This week I had the honor to attend the defence of Mathias Frisch, student of Raimund Dachselt at the Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg (now moving to the new lab in Dresden). I was very happy to review such excellent work, (in a committee that includes Prof. Reiterer, from Konstanz) but also to take part in the traditions of doctoral graduation. I think that it is very valuable that a doctoral graduation is approached as a festivity, and loaded with symbols of what it means to be a scholar. These include the new doctor having to wear a very heavy chain (that represents the loads awaiting in his future career),
wearing a hat representing the knowledge of the candidate (physically and literally),
being taken on a pageant through the city, escorted by a troupe of people in medieval outfits (I guess to let the town folk know that there is a new doctor around),
having to drink an “unusual” concoction (in this case tomato juice + coffee + salt and pepper),
as well as later on having to go through the “real exam”, in which the supervisor has to show knowledge and commitment for the candidate in multiple odd ways.
In any case, it was a wonderful day for me, full of good HCI, fun and food. Congratulations Mathias!!