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Advent calendar - December 9th - Peter Dijkstra

09 December 2022

In the Zernike Institute Advent Calendar, we are presenting 24 short spotlights in December. In these specials, we highlight PhD students, postdocs, support staff and technicians of our research groups and team - providing a glimpse in their typical day at work. In Episode 9 meet Dr. Peter Dijkstra , Technician in the Polymer Science group of Prof. Marleen Kamperman.

Peter Dijkstra
Peter Dijkstra

Hello I’m Peter Dijkstra, technician at the, sorry, wait a second please

What’s your question? The cartridge on the 3D printer is stuck, at 200 °C and your sample is degrading? I’ll be there in a sec. Sorry again I’ll be right back for this calendar, first I need to help someone rescue their sample.

Where were we? I’m the technician of polymer science, the group of Marleen Kamperman. We’ve been in business since 2019 and, wait a sec

I need to order what for you? Okay no problem, but can’t you do that yourself? Oh yeah, they will deliver it at the UMCG instead of here if you order it yourself, send me a list and I will order it for you.

We do research on polymers inspired by nature, glues from sandcastle worms, and fibers like spider silk. We do everything from synthesis of the polymers, determining optimal composition and analyzing its properties.

The new student? Tomorrow I can give her the safety introduction. And let me see, ah yes, she can sit in the office in 17 and use the fume hood next to the rotavap. Oh, the rotavap is leaking? Thanks for mentioning, I’ll look at it later

I’m in charge of a few measuring instruments, but most are under the care of Jur and Albert the technicians of the Katja Loos who we cooperate a lot with.

* Loud static noise and unintelligible mumbling coming from a walkie talkie* Sorry, I have to run someone at the bachelor practicals spilled some chemical over their hand and I’m on duty for the in house emergency response crew.

I’m back, luckily nothing serious. But always wear your safety googles, I really hate it when I need to rinse out someone’s eye. Besides running around to accidents we also give all the new students and new personal the fire training at the beginning of the year.

The freeze dryer was making a strange noise? Not the harmless tsch tsch tsch sound? More like wiieeee wiieeeep. And the sides were rather hot? Good that you switched it off. Just leave it to cool down and remind me to have a look at it. I might need to replace the fan.

I try to keep the lab running, ordering supplies and equipment, keep a watch on safety, make sure people keep things tidy, design and print fixtures and sample holders on the 3D printer, liaison with the workshop, HSE, facility management.

Yeah sure, just grab a screwdriver or do you need the cordless drill?

I supervise students when they do practicals in our group, I guide new personal through an introductory synthesis so that they get an introduction into the group and building. It’s to ensure that they know how to do research on their own in a new environment, know where to find stuff, know procedures, how to order and so on.

The microscope camera? It is not at its normal spot? Try at the tensile tester, someone wanted to do tensile tests and record that.

If I can find the time I’ll try do some research, mainly short projects, proof of concepts for companies, if it is promising or it gets to big I’ll try to move it to a student or PhD. I try to plan my week in advance, but for some reason that’s not always working out.

That’s pretty much it. All the lego in my office? That’s nothing, half the attic in my house if filled with lego, you have to have a hobby, right?

Contact: Dr. Peter Dijkstra

Last modified:09 December 2022 08.02 a.m.

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