Prof. dr. Pont, S.C.


In 2016 Sylvia Pont was appointed Antoni van Leeuwenhoek professor. She works at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at TU Delft since 2008. In the light and vision labs, which are part of the π-lab (Perceptual Intelligence lab) facilities, her group works on studies in design, perception, optics and rendering of light and its interactions with material, shape and space. She coordinates the Perceptual Intelligence lab, a collaboration between the Vision and Sound Design groups at Industrial Design Engineering and the Multimedia Computing group at Computer Science. Currently running research projects in her group: 2 PhD projects Perceptual qualities of light and of materials as part of the EU International Training Network project PRISM, 1 PhD project 3D fine art reproduction in collaboration with Design Engineering and 3mE; 1 of 2 PhD projects in the NWO NICAS project material rendering in still lifes in collaboration with Utrecht University and 3mE. Starting up: 2 PhD projects as part of Maarten Wijntjes NWO VIDI project paintings under a magnifying glass. Recently finished: PhD project Ling Xia on Perceptual metrics of light fields (defense October 3, 2016). For more information see my personal website.

She coordinates a Master’s elective course Lighting Design and participates in a range of other courses in Industrial Design, amongst others teaching visual perception (and lighting) of products and research methods. In the past she developed and teached courses on psychophysics, colour, and optics.

From September 1999 to 2008 Sylvia worked in the Physics of Man group of the department of Physics and Astronomy of Utrecht University. This program was part of the Helmholtz Institute. Her postdoctoral research into 'ecological optics' included studies into reflectance, texture, and light fields. January 2004 she got an appointment as an assistant professor and started her project entitled 'Ecological Plenoptics of Natural Scenes', for which she was granted a 'VIDI Vernieuwingsimpuls' by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). This project concerned studies into the description of the appearance of natural materials and natural light fields. Furthermore, she participated in the European VISIONTRAIN project with studies into illuminance flow from 3D texture and shape from illuminance flow. In these projects, she succesfully supervised two PhD students and a postdoc. Her PhD project (1993-97) concerned haptic curvature perception and she worked for two years at an institute for visually disabled people (1997-99).


  • PhD: 27-10-1997, Utrecht University, Supervisors: Prof. Dr. J.J. Koenderink and Dr. A.M.L. Kappers, title of thesis: Haptic Curvature Comparison
  • Doctorate: 26-4-1993, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Experimental Physics


  • Associate professor (0.9 fte, permanent position), Delft University of of Technology, Perceptual Intelligence lab, Department of Industrial Design Engineering, commenced 1-6-2013
  • Assistant Professor (0.8 fte, permanent appointment), Delft University of Technology, Perceptual Intelligence lab, Department of Industrial Design Engineering, commenced 1-9-2008
  • Assistant Professor (1 fte, permanent appointment), Utrecht University, Helmholtz Institute, Department of Physics and Astronomy, program Physics of Man, 1-1-2004 to 30-11-2008
  • Post-doctoral researcher (1 fte, 3 fixed-terms), Utrecht University, Helmholtz Institute, Department of Physics and Astronomy, program Physics of Man, 1-9-1999 to 31-12-2003
  • Co-worker Technical Research Centre for the Visually Disabled (1 fte, permanent appointment), Visio, 1-9-1997 to 1-9-1999

Specialisation / field of research

Perception-based lighting design, ecological optics and perception of light and its interactions with materials, shapes, spaces, products (multidisciplinary research combining design, experimental psychology, physics, mathematics, computer vision and graphics)

Lectures and/or coaches students on:

  • Advanced Embodiment Design (lecturing)
  • Lighting Architecture (coordination, lecturing, practical training, coaching, examination)
  • PUUE (lecturing + assignment)
  • Interaction and Electronics (coaching)
  • Research and Design (coaching)
  • Graduation (mentor, chair)
  • PhD (supervision, co-promotor)


Click here for an overview of my publications.

Involved in the research project(s):


Jan Schoonhoven Delft

Hendrik van Leeuwen, Marga Schoemaker, Sylvia Pont 
ISBN: 978 90 9029 246 5

Published in 2015