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Friday, May 23, 2008

Scientist Appreciation: Sven Dickinson

The scientist for this week is actually one of my professors, Dr. Sven Dickinson. He taught the Image Understanding course I took this past spring, which is a specific area of machine vision involved in the most unconstrained vision problems (many objects with many different orientations and articulations). The reason I feel he should be should be appreciated is because he is very much the sort of professor I would like to be. He is extremely engaging while at the same time is very approachable without an overbearing aura of intimidation. In his lectures he incorporates a wide range of subject matter to help give an impression of how the field fits into scientific endeavours as a whole, as well as helping students realise that multidisciplinary knowledge, even just superficial knowledge, can provide insights that otherwise would have been missed. In addition to his impressive abilities for delivering lectures, he also gives the strong impression that he genuinely cares about the students in his course, both in terms of their understanding of his course as well as their overall well-being and future goals. He takes time to offer advice on a wide variety of subjects, and fairly adjusts schedules and course work in the light of unforeseen difficulties.

He is an impressive scientist not just in his role as a teacher of science, however. He has a broad view of his field that allows him to see the trends that come and go without getting swept up in the short-sighted the frenzy of adoration that can sometimes captivate large groups of researchers over the newest method or algorithm that shows any promise. It is professors and researchers like Dr. Dickinson who should be sought out and listened to if we are to effectively support and guide future scientific research.