ICT business. Last year he recruited seven people with an excellent ICT background but without just the right soft skills, of whom there is only one left now. Now he himself is teaching ICT knowledge to people with excellent soft skills. Surely that is the world topsy-turvy’, says Van Hest. ‘Which is precisely why the SkillsLab at TU/e was set up last year’, says Marc Vervuurt, who himself is active with the online platform. ‘We see that the alumni we deliver to major companies are very strong on substance, but less expert in professional skills that are also essential for your career. That awareness has to land. We need to have a cultural shift here in which it will be a matter of course that apart from the substance you also develop your capacity for cooperation, crisis management and presentation. Students now are not interested and as yet there is

little enthusiasm within the various levels of management. Something that really amazes me.’ Student Alex Dings nods. ‘I would want it to be taken far more seriously. First of all by students. As long as they are not ready for it, you can support them all you want, but they won’t do anything with it. However, everybody has their share in that cultural change that you mention: STU, trainers, lecturers, managers. From students who find a ‘satisfactory’ grade enough up to the Program Director who does not integrate professional skills into the curriculum.’ Now that soft skills are his personal everyday activity - his own company was ranked among the top 10 of the most promising start-ups 2015/2016 by IBM - Dings wants to stand up for showing fellow-students how important it is that you can sell your product

and sit down and discuss things with customers.

Alex Dings, participant in the SkillsLab

Wendy Gehoel, Bsc, internal trainer

pilot 2015 and Bachelor student of Software Science and Web Science, TU/e ‘Make the progress in soft skills visible for students in a learning curve - as part of the learning process - and don’t assess someone on one negative random indication’

and coach soft skills, ASML ‘Know yourself and approach the market from that basis, then you are not dependent on what people think of you, but you act from your authentic strength and have much more to give’

‘When you work on your soft skills, you work on your social intelligence’ Discussion leader Lucas Asselbergs - originally a psychologist - cannot help starting the second round with a mini lecture.


Drs. Yvonne van Hest, BA, Program

Dr.ir. Marloes van Lierop, Program Director

Manager (international) labor market development, Brainport Development ‘Make sure that children are taught soft skills even at primary school’

Bachelor Software Science and Web Science, TU/e ‘If you want to show students the importance of soft skills, incorporate them into the learning objectives’

‘Social intelligence consists of five elements. Being capable of self-knowledge, reflecting upon yourself; ability to direct yourself to a certain performance; ability to control yourself, being in balance with your environ­ ment; being empathetic, understanding what somebody else is going through; and, finally, a certain measure of social commitment, how do you position yourself on the grander scale? When you work on your soft skills, you work on your social intelligence. You learn to survive in society.’ Then he hands out colored memos and asks the group to consider what to them are important aspects as soft skills go. What should be the crux of the matter? For a while silence reigns, then they start scribbling away. ‘I think it is vital to speak the language that techies understand’, says Wendy Gehoel. ‘Go in via the cortex, after that you can start to apply. So if you can catch something in terms of an equation, you can get to work with the techie. Take AxB=C. There A is the activating event, B the belief about the event and C the consequence. Something happens and the way in which you think about that, makes you feel happy, angry or stressed. I believe that you should allow people to work from their own inner strength. People quickly have negative and critical beliefs so that they get stressed, but by switching yourself to another radio channel you can

turn those into supportive beliefs. And then the consequence is greater self-confidence.’ Dings: ‘You are actually describing the formula of life here: self-regulation, selfperspective and self-knowledge’. ‘You could indeed see it like that as well’, Gehoel confirms, laughing. And then she proceeds more seriously: ‘If you can work from your inner values and qualities you create a win-win situation for yourself and your company’ Gehoel, enthusiastic, is now gathering steam. ‘Another element that I want to mention is the balcony dance balance. You get thinkers and doers, I find the ratio between being very much into the dance and reflection to be of essential importance in connection with soft skills.’ Van Hest wants to emphasize the alignment between primary, secondary and higher education. ‘This is not something we should only tackle at TU/e. I am convinced that even at primary schools we should begin to learn differently and think differently. The world is moving ever faster – in our childhood we would watch ‘Paulus de Boskabouter’ on TV every Wednesday every week, whereas today there are thousands of stations and YouTube channels, to name just one thing. This calls for a new way of dealing with new problems. I am very much in favor of ‘3O’ learning which Brainport is developing in cooperation with regional

Marc Vervuurt, guild leader presentation skills SkillsLab TU/e and Master student Medical Engineering, TU/e ‘We need to have a cultural shift, because lecturers are afraid now that training in soft skills will be detrimental to the contents’

primary schools: onderzoeken (investigate), ontwerpen (design), ondernemen (entrepreneurship). You see these nicely united in the First Lego League, a contest for pupils to investigate the social role of technology on the basis of assignments. This combination of creativity, technology and entrepreneurship is essential later.’ ‘And you see that such a contest calls for a great deal of cooperation, which I also regard as an important element. Not only being responsible for your own share, but also being prepared to go the extra mile’, says Marloes van Lierop.

Can you actually talk about communication at meta-level at TU/ Asselbergs is meanwhile arranging the colored memos. Vervuurt misses the term ‘self-reflection’ on the big board.

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Gehoel: ‘Allow me to continue, please? Maybe a hint towards the solution, if you can reflect together, you are already cooperating and are - unconsciously - using a great many soft skills. And by that I don’t only mean reflecting upon the contents, but precisely upon each other’s way of cooperating, who is contributing what, how is your attitude? In this way you are active at different levels: individually, interpersonally but also as a team. The further you get, the stronger our team. This way you can eventually even exceed the team ego and attain a high performance, truly being part of a greater system.’ Asselbergs adopts his role as a psychologist again and asks himself whether you can actually talk about communication at meta-level at TU/e; can you talk about the way of cooperation or are you then making things far too soft? Dings: ‘I think that peer reviews are the best way of doing something like that, but that means everybody really has to take it seriously. It is easy to be hand in glove together and say ‘Hey, all of us do not like each other at all,

but we’ll give each other a grade nine and that’s us done again’. Honestly complete the rubrics (analytical assessment scale for skills, ed.) and incorporate those grades into a process. One grade alone does not mean anything, it’s the learning process that counts. Make it more personal, give more feedback and keep track of what is happening. And if necessary you can offer training courses.’ Fun and nice, thinks Vervuurt, but not realistic if we consider the increase in student numbers of the past few years. ‘We lack the manpower and the financial resources.’ Van Hest jumps up: ‘I’ve got an entirely different idea. We are working on a program to keep challenging the over-50 group and keep it mentally fit, can’t you combine them? I know enough techies in this region who can present well, and I’m sure they find it very valuable to work together with TU/e in this area.’ Gehoel observes that she is still hearing the call for a change. We need to identify and list how we can get students to start working on soft skills, what triggers them,

what may be an intrinsic motivation?’ Van Lierop: ‘I’ve been working on this for many years, it is awfully difficult to trigger intrinsic motivation in students. As the most recent experiment I now introduce an activity at the end of the Bachelor’s program which I hope will work as a wake-up call so that they become aware of the importance of professional skills and can set to work on them in the Master’s program. Students need to pitch before a team of real recruiters and then receive constructive feedback. It makes more of an impression if a recruiter says that a certain attitude is not convincing than if that is done by a lecturer who does not present the best of lectures himself either. And this is done within a realistic context, during a future application the procedure will be like that as well. In addition, we should include in the description of each course what skills will be addressed, then it will become visible how often it is on the agenda and students will realize: ‘Apparently it is important after all’. And don’t make it optional, make it obligatory, to the extent that this is doable with staff members who occasionally are unmotivated and unqualified where soft skills are concerned.’ Dings: ‘It would make a difference already if lecturers can complete the rubrics in the same way so that you can trace a learning curve.’ Gehoel is on the edge of her seat. ‘Do you know what would be even better? If there is someone in a student group who can write really well, while another can present well, let them help each other and give each other tips.’ Dings sighs: ‘That is exactly what the SkillsLab started with and why the first version failed. Students don’t accept so much from each other.’ Gehoel: ‘Suppose that you can follow training courses as a guild leader, that would be motivating. And you know straight away how you can coach fellow-students better.’


Soft skills are not tricks, but help you survive in society

Then Asselbergs finally adds some more oil to the fire. ‘Shouldn’t we abandon the term soft skills? To me it feels too much like teaching students to do tricks, when it should really be about Bildung, an integral part of becoming adult and mature, grasping where you are in the grand scheme of things. As a student at a university it is not only important what you learn, but also how you manifest yourself, what kind of contacts you make and what sort of network you build up as a result. We train future leaders here, who must be able to do more than solve a

differential equation. Soft skills are not tricks, but help you survive in society. Make students become aware that student life is a laboratory of professional skills, sample, experience!’ Although this Mission has not managed to arrive at a ready-to-swallow solution, the crossfertilization between university and business community has generated some nice ideas that may lead to it. And with the arrival of a large plate of hot snacks the Friday afternoon drinks have begun at this table too at long last.

Op zoek naar een innovatieve Looking for an innovative solution for your oplossing voor uworganization? organisatie? Our technological like denken to put ongraag their met thinking Onze technologischdesigners ontwerpers u mee! cap together with you!

Wat hebben een detector voor roestvorming, een bloedsuikersimulatiemodel, een intelligent winkelraam een planningssysteem voor vliegtuigservicing met elkaar What do a detector for rusten formation, a blood sugar simulation model, an intelligent shop window gemeen? Ze zijn stuk voor stuk ontworpen door een PDEng trainee: een technoand a planning system for airplane servicing have in common? Each of these has been designed logisch ontwerper opleiding van de Technische Universiteit Delft, Technische by a PDEng trainee: aintechnological trainee research assistant from Delft University of Technology, Universiteit Eindhoven of Universiteit van Twente. Eindhoven University of Technology or the University of Twente. PDEng trainees hebben een afgeronde universitaire ingenieursopleiding (MSc niveau) PDEng traineeseen haveextra completed a university engineering program level) and en aanvullend jaar scholing gevolgd om zowel hun (MSc technische alshave ook additionally hun followed an extra year of trainingvaardigheden for the further verder development of both theirTijdens technical their persoonlijke en professionele te ontwikkelen. hetand tweede personal as well as their professionalgaan skills.zeDuring the second of their program jaar van hun ontwerpersopleiding zelfstandig aan year de slag metDesigner een uitdagende they set to work independently on a challenging assignment in the business community. ontwerpopdracht in het bedrijfsleven. Hierbijdesign ontvangen ze intensieve coaching vanuit de In universiteit. this process they receive intensive coaching from the university. Benieuwd wat de mogelijkheden zijn voor de inzet van een PDEng trainee voor uw Interested in the possibilities for deploying a PDEng trainee in your organization? organisatie? Kijk op www.4tu.nl/sai/corporate voor meer informatie. Check out www.4tu.nl/sai/corporate for more information.



In ‘Getting Started’ TU/e starters talk about their own enterprise.



How long have you been involved with TUSTI?


‘I started TUSTI more than a year ago together with Eline Stiphout, who owns Stiphout Plastics. The name is an acronym for TU/e and Stiphout Plastics. A few days after having presented my research to this company, we jointly decided to set up this enterprise. She takes care of the commercial side while I deal with the technology. We supplement each other very well, for even though you may have a beautiful product, if you can’t sell it, you are nowhere. Eline travels all across the country and purchases the plastics.’

Jan Kolijn Age 33

How did you get this idea?

Job co-director TUSTI TUSTI is a spin-off from Stiphout Plastics and Polymer Technology Group Eindhoven (PTG/e) Study Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, TU/e www.tusti.nl

‘Eline encountered large quantities of plastic polluted with grease in the market, which cannot be recycled properly. When I worked at PTG, a knowledge institution and spin-off of TU/e, the question was posed to do something with this. Meanwhile I have developed a cleaning agent and together with a machine-builder I have developed a device that can rid plastics of grease in an ecologically sound manner. Stiphout Plastics recycles this plastic to small plastic particles that can be used to make buckets and drain pipes.’

When are you starting? ‘I had planned to be producing already, but the operational management and the development of the device that makes the plastic grease-free took a lot of time. Practice has shown that collectors do not only deliver plastic with grease residues, but a mixture of different kinds of plastic. That is why the device needs to be adjusted so that it can also separate these different plastic varieties. For if the device can do that, it enhances the quality of the plastic so that the value of the material increases. That would make it much more interesting commercially. However, it does imply that it will take longer before we can start our production.’

What have you learned? ‘As a graduate chemical engineer I know everything about cleaning agents. Now I also take care of operational management, consultations with machine-builders and applications for subsidies. Sometimes I take a whole day to fill an Excel file with figures for a financier and make a budget up to 2021. The next day I am knee-deep in greasy plastics to assess the quality and the type of plastic, and the day after that we tell our story as convincingly as we can to obtain the required funding for our devices. Lots of variation, then, and it calls for many different soft skills.’

What is your first goal? ‘Start operations and make money. The second goal is to be a knowledge gateway for everybody who encounters a problem in connection with recycling. We want to be the preferred address that people turn to when they have a recycling issue. Be a bridge between clever scientists at TU/e and the passionate entrepreneurs in recycling.’

Who or what was the greatest help to you? ‘Eline, my business partner, and Laurent Nelissen, the boss of PTG (Polymer Technology Group) and Managing Director at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry. He has lobbied extensively to sell our idea within TU/e. Now he is still strongly involved at TUSTI as a supervisory director. Fortunately my family at home also gives me enough space, otherwise I couldn’t pull it off. I work long days, and I rarely get home before six pm.’

Tip for other starters. ‘If you have a good idea, you just have to begin. It is important to be aware that nothing is a standard and hardly anything will work well from day one. So keep your planning broad.’



‘Science is not merely concerned with understanding the world as it is, but just as much with the world as it can potentially be.’

‘You should not waste time searching for the job of your dreams, you have to create it.’

Thesis with the dissertation ‘Interacting with Light’ by Serge Offermans.

Thesis with the dissertation ‘Rethinking care processes: Does anybody have an idea?’ by Rob Vanwersch.

‘Scientists and engineers working in energy research should not sell a future where all our problems can be solved by technology without any concessions to luxury, even if such a future might be realized at some point’. Thesis with the dissertation ‘Passivating selective contacts for silicon photovoltaics - Solar cells designed by physics’ by Sjoerd Smit.

‘The fact that physical exercise produces better scientists and science produces better athletes negates the conceptual separation of body and mind’. Thesis with the dissertation ‘High-temperature separation of carbon dioxide and hydrogen by sorption-enhanced water-gas shift and palladium membranes’ by Jurriaan Boon.

‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ (Maya Angelou) Thesis with the dissertation ‘Patient-reported outcomes in perinatal care’ by Sophie Truijens.

‘Being nuanced and not opinionated are signs of true intelligence. That is why writing clear propositions is so difficult.’ Thesis with the dissertation ‘Studies on user control in Ambient Intelligent Systems’ by Bernt Meerbeek.

‘The usage of the word ‘large’ for things that are at least 100x smaller than the thickness of a human hair is misleading’. Thesis with the dissertation ‘Droplets, fibers & crystals: controlling the nanostructure of polymer and perovskite solar cells’ by Hans van Franeker.

‘Stating an opinion based on research results is essential for a researcher. Therefor it should be obligatory to postulate propositions accompanying a thesis.’ Thesis with the dissertation ‘Towards real-time detection of plate vibrations from acoustic measurements’ by Elise Moers.

‘Using social media moves people’s central question in life away from ‘What do I really like to do?’ to ‘What do other people like me to do?’ and ‘What can I post about it?’’

‘The craftsmanship of a construction worker is a combination of involvement, knowledge, intel­ligence, handcraft and experience. Therefore, striving to robotize this kind of craftsmanship will lead to nothing.’

Thesis with the dissertation ‘Rethinking care processes: Does anybody have an idea?’ by Rob Vanwersch.

Thesis with the dissertation ‘Droplets, fibers & crystals: controlling the nanostructure of polymer and perovskite solar cells’ by Hans van Franeker.

Thesis with the dissertation ‘Handstorm principles for creative and collaborative working’ by Frans van Gassel.

‘Research is like chess. You hope to start with an ingenious and original plan, but the opening is often the same and the remainder is to improvise as smart as possible’.


Jos Lichtenberg (1951), professor of product development for the construction industry, consultant for industrial construction producers, writer of ‘Slimbouwen’. Will present his valedictory lecture on December 16, 2016.



Clever/slim construction

‘I had a clear idea about the construction industry and how I could change it thanks to my chair. I see the construction industry as a clogged organization suffering from huge fragmentation in loads of speci­ alized little enterprises. In my view there should be a much more industrial mindset. We are still building like the Romans, but we have to make cleverer constructions. The vision that I developed about this came to be known under the name Slimbouwen (Clever construction). Clever as in intelligent and clever as in leaner, with fewer materials. By educating students, conducting research and presenting lectures I wanted to help the construction world change. And I think that plan has been reasonably successful; the market has picked up on slimbouwen. At present there are a hundred projects in the Netherlands. A fine example is the Venco campus in Eersel, which in 2013 was acclaimed the most sustainable industrial building in Europe. It was designed with reference to my book Slimbouwen which was published in 2005.’


‘As a THE graduate I had the following idea: first I’m going to learn a lot, then I’m going to harvest with a well-paid job and in the third phase I want to transfer my knowledge. What happened was that in 1976 I graduated as an architect and immediately began to focus on product development in the industry. I also set up a consultancy firm. Only then did I obtain my PhD in Delft with a dissertation on success and failure factors in product development. And in 2003 I became professor at TU/e. So although I let go of the trichotomy, the third phase did actually materialize.’

Magic wand

‘Professorship works like a magic wand. People listen to you better and ask for your opinion more often. In the professional world lots of people know me. A while ago I delivered as many as sixty lectures a year. Now that is about thirty. My own strength is in my relation with the outside world. That is where I get my satisfaction, as well as from the contacts with students, PhD candidates and a number of colleagues.’

On page 2 forward/ with Steven Vos

Turning point

‘My plan to help the con­ struction world innovate from my position at TU/e was suddenly interrupted when the Departmental Board of Architecture, Building and Planning decided in 2013 to stop the Master’s program Building Technology. I find it painful that that should have been canceled. I was not informed of it beforehand, and it came as a negative surprise. In view of the market demand, I still cannot find it a wise decision.’

Active House

‘To show the process inno­ vation in the construction industry, I embraced a Danish initiative called Active House, apart from my own slimbouwen. I built such a house in Heeze-Leende, together with companies and the Slimbouwen foundation. At present it is the only Active House in the Netherlands. I live there with my wife Karin, our two sons had already moved out when we moved into it in 2014. It generates energy and is comfortable. The house requires very little power. When Karin lights ten candles, you already feel the heat.”


Water purification




Clean water is of vital importance – not only as drinking water and for cooking, but also for agriculture and even for the industry. Hence, water purification has a long history, which dates back at least to India four thousand years ago. Yet a lot of progress is taking place even now in the area of water purification; at TU/e greater efforts than ever before are made for this today.

Ca. 1750 B.C. Indian texts already contain instructions on the treatment that water should undergo before it is to be drunk. Heating is mentioned, as well as the filtration of water by means of sand or gravel. Also, dipping a glowing hot piece of copper into it seven times is recommended to obtain potable water.

Ca. 1500 B.C. In ancient Egypt the mineral alum in powder form is added to water to make unwanted particles settle down. This results in water that is clear, though not necessarily free from pathogens. Pictures of this method have been found on the tombs of several pharaohs.

Ca. 400 B.C. The Greek physician Hippocrates, who is considered to be the father of Western medicine, develops a cloth bag that serves to filter boiled water: the ‘Hippocratic sleeve’.

1627 The Briton Sir Francis Bacon experiments with the desalination of seawater. Although his attempts with sand filters are hardly successful, his approach does pave the way for new developments in the area of water purification.

1829 London becomes the first town with a public water supply with (sand)-filtered water. The technology involved has been introduced 25 years earlier by the Scottish industrialist John Gibb, who sold part of the water filtered for his bleaching plant to consumers.

1854 The physician John Snow manages to retrace an outbreak of cholera in Soho (London) to contaminated drinking water. He succeeds in disinfecting the source with chlorine.

2006 Lukasz Grabowski obtains a PhD at TU/e for a device that purifies water by means of a gas discharge; a so-called corona. This enables him to cleanse two hundred liters of phenolpolluted water per hour.

2011 Maaike Kroon at TU/e researches a low-energy method to desalinate seawater, by means of so-called ionic liquids. The salt is absorbed by the ionic liquid and thus removed from the water.

2016 TU/e PhD candidate Berry Bögels creates a membrane on the basis of liquid crystals. The pores in this membrane stop certain ions, while allowing others to pass. Such membranes can be used to soften water, in order thus to prevent limescale.

2016 At the TU/e Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry a new research group is started: Membrane Materials and Processes. Led by Professor Kitty Nijmeijer it will work on a new generation of membranes for the purification of water and the recovery of valuable substances.

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Slash 15 - in English  

Slash is the alumni and relations magazine of Eindhoven University of Technology

Slash 15 - in English  

Slash is the alumni and relations magazine of Eindhoven University of Technology

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