Yesterday our very own Joseph Long ascended the hallowed steps of academia and become a PhD holder! The PhD defense at Steward begins with a 30 min public talk summarizing your thesis (summarize 5-6 years of work in 30 mins????), followed by a snake fight with just the committee, who then kick you out to decide your fate. Reception to follow in the venerated “Interaction Area” at Steward, the area in which we interact.
I am actually in California right now doing an internship at NASA Ames for the next 6 months. But Joseph is pretty much my best grad school friend and I have a lot of airline miles, so I hopped a quick flight for the festivities.
The Public Talk
It was standing room only (not just because the only room he could reserve was too small…) as the audience sat in rapt attention for Giant Planets, Sirius, and Starlight Subtraction At Scale.
Of course he passed! While the OpSci grads get lovely sashes, a certain Steward postdoc-turned-faculty Kevin Hainline pioneered a slightly sillier tradition for Steward grads: an elaborate crown and cape featuring highlights of their research. If you follow this blog, you are well aware of the craftiness of some of our group members. So the troops were mobilized into action in true XWCL spirit (with heavy consultation with Kevin).
The cape is an astronomy fabric with gold letters (Avalon-printed) and plots from his papers with logos he made as well. The crown has a circus flair, and features bells on the ends, with a dumpster (I mean a MagAO-X with one too few doors on the top, oops) as the center feature. Around the base of the crown are hand-drawn (Eden-drawn) animals from the mission patches Joseph designed, each with their own crowns. Jialin also made some incredible art of Joseph, to be featured below.
The encrowning and encapening
I didn’t really get any pictures of the food! Jay Keuny’s partner Mel made incredible focaccia bread, Jay made amazing pistachio macarons, Maggie brought a lovely pie, and Jialin brought fun Asian flavor chips!
Behind the scenes
Avalon’s amazing craft skills on the letters
Jialin made some incredible Joseph art:
As a congrats gift, I made as Business Viscacha, or Businesscacha, or Biscacha. Behold Bizzy Biscacha:
The briefcase opens and there are little letters in there 😀
This summer Joseph is moving to New York City to begin a postdoc software fellowship at the Flatiron Institute. He’ll still be active with MagAO-X so keep an eye on this blog to follow his adventures.
The song of the day is HAPPY!