After just a bit over 4 years, last wednesday there was the grand finale of my time as a PhD student: the defense of my thesis, entitled: “Column Generation Algorithms for Machine Scheduling and Integrated Airport Planning”

First there was the dressing up, not only for me, but also for my two paranimfs (My dad on the left and my brother on the right).

Outside the AcademiegebouwOutside the Academiegebouw

Here everything was still relaxing, not too much pressure. After this we got inside and I had to wait in a little room till the start, when the ‘pedel’ would get me.

After I got to the room, there is the defense of my thesis, which lasts exactly one academic hour (i.e. 45 minutes :) ). During this time I must answer questions from the opposition (while my both paranimfs have the comfortable job of just sitting down for 45 minutes ;) )

DefendingDefending

DefendingDefending

After the 45 minutes, the pedel comes into the room with the message “Hora est” (it is time). After that the opposition goes back to a separate room where they will discuss whether I am worthy of the title. After this meeting, they come back and below is the picture when I receive the degree certificate out of the hands of my promotor Jan van Leeuwen:

Receiving the degree certificateReceiving the degree certificate

And, after this all is finished, I go downstairs to a different room where people have the chance to congratulate me with the newly acquired degree :)

CongratulationsCongratulations

So from this moment on I am entitled to call myself dr. Diepen :)

And before I forget, last monday, just two days before my defense, the friendly gate planners at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol gave me an awesome present: A two hour visit to the tower at Schiphol!!! Since I already had been once on the platform with the gate planners, the tower was the only ‘great’ place at Schiphol I did not visit. I have to say, the view over Schiphol from 67 meters up is in one word: AWESOME!!!

I did have my camera with, but unfortunately it is not allowed to put these online. So you will just have to take my word for it, it is really nice :)