Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Finnish Defense

I was bouncing around the blogosphere when I stumbled upon this description of a thesis defense in Finland:
As well as the student and the opponent, there is a kustos, who sits in the middle making sure everything runs smoothly, and pouring the water. All three are dressed in top and tails, or something as fancy. When they enter, everyone stands and the kustos announces the beginning of the thesis. The student starts by giving a short talk about the main themes of the thesis, after which they invite the opponent to pass their critical opinion of the thesis. The opponent then stands and give a short summary of the background to the thesis, and where it sits in the wider scheme of things. Whilst he does that, the student has to stand to. Then the real defence starts...
A lot of it sounds similar to the process here: we have a chair to guide proceedings and examiners (opponents?), and the whole thing is open to an audience. But tuxedos? A formal dinner and dance - with speeches? And check out the sweet hat for the kustos. Then there's possibly the best part:
The public's job is to sit quietly, and judge the quality of the defence - afterwards they decide if the opponent passes or not.
Maybe we can turn it into some sort of reality show? Survivor: Thesis defense.