Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Progress in Science

The end is here!

The senior graduate student in our laboratory defended her dissertation this morning. Marilyn presented her thesis about her work to control differentiation and proliferation of endothelial cells and the use of such cells in tissue engineered constructs. It is a tradition in our lab (thanks to Hans Reinecke- shown at right) to make a doktorhut that represents the research and personal interests of the graduate. You can see the work in progress below. There is a better shot of the elaborate mortarboard (with descriptions) at my flickr site.
It's great that scientists can come together and contribute to collaborative art. It also helps that there are some art majors in our lab!

Awarding the PhD is a phenomenon that varies with the individual, department and university. Generally, the candidate slaves on the research, writes a 100+ page dissertation and finally makes a streamlined oral presentation; afterwards there's a luncheon or a party. Maybe the awarding department will have a group function, and PhD students are permitted to 'walk' at commencement, but my impression is that the main celebration is the day of the defense. In this case, Marilyn finished at about the same time as the academic year concluded. Most students defend whenever they finish, which could be at any point of the year!

Congratulations Marilyn!

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