It is now the second half of June, the students have finished their exams, schools have broken up for the summer and the most intensive and stressful period of the year is going over to a calmer tempo. The annual summer holidays are approaching, which can take many different shapes but nonetheless mean that we step off the treadmill and do things that we and our families enjoy. Personally, I thought I would help you all to make this transition by not moaning about things that make me angry as dean; yes, I do not intend to mention the phrase ‘agency capital’ even once. Let me instead mention some of the pleasant memories I have from the spring semester:
FredagsFåtöljen is a simple seminar series that introduces outstanding researchers at the faculty in an unusual way. They present their research on a level that most people can follow, but also give a more personal presentation, so that the audience gets a picture of the person behind the research. Academic careers are rarely straightforward and it is always interesting to get an insight into why things turned out as they did in the combination of genes, environment and coincidence that constitutes life.
We have awarded two honorary doctorates at the faculty, to Rolf Heuer, director-general of CERN, and Fredrik Sjöberg, biologist and author. They held brilliant but diametrically opposite lectures in Lundmarksalen in conjunction with the doctoral conferment ceremony, about the search for the Higgs boson and about the search for knowledge, and it was a real experience to hear them.
Our graduation ceremony took a somewhat more structured form this year and attracted no fewer than 180 students. Over 800 people attended in total. It was a grand yet dignified and beautiful ceremony for those who have worked hard for several years to get a degree in science. Their relatives, many of whom were visiting Lund University for the first time, thought it was fantastic and we received many positive comments afterwards. We were also lucky with the weather!
This year for the first time, I took part in the presentation of certificates to recognise and thank the students who work in nations, students’ unions and suchlike, often on a voluntary basis. Their work makes an important contribution to LU in many ways, while they develop networks for the future and learn other skills than those we teach. I know many of them from the day-to-day work in various different bodies and I am often struck by how wise young people can be. I have really learnt to appreciate the students’ participation in our decision-making processes, even if they only sit for one year and lack experience of academic work.
Despite feeling ready for the summer and a holiday, I am looking forward to the work we have to do in the autumn. I am also looking forward to our summer party on 22 August and a new series of FredagsFåtöljen (12:30 on the first Friday of the month). Our search for everything from particles to beamlines continues unabated and we hope to see many exciting scientific discoveries.
I wish you all a fantastic summer.
Olov Sterner, Dean