I survived!

Dear readers, I survived Friday's dissertation defence and am now a Doctor of Philosophy (that is the only time that you will see me use that title). What this means is that I now have my academic drivers licence (to quote dear colleagues). 

The defence was quite an experience. It is indeed hard to come up with proper answers to critical (and really hard) questions on the fly with 70 people watching the ritual. It was sort of fun, but I can actually tell you I was kind of overwhelmed by the pressure that I felt during the last week before the defence. 

So the procedure itself lasted for a couple of hours: First I had 30 minutes to present my work. Then the faculty opponent, Erik Hollnagel, had one hour to make my life hard with tricky questions connected to the thesis. And he did. Really good (but hard) questions with openings for many kinds of answers and follow-up questions. After that hour the word was given to the three members of the decision committee (who are invited to make the decision whether to pass the student or not based on their readings of the dissertation and the discussion between opponent and respondent) who got to ask a couple of questions each. Finally the word was given to the audience and there were some questions coming from there as well. 

After this defence procedure the decision committee gathered together with opponent and supervisors in order to make their decision. It took them like 20-30 minutes before they came out and announced their decision which was a positive one. After the decision was announced the department had prepared a lunch for all attending the dissertation defence. A really nice tradition that we have. 

No time for relaxing! The learning laboratory with Sidney Dekker as a guest lecturer has begun today. Such an amazing group present here!
Me saying something really interesting during my 30 minutes presentation.

This is a picture of the faculty opponent, Erik Hollnagel, asking me critical and really tricky questions. 

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