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To be honest, I’m quite disappointed not to have seen Mr Tumnus!

The last couple of morning I’ve woken up to find fresh snow on the ground. Which has been quite amazing! More amazing is the fact that it’s actually sunny outside. I know it doesn’t look it here, but that’s only because this photo was probably taken at about 8:15 am, so, you know- the sun isn’t actually properly up yet. 
Current sunrise in Potsdam: 8.02 am
Current sunset in Postdam: 3.55 pm
Anyway- today we had the thesis defence of one of the girls in the institute (Ignacia, for those playing at home). [In a side not to organisers back home – this defence thing is SUCH a good idea compared to the crappy trailing off that occurs at the end of a PhD or Masters in Perth].
Pau and JuanK decided to do a massive feast in her honour:
which involved a massive swarm of people in the tea kitchen this morning placing pickles on bread and organising crackers and generally producing this:
I think even my family would have been proud of the volume (not to mention the quality!) of food that came about because of Pau and JuanK!
The defence involves a 30 minute seminar presentation, followed by questions from the panel, followed by further questions from the whole audience (which can include family members).
Afterwards, everyone leaves for a bit while the panel discusses, and then everyone returns and the final result is announced.
And then you are totally Finished.
This is not the best quality photo- but Ignacia looks amazing- and I think this captures how I imagine it must feel to finish a PhD. 
That hat she’s holding is a tradition here- every PhD graduate gets a hat which has photos and objects reflecting their personality and their project and generally the last 3-4 years spent at the institute. It’s very sweet.
You may notice an object dangling off a red string.
It’s a lyophilised (freeze-dried) potato.. or the remnants of one 
I’m beginning to pick up on a theme with these Germans…

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous says

    the defence I went to in Norway included:

    1 hr lecture on a topic selected 1 week earlier by the examining committee; [lunch] 1 hr seminar on the topic of the thesis; 1 hr questioning by examiners, then open questions.

    However, the defence only happens if the candidate has passed the PhD. and more interestingly, the better the thesis, the harder the questions from the examiners have to be – in order for the candidate to show how well they can answer curly questions.

    when all is done, the candidate invites all examiners, family and friends to a banquet, at the best restaurant they can afford, with the best local food, for the examiners to experience local cuisine.

    all in all quite harrowing for examiners as well ac candidate, but as you say, then it's over!


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