1 November 2018

Former PhD student Wim Ridderinkhof

Try something new

Dear IMAU and friends,

my name is Wim Ridderinkhof and I worked at IMAU in the period between 2009 and 2016. It was my search for more tangible physical processes that made me decide to start with the masters program in Physical Oceanography, Meteorology and Climate (now called Climate Physics) after finishing my Bachelors in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Amsterdam in 2009. A decision that I am enjoying ever since. It was great to study the physics of the climate in a relatively small, enthusiastic and high-level environment.

After finishing my masters, Huib de Swart gave me the opportunity to start a PhD track. The research topic was morphodynamics of ebb-tidal deltas. Or, using a more general description that in general causes less confusion: sediment transport due to waves and tides. Doing a PhD was a nice experience. It is exciting to work on the forefront of our knowledge on a topic that is relevant all over the world. I enjoyed the balance between working hard in the office and presenting my work on conferences and in journal articles. But most of all I enjoyed working at IMAU. In my days at IMAU, there was a large international group of PhDs, which not only made the work but also the coffee- and lunch breaks interesting. The yearly BBOS days clearly helped in creating a good atmosphere.

After finishing my PhD thesis by the end of 2015, I knew it was time to try something different from science. I wanted to work on even more applied questions, with shorter time frames and bigger teams. At the same time, I was curious how I would perform in a more commercial environment. Nevertheless, I stayed at IMAU for a few more months to teach the course Introduction to Physical Oceanography between finishing my thesis and my actual defence.

Then it was time to move on. I decided to look for a position where I could apply the knowledge that I gained during my PhD and was very happy to find a job as a ‘project engineer’ at Witteveen+Bos. Witteveen+Bos is a consultancy-engineering firm with approximately 1100 employees, most of which are based in the Netherlands. I started working in a group called Hydrodynamics and Morphology (H&M); our activities include hydrodynamic modelling of rivers and coastal areas, wave modelling, sedimentation/erosion studies and morphological analysis of the sea floor. An exciting new topic for me is the modelling of flow through structures (e.g. the levelling system of locks). Most often our results are used by our colleagues for the so-called Basis of Design for coastal structures as breakwaters, harbours, dikes, locks etc. A few months ago, my former group leader became director of our Dubai office. This gave me the challenging opportunity to become the new group leader of H&M. At the moment I am getting more and more used to my new responsibilities and freedom and meanwhile enjoying my work. If anyone is interested in learning more about the work I do, has ideas about exciting new projects, or just enjoys the idea of catching up over a coffee, just send me an Email!

Looking forward to actually speaking to you again,

Wim Ridderinkhof