De meningen ge-uit door medewerkers en studenten van de TU Delft en de commentaren die zijn gegeven reflecteren niet perse de mening(en) van de TU Delft. De TU Delft is dan ook niet verantwoordelijk voor de inhoud van hetgeen op de TU Delft weblogs zichtbaar is. Wel vindt de TU Delft het belangrijk - en ook waarde toevoegend - dat medewerkers en studenten op deze, door de TU Delft gefaciliteerde, omgeving hun mening kunnen geven.

Posted in November 2009

Meet the rector

Our rector Jacob Fokkema has a nice attitude of talking with every prof of this university at least once a year. The form of such meetings may look rather bureaucratic: it is a 20-30 participants round-table discussion about a given topic, and one better makes homework, a short preposition about a topic. However, the rector presides with charm; he is attentive to everybody and likes to listen to opinions that differ from his own. This is why the meetings are not at all boring and often rather informative.

I attended such meeting on 10-11-2009. The topic was "University of future — future of university". I would not go into details of the meeting that were either technical or sensitive: mostly money.
I better tell about my homework. That was inspired by weblog of the rector where he reasoned about (in)compatibilities between  philosophy of open source and realities of university. ( I began to think about, that has lead to the following (intentionally naive) presentation.

At the moment relations between a common taxpayer and universities are not quite problemless: People tend to mistrust the universities, in particular as a source of (useful) knowledge. Such broken relations have unfortunate impact on financing of the universities from public. To remedy this, and to prove their usefulness, the university scientists are requested to go to industrial partners and sell the knowledge to big (or small) business.

However: How people normally fix their relations? Well, usually one makes a gift, gives something valuable without asking any compensation. Like Prometheus did sometime ago. He did not try to sell, and his attempts to "valorise" the discovery have only resulted in chronical livercirrhosois.

There are famous and less famous Dutch people who have made a great impact (measured by millions and tens of millions users) by giving away the products of their creative work. Champions of open source. For instance:

Guido van Rossum (python programming language)
Ton Rosendaal (Blender 3d framework)
Erwin Coumans (Bullet library of physics and collisions).

Why did they do this beyond university environment? Why weren’t they employed by TU Delft so that we had Delft Python and Delft 3d Blender? Perhaps in this case TU Delft had less problems with public funds…

And perhaps it is not yet too late?

Eighth lecture quantum transport

has taken place during the official semester break. I do not know why Quantum Transport has been scheduled on this mysterious week 1.10 while Advanced Quantum Mechanics has been not. Perhaps quantum fluctuations was the reason. Anyway there were six students and I could not figure out if this number is big (for a semester break) or small (for a regular lecture).

This year I decided to swap lecture 7 and lecture 8. The reason was rather mathematical: it is handy to explain the quantum corrections with random matrix theory, the latter most naturally arises in the context of quantum dots. Unfortunately, there was a timing problem which made my presentation of random matrices rather short and incomprehensive. I cannot really understand what brought me behind the schedule. Perhaps I have spent too much time on introduction about optical dots, Eiffel tower and all that. I hardly had time to explain resonant tunnelling.

The interaction with audience was so-so. Get correct answers to my questions, while most answers came from a single student. 


Thanks for 16,000 views

I’ve promised to report any doubling of number of views, and I do. Thank you very much for 16,000 views! 

It’s about two month passed since the start of the blog and about two weeks since the last doubling. I did not have any comments for a long time: please, please, do comment.



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