PhD Student on the subject of CT imaging for Technical Art History: Algorithms and Techniques

Many objects in cultural heritage collections have a rich 3D internal structure. While the visible outer surface has been crafted with a focus on aesthetics, many of the secrets about the process of crafting the object are hidden beneath the surface, invisible to the naked eye. X-Ray CT is a powerful tool for creating detailed 3D images of the interior of such objects. However, its application to the study of cultural heritage collections is not straightforward, as the objects cover many length scales and have widely varying compositions.

Job description

Many objects in cultural heritage collections have a rich 3D internal structure. While the visible outer surface has been crafted with a focus on aesthetics, many of the secrets about the process of crafting the object are hidden beneath the surface, invisible to the naked eye. X-Ray CT is a powerful tool for creating detailed 3D images of the interior of such objects. However, its application to the study of cultural heritage collections is not straightforward, as the objects cover many length scales and have widely varying compositions.

The goal of this PhD project is to further develop X-ray CT into a broadly usable tool for technical art history and conservation diagnostics, and make these capabilities available at the Ateliergebouw of Rijksmuseum for use on a daily basis. To this end, acquisition schemes and computational reconstruction techniques will be developed that are specifically tailored for the multi-scale, multi-material objects encountered in cultural heritage collections. Working in close collaboration with (technical) art history scholars and conservators of the Rijksmuseum, the new techniques will be applied to a selected set of high impact collection objects, answering technical questions for materials as diverse as ceramics, metal, wooden and ivory objects.

The PhD candidate will carry out computational imaging research, focused on applying state-of-the-art algorithms in CT as well as machine learning, and constructing novel variants of these methods that are tailored towards imaging in cultural heritage. An important part of the project is the application of the techniques, which involves experimental imaging work (using X-ray CT scanning) at the Ateliergebouw of Rijksmuseum and also in the FleX-ray imaging at CWI. As such, the PhD candidate needs to carry out experimental work, such as designing and building appropriate test objects.                                           

The research of this PhD position will primarily be performed within the Computational Imaging group at CWI, the national research center for Mathematics and Computer Science in The Netherlands (see below). The PhD student will be also be working part of his/her time at the Rijksmuseum, in close collaboration with (technical) art historians and conservators and conservation scientists. The PhD student will be supervised by Prof. Joost Batenburg (CWI) and Prof. Erma Hermens (University of Amsterdam and Rijksmuseum).

This PhD position is part of the IMPACT4Art project funded by the Dutch Science Foundation NWO, which is carried out under the umbrella of NICAS, the Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science.

Keywords

CT imaging, Computational Imaging, Image Reconstruction, Technical Art History

Requirements

The candidate must have a strong background in scientific computing and hold a MSc degree in Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering or a similar direction. Good programming skills are essential. Experience with tomographic reconstruction, image processing, and volumetric reconstruction is desirable. A background in art history is not essential, but a broad interest in the topic is called for. Preferable qualifications for candidates include proven research talent, an excellent command of English, and good academic writing and presentation skills.

Terms and conditions PhD Student

The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres ("CAO-onderzoeksinstellingen"). The initial labour agreement will be for a period of 18 months. After a positive evaluation, the agreement will extended by 30 months. The gross monthly salary, for a PhD student on a full time basis, is €2,291 during the first year and increases to €2,937 over the four year period.

Employees are also entitled to a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.33%. CWI offers attractive working conditions, including flexible scheduling and help with housing for expat employees.

 

Please visit our website for more information about our terms of employment:

www.cwi.nl/terms-of-employment

Application

Please note that there is no fixed deadline for submitting your application. We will evaluate the applications on a running basis. We therefore advise you to submit your application as soon as possible. We expect that you start no later than July 1st 2018, although we are open to explore later dates as well.

Applications can be sent to apply@cwi.nl. All applications should include a detailed resume, motivation letter, list of your MSc courses and grades, copy of your Master’s thesis, a list of publications and at least two references that we can contact as part of the application process.

For residents outside the EER-area, a Toefl English language test might be required.

For more information about the vacancy, please contact Prof. Joost Batenburg, email joost.batenburg@cwi.nl, telephone +31 (0)20-592 4073.

For more information about CWI, please visit www.cwi.nl or watch our video “A Fundamental Difference” about working at CWI.

About Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) is the Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science and is part of the Institutes Organisation of NWO. The mission of CWI is to conduct pioneering research in mathematics and computer science, generating new knowledge in these fields and conveying it to trade, industry, and society at large.

CWI is an internationally oriented institute, with 160 scientists from approximately 27 countries. The facilities are first-rate and include excellent IT support, career planning, training, and courses.

CWI is located at Science Park Amsterdam that is presently developing into a major location of research in the natural sciences in The Netherlands, housing the sciences of the University of Amsterdam and of the Vrije Universiteit as well as several other national research institutes next to CWI.

Research group

The Computational Imaging Group is headed by Joost Batenburg and currently has 16 members. It is specialized in the development of advanced computational techniques for the full 3D imaging pipeline, involving adaptive image acquisition, image reconstruction, and analysis/visualization of the resulting 3D datasets. The group follows an interdisciplinary approach and has expertise in Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science.

See https://www.cwi.nl/research/groups/computational-imaging

The Rijksmuseum houses six conservation studios and scientific lab facilities in the Ateliergebouw in Amsterdam. Technical Art History Research is headed by Erma Hermens and she and colleagues work in an interdisciplinary team composed of scientists, conservators and curators, both in the Rijksmuseum and Amsterdam University, and from various national and international universities and cultural heritage partners. Their research focus is on the investigation of the material and structural make-up of artefacts to understand their present condition, their historical production methods and materials,  as well as the contexts they originated in.