Vacation with a purpose

Do you already have any plans for summer vacation? This time, I’ve prepared a list of citizen science activities that will inspire you to make the most of your time while you are hiking, climbing, or diving.

In mountains

Biosphere Expeditions 

I’m trying to find more information about citizen science projects in Russia, and recently I’ve come across this platform – Biosphere Expeditions: mountain protection worldwide through citizen science and volunteering. They run projects all over the world, many in mountain environments such as the Altai Mountains, where I’m going to the Altai in a couple of weeks, Tien Shan, Carpathians, Cape Fold Mountains, Dhofar Mountains and the Pyrenees. I have already a trekking route, a list of outdoor and cultural activities. Still, all this wasn’t enough for me and I contacted local scientists who engage tourists into citizen science projects carried out in the Altai region. Hopefully, during my vacation, I will not only explore a beautiful area in the South-Western Siberia but also help local activists and researchers with data collection and contribute to mountain protection through citizen science.

Fingerprints of Change: Abisko plants and phenology

I highly recommend the project if you are staying in Sweden for this summer and going to the Abisko and the Swedish mountains. The project has been carried out by The Climate Impacts Research Centre, Umeå University, in partnership with  The naturum Abisko, STF Abisko Mountain Station, Abisko Scientific Research Station, and Naturens kalender (The Swedish National Phenology Network). The project aims at collecting species distributions and studying cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life for the region in and around Abisko National Park.

The creators of the project picked 40 species of plants that most amateur botanists familiar with the flora of the Swedish mountains can identify. As a participant of the project, you don’t need to have skills of defining and naming groups of biological organisms. All you need is to take pictures with your smartphone. If you want to learn more about the plant and animal life in the area, you can participate in education programs or take botanical tours at The naturum Abisko, observe the indicators of climate and environmental change together with scientists and gather data for fundamental research.

In water

Earthdive 

Earthdive is a global citizen science project that calls on recreational scuba divers and snorkelers to monitor the ocean for key indicator species. Divers and snorkelers are encouraged to record what they see straight after the dive or snorkel trip, and it doesn’t matter if you just saw one dolphin. Still, it’s important.

Observations of the participants are recorded in a special database known as the Global Dive Log and are accessible through a Google mapping interface. Over time, observations are aggregated to create a Global Snapshot of the state of the world’s oceans. In addition to being an international research project, Earthdive is also a network for divers, dive centres and marine conservation organisations around the world. Being a contributor to the project, you can help preserve the health and diversity of our oceans. The platform has been developed in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and marine biologists from all over the world.

Tauchen für Naturschutz [Diving for Nature protection]

It’s a German project initiated by NABU (Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union) for those who are passionate about diving in lakes. Scuba divers are enabled by the project to independently assess and report on the state of the underwater vegetation of lakes during the dive. The project aims to map underwater plants in the lakes of the North German lowland and monitor the lakes that are in danger. The data obtained provide information about how the state of the lakes is changing. The project works on the principle of ”learning by doing”: the conservationists taught aquatic plants to recreational divers and scuba divers offered diving to conservationists. After the dive, they were discussed together, evaluated and documented. The project has been a success, and now there is even a special course ”Diving for Nature protection”.

 

More links:

Blue Mountain Citizen Science monitoring program – a project that aims to record and collect data about changes to the environment in the Blue Mountains region, Australia.

Phenoclim – a scientific and educational programme that invites the public to measure the impact of climate change on mountain fauna and flora. Works in 6 mountains, including French.

Plankton Portal – in this project, you’ll be marking images of plankton—tiny oceanic organisms—taken by an underwater imaging system.

Seagrass-Watch – Seagrass-Watch is a global scientific, non-destructive, seagrass assessment and monitoring program.

Wildfires: what can YOU do? Citizen science spotlight

Last week, a warning of a heightened risk from wildfire spreading in Sweden was issued. The alert made me think about public involvement in wildfire management and the benefits of technology. Citizens with the help of technology can either inform the authorities about fire events or nominate assets in their local environment that are important to them and are not well prepared for a fire. Also, individuals can also help monitor changes in a forest area that was once affected by a fire. Here are several examples of what people can do before a fire starts, during and after a forest fire event. 

Identify assets 

First, people should be involved in fire risk assessment consultation processes. I’d like to mention an interesting case from South Australia that experiences bushfires every fire season. The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources on behalf of the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) encourages people to share what they think are the most important environmental assets in their local environment. It can be a plant or animal species, a vineyard or farm ruins, even an important tree. The nominated objects will be assessed to determine the risk that bushfire may pose to the asset. Then the CFS, through Bushfire Management Planning, where possible, will identify preventative action(s) for the environmental asset protection. Here is a screenshot of the map created by Kangaroo Island Bushfire Management Committee

Report fires

Second, individuals can report fires and map them. My next example case refers to detailed description and localization of forest fires. The information portal Waldbrand-Datenbank Österreich [Forest fire database Austria] has been active since 2008 and allows those interested to use an interactive map to query forest fire events in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland and create statistics or graphics. In addition, it is also possible to report forest fire events. Metadata on the cause of the fire, location, area size, affected tree species, involved fire brigades and others are recorded continuously in a database. The Location is interactive on the web GIS map, additional information such as cause, duration and fire area can be entered and photos/videos are uploaded to the fire incident.

Monitor changes

Photo by @BLetize (Twitter)

Finally, people can observe and report the environmental changes caused by fires. The projects of Nerds for Nature, which are not active anymore, unfortunately, according to the website, turned visitors of the city and national parks in the USA into a remote sensor network. For example, in one project the volunteers were trying to monitor habitat change after the Rim Fire had burned more than 400 square miles in and around Yosemite National Park in 2013. The burnt landscape can appear alarming and vegetation can be severely damaged, and, of course, one can ask, “How quickly will the affected area recover? What species were affected?” etc. That’s what was the project about. The recovery of the area in the aftermath of wildfires was documented in pictures taken by individuals from fixed locations. Those walking or hiking through fire impacted area could stop and take a picture and upload it to social media so others could observe the re-growth patterns and learn about the organic regeneration.

I give only three examples of what individuals can do before, during and after a forest fire event. There are more interesting cases, and I would also like to learn more about similar initiatives in Sweden and around the globe. Please let me know if you are aware of any.

About the importance of giving feedback in citizen science

Once, I decided to participate in an online citizen science project. I was surfing the Web and noticed that joining some Internet-based projects requires registration and some not. Well, I picked Tomnod, the one where I didn’t have to sign in, and started identifying satellite images with crabeater seals on them. The instructions were very simple: – ‘Yes’ for I see seals, and ‘No’ for I don’t. Time went by and after the analysis of about 20 images I got curious, “What will happen with my answers?” “Are my answers correct?”, “Have I analyzed more images than anyone else?”, “Will I get feedback on my work?”, “Will I be informed about a new project?” Interestingly, I got even curious about the life of the seals from the images, ”How old are they?”, ”Have they had enough food today?”

And here is the problem – some citizen science project platform don’t give feedback to the users. For example, I even didn’t get ”Thank you for your work for Tomnod”, so I didn’t feel good about the platform in general. I shared my thoughts with Keith Larson, my supervisor at Umea University and the leader of the group that works on technology implementation for citizen science within the ARCS project. We agreed that the absence of feedback in a citizen science project doesn’t sound right. When you are talking about engaging and collecting data without login it resembles the business marketing model – brand-customer relations. In this model, citizen scientist is a shopper or a consumer, if you’d prefer, and the citizen science project is a company. If the customer is committed to your brand, to your company, he or she comes back once and again until the project ends. Do we really want to create a structure where citizen science uses all these marketing tools? Some citizen science platforms are great but they undergo a big risk –  without some fundamental feedback that helps people learn about why and what they are doing, the platforms will lose their audience. Moreover, people will probably lose interest in the future in terms of participating not only in a specific project but in citizen science in general. Yes, it might be difficult to provide the individual feedback to each of the participants of a project, especially when there are thousands of volunteers collecting data but is there a solution to optimize the process of giving feedback?

I think computers can help a lot the scientists to improve two-way communication with individuals motivated for participation in citizen science projects. Some computer-based processes can retain volunteers in citizen science initiatives. I was looking for the solutions in the literature database of the ARCS project that I’m a member of, and I found a very good case. Van der Wal et al (2016) give an example of how computing science frameworks allowed for the automated generation of informative feedback to citizen scientists and fostered learning and volunteer engagement and laid the foundation for effective and long-lived citizen science projects. The participants of the BeeWatch program got not only “Thank you” for the submission of photos of bumblebees, but also feedback on whether the identification of a specimen was correct, reasons for misidentification and highlighting key features that can facilitate correct identification in the future. When you participate in such a program, you realise that you both help to collect data and learn more about different species, share gained knowledge with friends and just have fun.

Reference:

Van der Wal, R., Sharma, N., Mellish, C., Robinson, A., & Siddharthan, A. (2016). The role of automated feedback in training and retaining biological recorders for citizen science. Conservation Biology, 30(3), 550–561.doi:10.1111/cobi.12705

Are you engaged in people-powered research?

Sometimes we don’t realize that we are citizen scientists until someone tells us that we actually are. I was about 12-14 years old when I stepped into the world of people-powered research – I was observing bees on a regular basis.

I used to spend my school summer vacations with my grandparents in the countryside. My grandfather used to have many beehives, seven or nine. They were placed in a small area surrounding our country house and terrifying all the neighbours. I was also scared of those small creatures living in the colourful constructions – their bite could easily spoil my day. However, I found bees very cute, fluffy and hard-working. Moreover, there was something almost hypnotising in watching their daily routine – how they were departing from the hives, carrying pollen on their tiny legs or landing on the hives’ stands. I was also lucky because I had an opportunity to assist my grandfather in his small bee-garden – to open the hive covers or take out frames with honey. Every day, every year, except winter time when bees went into hibernation, we were observing the bees, their activity, their behaviour. Everything was noted, thoroughly described, measured, and even reported to the local union of beekeepers and some other institutions. Probably, the union analysed all the data and sent the summary to the national union of beekeepers but I don’t remember the details now. I just loved watching the bees and having them in my life. It was a very unique and very personal experience that I cherished because it made me be closer to nature and helped later to better understand the scientific process.

I assisted my grandfather because of the curiosity and desire to be involved in something mysterious, as I thought, and I understand now that the observations we did in our small bee-garden actually contributed to something bigger, helped to better understand the lovely yellow-black creatures and map the areas where one could find a certain type of honey. Thanks to my current research project on citizen science at Umea University, I see that the benefits of bee watchers to conservation and science as well as to participants themselves are increasingly recognized and valued. Citizen science programs mobilise people to contribute to scientific research. Scientific data gathered by communities gives concerned people, decision-makers or scientists access to more information than what they can gather on their own. Also, citizen scientists themselves can gain knowledge on insects and their population distributions, seasonal cycles. And that’s true – time has passed but I remember very well some facts about bees and flowers pollen that affect the taste of honey.

Looking back, I wish I had had more opportunities for science engagement, and citizen science particularly, as a kid. Knowing how many citizen science related web-platforms and mobile apps are available now, I’m truly happy for children, their parents, teachers and researchers. Thanks to the development of technology, we can learn so much about the world around us in a never-ending mode.  

So, look up for a citizen science app and go outside – watch bees, beetles, ants, birds, whatever. Explore the world around you! Have a look at some citizen science platforms and projects:

Sweden:

  • Bikalender – a citizen science project for beekeepers in Sweden
  • ArtPortalen – a website for observations of Sweden’s plants, animals and fungi
  • Naturens kalender – the Swedish National Phenology Network, a collaboration between universities, governmental agencies, and volunteers

International:

  • SciStarter – a citizen science project directory and knowledge hub
  • Zooniverse – a citizen science web portal
  • iNaturalist – a citizen science project and online social network of naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists
  • eBird – an online database of bird observations

 

The midsummer rod issue

Happy Easter everyone! Easter is not particularly celebrated in Korea even though about 18 % of the population is Catholics and 45 % are Protestants. In other words, no Easter celebrations for me this year. No Easter eggs, Easter buffet or family time. I will think of you lucky people at home this weekend!

Easter marks about halfway of my stay here in South Korea. I realized today as I was walking to work that I am starting to feel at home here in Korea and at Hanyang University. I am wondering what the coming 3 months have to bring? A few things that I am planning is to experience the south of Korea by traveling to Busan and Jeju Island. I will also go hiking in Seoraksan Naional Park and arrange traditional Swedish midsummer celebrations for my colleagues. I am thinking about alternatives to the midsummer rod so we can dance and sing “små grodorna”.

The midsummer rod is a very important issue to solve. However, I may have some time for my PhD project as well. I am looking forward to learn more about the Korean building design and energy efficiency. I am also hoping to understand the work and the assessment tools used at the Sustainable Building Research Center a bit better. And of course I will work hard on my Fika legacy here at the office.

If you ever get the chance to visit a foreign university for a couple of months, take it! You will not get disappointed, I promise. If you are interested in South Korea and maybe even Hanyang Univeristy, go for it. Here are some issues that Korea is facing where there is a need of competence and technology development;

  • Over consumption of plastic. Trash is piling up on the streets and recycling businesses are losing their money. As a response to this, the Korean Ministry of Environment have decided to increase domestic recycling rate from 34 per cent to 70 per cent by 2030.
  • High energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. The buildings have poor insulation and are heated by fuels with high climate impact.
  • Renewable energy sources in an urban environment.
  • The work-related stress is hard to not see. In addition the car is the Koreans best friend. Combined with a diet high on carbohydrates can become lethal in the future.

Maybe this can give you some ideas for your PhD project or your master thesis.

If you have any questions about being a visiting scholar at a foreign university, do not hesitate to contact me. I will try to answer your questions to best of my ability.

With that I would like to thank you for reading my blog posts over the last two weeks. I would also like to wish you happy Easter and a nice holiday!

Regards Helena Nydahl

The future is female

Spring is arriving in South Korean and Ansan, the cherry flowers are in full bloom. Spring is telling us that new and brighter times are coming. A prosperous future awaits where all flowers get the opportunity to flourish. I am looking forward to it. I am also looking forward to a prosperous scientific community with diversity and inclusion.

I have a t-shirt that I use on selected occasions, it says “the future is female” in big bold letters. For me it means a future where men and women have the same opportunities and gender norms do not exist. I will dedicate this blog post today to women in research.

I am somewhat living in the female future already. My grandmother always tell me about her dreams to study when she was young and how her parents did not support it. She never got the opportunities that I have gotten, studying to get a PhD and visit a foreign university for six months. There is still however work to be done to reach an equal research community.

At my department, the department of Applied Physics and Electronics at Umeå Uiversity, females are and has always been a minority. In the undergraduate educations the mix between women and men are quite well balanced. For the PhD education it might be a bit higher representation of men, but still women are quite well represented. There is however no female professor and there has never been.

I can see this phenomenon at the office here at Hanyang Univeristy as well. The picture show me and my colleagues. You probably see my point. However, I am not here to pointing fingers, there are probably many possible explanations for this. But what efforts are being made to change this?

Role models are an important source of motivation and self-confidence – when people who are similar to ourselves do something incredible, we realize that we can do the same. A good idea would be a platform where female researchers are given the opportunity to be role models for undergraduate students and PhD students. A platform only dedicated to this matter.

This platform does not exist as far as I know, so I will help create a small platform here with some names of female researchers that I have had the opportunity to meet and that are role models for me. Anna Linusson, Britt Andersson, Johanna Björklund, Erika Sörensson and Maria Bengtsson. I can also recommend women.doing.science on Instagram. Please add your female role models within research in the comments below.

I feel like I have to write a disclaimer saying that I am extremely proud of my male coworkers and have a few role models among them as well. However, I am not writing about them today.

Groundbreaking old solutions for energy efficient buildings

Why am I choosing to spend six months at the Sustainable Building Research Center in South Korea? It all started with my supervisor Thomas Olofsson. A couple of weeks into my PhD studies he told me about an exchange that he had done during his PhD project. My immediate response was “I also want to do that, when can I go?”. He was very encouraging but told me that it could be a good idea to wait and do the exchange about half way through my PhD project, “then you will have a bit more experience and be able to work more independently”, he said. A week before I left Sweden for Korea I held my midterm seminar.

Being in Korea now, I believe that my supervisor was right. Most PhD students would probably agree that every day as a PhD student is a challenge, an extremely fun and developing challenge, but still a challenge. Working at an office where they speak a language that I do not understand and their English is limited, it is good that I kind of know what I am doing or at least have an idea of where I am heading in my PhD project.

Anyway, I consciously started taking note of the affiliation of the authors of the scientific literature I was reading. Most researchers worked in Scandinavia, but I will be honest and say that I wanted to travel a bit further than that. I contacted a few researcher, among them Professor Sungho Tae at Hanyang University, and he invited me to come and work in Korea for six months. I thought that the Sustainable Building Research Center at Hanyang Univeristy was a great fit for me for several reasons. Both Sweden and Korea are in need of buildings that can handle temperatures well below and well above zero degrees Celsius. Buildings are in need of heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. This is a challenge from an energy and design perspective. However, it is quite clear that we solve these challenges in different ways, which is interesting to study.

One example of this was a couple of weeks ago when Professor Sungho Tae invited me to join him to a meeting with Dr. Chae Chang-U at the Korean Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT). KICT has their offices in a Zero Carbon Green Home prototype building and of course, I got a guided tour through the building. Some energy solutions that were proudly displayed in the building was insulation, heat recovery ventilation and three glass windows. Solutions that are standard in Sweden to reach building regulations. Of course Professor Tae and Dr. Chang-U where well aware of this, nevertheless, buildings does normally not include these energy solutions in Korea. This experience made me a bit proud of the Swedish building energy performance. But we cannot relax and feel like we have it all under control because Korea is developing quickly and there are a lot of money going into the development of green building certification systems.

This exchange also gives me an opportunity that I do not have at Umeå University, a research center completely dedicated to building life cycle assessment. Which is a great opportunity since my PhD project focus on environmental performance measures to assess sustainable construction from a life cycle perspective. The language has been a bit of a barrier for knowledge exchange but I still have some months left here so hopefully it will work out. I really enjoy the experience, however, and there are so much more than just the office and research experience that I will bring with me from this exchange.

Chopsticks, kimchi and noodles

 

South Korea, the land of kimchi. You will get it served at every restaurant together with a spicy noodle soup. Everything is spicy, which takes a bit getting used to for a Swede that usually season the food with only salt and pepper. However, there are some non-spicy, very delicious foods that I have tried during my stay here, gimbap (Korean sushi roll), mandu (dumplings), Korean pancake and Korean BBQ to mention a few.

I have stayed in Korea for about 2 months now. I am a visiting scholar at the Sustainable Building Research Center at Hanyang University ERICA Campus in Ansan. I am working on my PhD project focusing on Sustainable Construction from a Life Cycle Perspective.

How would I explain Ansan? According to Wikipedia Ansan has a population of about 700 000, a little bit bigger than Gothenburg. However, you do not really get the feeling of a big city, because the city is quite spread out with several small city centers. If you ever visit, I would recommend getting of the tram at Ansan station, wander around these multicultural streets, and visit the market. You will find food from all over the world, fresh bread and vegetables to a fair prize.

Working at a Korean office is a bit different from a Swedish office. Coffee brakes, which is holy in Sweden, does not exist. I am doing my best to introduce at least morning fika, or pika as the Koreans pronounce it. Yesterday we had Västerbotten cheese and dried reindeer together with crackers and apple jam for morning fika. My colleagues really enjoyed it and we actually sat down together for 20 minutes chatting. We do not even sit chatting during lunch, it is more focus on eating and when the last person puts the last bit of food into their mouth everyone gets up to leave.

In general, it is a stressful environment working at a Korean office with high requirements on performance and availability. I have pondered over the Swedish fika culture and our one-hour lunch sit-downs where we discuss personal and work related topics, and compared it to my Korean office experience. Of course, I will not understand the Korean office culture perfectly in just 2 months and I do not speak their language, which is an obstacle for chatting. But I really miss the Swedish fika/chatting breaks. A selection of non-scientific sources says that a fika break makes us more efficient, innovative and happy and I can recognize this. I will continue my mission to leave a legacy of fika breaks when I leave the Sustainable Building Research Center office in July.

TeaTime4science

Tomorrow will be an exiting day in our global decomposition (plant decay) study. After four years of burying tea bags (25 000 bags to be exact) and collecting data (from 2500 locations), our collaborators in Zurich have been putting things together and will show us the first global decomposition maps! The tea bag virus broke out about ten years ago, when I was having a coffee break with my colleagues (well, actually I was having a tea break; Who needs coffee?). All day long, I had been filling so-called ’litter bags’ with plant material (reed). Before that, I had spend hours sowing these bags. So I needed a break.

Litter bags are bags made of plastic with little holes in it. In this way, only the plant material inside the bag will decompose whereas the bags remain a constant weight. So after making, filling and weighing such bags, one has to place them in the field and weight. Micro-organisms and everything else that fits trough the mesh of the bags will than start eating the plant material, and the bag will loose weight. By taking out bags at different time intervals (three or more) one can graph the weight loss over time and calculate decomposition rates. However, depending on the number of treatments, replicates and time intervals, one can end up with scary numbers of bags to prepare.

So did I, and therefore, I complained a lot during this coffee break. Staring at the tea bags in our cups we contemplating about al the sacrifices we made for science. The teabag was one of those fancy triangle ones that were new and fashionable in 2010’s. Suddenly I noticed that the fabric was equivalent to the bags that I had been struggling with in the lab. Plastic, with little holes. Not to let things in, but to let the flavor out. I showed it to my colleague and his replied that I was drinking a litter bag, as tea is also plant material. Instead of complaining, we started joking, and with a refreshed mind I filled my remaining litter bags.

Time went by and the thought of tea bags as equivalents of those laborious litter bags grew. So on a sunny day I was convinced that burying teabags was a better contribution to science than the manuscript I was working on so I shut down my computer, and went go out, into the sun, into the fresh green grass and got my hands dirty. On that memorial day the first triangle tea bags were buried,  and the Tea Bag Index project was born. It would take another three year and a course project to develop the method further, and another four years concur the world. Last February researcher from everywhere gathered in Umeå, and tomorrow, we will take an important step towards publishing the results.

How does it work? It’s simple. We bury green tea and rooibos and measure the weight loss of the tea bags after three months. With the weight loss of rooibos we calculate a proxy for initial decomposition rates, whereas green tea tells us how much material will not be decomposed but stabilizes. With this information, we will create a global map of decomposition that can for instance be used as a reference for future decomposition studies or as input for climate models. You can read more about it on our website. During the past years, many people started their own projects, and they tell about their work in a short video made by Umeå University. Our work continues, aiming not only on data collection but also in providing a platform where people get connected and can share ideas, methodological insights and data. There are always opportunities for more research, and you are all welcome to join!

Bright new days

August 2012, One of those good old days, at least a very sunny one. I am walking together with some newly started PhD candidates and some master students through the nature area ‘Westbroek’ in the Netherlands. They have saved my day by counting seedlings in an experiment that sounded so simple in the beginning, but that turned out rather laborious. In return I will give them a crash course plant species identification. A clear win-win situation. Of course we head to nature area that I know so well. The place where I myself made my first vegetation surveys, where I fished thousands of seeds out of the water, spend weeks counting reed stalks in pouring rain and measured wind, water and soil quality trying to understand how plants colonize pond shorelines. I am sort of walking into the good old days of my PhD thesis there. On this sunny bright new day, we have a very nice time looking at plant leaf points, flowers and random fliebertjes (an brilliant Dutch word, don’t ask me to translate this). On our way out, we meet a photographer, who takes a rather spontaneous picture of us.

Years later, I visit Westbroek as I have to bury some tea bags for an experiment there (see www.teatime4science.org). At the entrance I find an information board with a picture of some hikers. On closer inspection these hikers appear to be us, on our plant identification excursion. I think back on those good old days. Things have changed, one PhD turned doctor, the students turned PhD candidates, and one of them got together with one of the PhD’s of our excursion. Despite the pouring rain I notice bright new days…

March 2019. Today I am opponent in a Dutch defense ceremony. On this bright new day, I remember those good old days of my own defense in the same building. Now I will sit at the other side of the table, together with the evaluation committee. My PhD supervisor which again is part of the evaluation committee, has been upgraded to professor. This means that she has to wear an official toga and beret. In the toilet it still says “Tork” on the paper tissues, but I now know this means more than a brand name. The PhD that we have to question about his thesis is one of the people of the excursion, but the information board in Westbroek is replaced by something new.

A Dutch defense is a very official and big party, with official dress codes, formal speeches and ways of addressing, pictures of medieval scientists on the wall and a whole audience of family, friends and colleagues watching the scientific discussion. This highlight can only be reached after years of hard work, and the new Doctor now enters into the life of a scientist filled with many paper- rejections, constant job-insecurity, high workloads and other things that I am sure have been touched upon by other people in other blogs. Remembering good old days and creation of new bright ones are a very important counterweight. So today we celebrate! Congratulations Sven Teurlincx, you did great!

Link to the work of Sven https://nioo.knaw.nl/en/employees/sven-teurlincx