Organisation - January 17, 2013

Many votes for thesis covers

Ecuadorian Daniel Orellana wins.
Supervisor's lobbying decisive for online contest.

Daniel Orellana got 1674 votes for his cover.
The 2012 thesis with the finest cover was Daniel Orellana's. The neck-and-neck race was decided in the Ecuadorian's favour on the last day. Thanks to the social media and energetic lobbying by his supervisor Arnold Bregt (Laboratory for Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing).
For the first time, the public got to vote on the Resource website to decide the winner of the fourth Cover Prize. And 3989 votes were cast! Right from the start it was clear that it would be a duel between Orellana (the walker)   and Syrian Nasim Mansoori (the wall).
Both followed the contest from a distance. Mansoori is working at Berkeley nowadays, while Orellana is doing research on the Galapagos. Soon after the new year, Mansoori went into the lead after an appeal for votes at the new year drinks party at Plant Breeding. When Orellana's supervisor Arnold Bregt heard about that, a counter-offensive was launched immediately. 'We made use of our social networks to do some serious lobbying. It turned into a bit of a game, a kind of Idols. The social media are great for that.'
Orellana's cover got 42 percent (1674) of the vote. Mansoori got stuck at 35 percent. Orellana looks back with satisfaction on the 'funny competition' that brought him a big response. 'Lots of people wanted to know whether I had won: former Wageningen colleagues, classmates from the Netherlands, Spain and Ecuador. Even friends I hadn't spoken to for years.'
Orellana's doctorate was about a technique for tracking people's movement patterns in nature areas using GSM signals. He designed his thesis cover himself, using a photo he took in 2009 in Berlin. 'The photo is of the square in front of the Reichstag when I was queuing up there. The sunset created beautiful reflections on the square.' He feels the cover communicates the idea that human movement is seldom random. 'Patterns emerge of their own accord. The interaction between people and their environment becomes visible as a kind of dance.'