From 1998-2005 I was member of the Program Planning Committee of the annual European Congress of Radiology in Vienna, the second-largest conference on Radiology in the world (the largest is RSNA in Chicago), with over 22,000 participants and a huge technical exhibit. I was introduced to Peter Baierl, the brilliant general manager of ECR, by prof. Paul van Waes, after I complained that there were hardly any medical image analysis groups presenting at ECR.
We started the 'Golden Mile', a showcase of modern research, and I could invite annually the best 12-14 groups worldwide. It was a fantastic experience, and many of my colleagues (and our group!) benefitted from the opportunity.Photo: part of the Golden Mile, showing the exhibit of University College London (UCL). To the left prof. Dave Hawkes (he received the Peter Mansfield Medal & Prize in 2019).
The opening of the Golden Mile at ECR in 1999. Left prof. Albert Baert (chief editor of European Radiology), prof. Paul van Waes (chairman Radiology Utrecht), myself and prof. Roberto Passariello (president ECR 1999).
As member of the Program Planning Committee of ECR, responsible for the computer vision section, I could invite for the Golden Mile each year 10-14 top groups in medical image analysis. It was always a real pleasure to set up this tutorial and ántenna-like' event for so many radiologists. We had participation from Singapore A*Star (prof. Wieslaw Nowinski, brain atlases), University College London (prof. Dave Hawkes), MEVIS Bremen (prof. Heinz-Otto Peitgen), INRIA (prof. Nicolas Ayache), Caesar (prof. Erwin Keeve), Medical University Vienna (Wolfgang Birkfellner) and many others.
During these years we could join the amazing Viennese-style luxury of this great congress. Peter Baierl was an outstanding and unique designer of the many high-class events each year, as the Presidential dinner, the ECR party, the decoration of the Austria Center.
I was blessed to be accompanied by my wife Hetty, the most beautiful girl in the world. Here on the stairs of the Ana Grand Hotel were we stayed.
We had dinners in extraordinary locations. Can you believe how we enjoyed the viewing of Breughel's 'Tower of Babel' painting in between courses of a dinner served in the huge marble stairway of the famous Kunsthistorisch Mueum, in black tie and evening dress?
The traditional 'ECR Party'on the last eveningwas always great fun!
Later, in Eindhoven, I decided to bring every year my complete research group to ECR (staff, PhD and MSc students) in Vienna, each year around 25 people. The impressive technical exhibit and the many state-of-the-art lectures gave them an eye-opener on the huge business and science world of medical imaging. This became a wonderful annual tradition.
Funding for my students was limited, so we stayed together in a hostel, and I could arrange free access to the ECR. It was fun to guide them around the huge industrial show (my expertise as radiology physicist and my huge network payed off). The trip also included a dinner at the top of the TV tower, and being presenter at our own booth. Everyone was professionallly dressed, and the final famous ECR party was always a fitting celebration of our team spirit.
A prize for my colleague Heinz-Otto Peitgen of MEVIS, Bremen. March 2005.
A prize for my colleague Joachim Kettenbach of Medical Uni Vienna. March 2005.
Another high-society dinner, March 2005.
With prof. Wieslaw Nowinsky, the world's top expert in brain atlases, after handing him the Magna Cum Laude Award at ECR 2000.
On 27 April 2001 I had my farewell reception at the Utrecht University Medical Center, and became full professor in Biomedical Image Analysis at Eindhoven University of Technology.