Science - December 15, 2011

Prize goes to minimalist apple

Yet again the Resource Cover Prize has gone to a nutrition PhD researcher. In her last week at Wageningen UR, Linda Oude Griep won the prize for the best design among this year's theses.

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'Did I win out of all those theses? Now I'm going completely red.' But surely not as red as the inside cover of her thesis. Oude Griep is thrilled with the prize. Right now she is packing her bags, as her postdoc research at Wageningen UR is coming to an end and she starts at Imperial College, London, on 1 February.
Oude Griep's PhD research was about eating fruit. How is the health impact of the fruit we eat affected by colour, for example, or variety, or the degree of processing? 'So it was difficult to reflect all that in the design of my thesis', says Oude Griep. She ended up opting for a minimalist apple. 'The apple is iconic for the health value of fruit. Everyone knows sayings such as 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away' - or the Dutch equivalent.'

Apple green

The jury liked the red lines that stand for the heartbeat on an ECG. 'You can interpret it like that', laughs Oude Griep, but in fact she chose the colour for the bright contrast with the green. The colours are certainly very striking. 'Of course we wanted a true apple green', says Oude Griep. So she chose what is called a PMS colour. Before using the ink for these colours, the printing press has to be thoroughly cleaned. So the proofs did not have PMS colours. Oude Griep: 'It looked dreadful' - which brought in an element of tension.
A prize like this doesn't fall out of the sky. Designing a thesis is a time-consuming affair, and Oude Griep and her friend, landscape architect Johanna Bouma, put their head together back in April to look for inspiration. Six months later, in September, one intensive day was devoted to dotting the i's and crossing the t's. 'I sometimes felt like a bit of a fusspot when I came back yet again with a load of full stops and commas.' RR

Cover Prize 2011
This was the third time that Resource organized the selection of the best thesis cover of the year. The jury studied a selection of the 200-plus dissertations that were defended at Wageningen University in 2011. The jury, made up of Jenny van Driel (Communications Services), Marjolein Pijnappels (Studio Lakmoes) and Jan Niessen (science information officer) reached the conclusion that the cover of Linda Oude Griep's thesis was the best.
The cover of the thesis, Fruit and vegetables consumption and risk of cardiovascular diseases, shows the unmistakable contours of an apple in bright red against a smooth granny-smith-green background. On opening the book, the contrasting rich red on the inside cover hits you, just as red flesh might do as a surgeon inserts his scalpel. 'Simple and effective', said the jury. Technically, the thesis was excellently produced too. The colours were printed with a continuous tone technique, which increases the fluorescent effect. A stylish cover with some subtle creativity.

Honourable mention for two theses
The cover of Karianne de Bruin's thesis, An economic analysis of adaptation to climate change under uncertainty, shows a fragment of the earth with a busy Dutch landscape featuring a city, a river and a few clouds drifting by overhead. The scene hangs in a crystal ball. The neat and professionally done illustration is a nod in the direction of the title and may have been inspired by Avatar, or by the 1970s LP Yessongs. 

PhD student Stefan Kühnel immortalized his name in style on a filling station in the middle of sugar beet fields. The collage refers to the main theme of his thesis:
Characterization of cell wall degrading enzymes from Chrysosporium lucknowense C1 and their use to degrade sugar beet pulp. It suggests the future practical uses of Kühnel's research in a light-hearted yet serious way.

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