Tuesday, April 26, 2011


My thesis defence went quite well. I think that everyone is quite nervous before such an event, and I was not an exception. Of course I tried to prepare myself by reading the book through once more, but as the April 15th got closer I found that the best thing to be done was not to think about it too much. It also helped that my opponent, Dr. Varjo kindly told me in advance that anything nasty would not be coming up, and pointed out some technical details that I should be aware of.

The actual defence started with my (short) speech and the following two-hour discussion was most of the time quite general. At least I thought that it was quite interesting also for the audience. More than 40 people were present, which was actually one of the largest audiences I've seen in these events. The feedback that I got was mostly positive although there were of course some things that I could have done better. Dr. Varjo had one particularly interesting "academic" question - if the top of the tree is broken so that there are leaves around the stem but not above it, does the stem create a gap in the canopy? Now that I've had time to think of it, I'd say that the stem should be considered as a within-crown gap, i.e. it doesn't belong to the canopy, but as it is inside the "crown envelope", it should still be included in the measured canopy cover.

After the actual ceremony and congratulations, coffee and cake were offered to everyone who had patience to stay there until the end. The post-doctoral party with all the speeches and acknowledgements followed later in the evening, and next day there was another party to friends and relatives. Thanks to everyone that participated!

On Monday, I returned to my office and started to prepare for the final exams that I should pass before getting the diploma. Somehow the exams felt insignificant compared to everything that I had to do during the previous weeks. But now after a short holiday staying focused is hopefully easier...

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