Zweetkamertje—or—Congratulations Dr. Van Gorkom!

Our Dutch postdoc Sebastiaan Haffert has taught us many important terms (like “We at Toilet Duck recommend Toilet Duck!”), but the one most relevant today is zweetkamertje. As explained by Atlas Obscura, this is the “sweating room” where Ph.D. candidates in Leiden await the results of their doctoral exams.

This draft is being written (in part) during the sweating period of Kyle Van Gorkom’s Ph.D. defense.

But let’s back up a bit: Today, a pandemic-appropriate number of masked people filed in to Meinel 812 (and a much larger people joined online) to see Kyle Van Gorkom defend his Ph.D. research in adaptive optics. The view was excellent, but Jhen and Daewook had eyes only for Kyle.

Some pretty sweet mountains, you might say.

Mr. Van Gorkom (as he was then known) regaled us with tales of deformable mirror characterization and modeling. Battles won, vibrational modes damped, etc. (We will not talk about the IrisAO.)

The room was then closed for the committee to thoroughly examine him. We waited. Some of us blogged. Then, after some ritual hazing questioning, he was presented to us: Dr. Kyle Van Gorkom, Ph.D.!

A toast was called for.

The final test of the candidate is whether they can open a bottle of champagne. We are happy to report that he passed this as well, despite Susana’s evident skepticism.

And, after some initial difficulties, a toast was had! Congratulations, Dr. Kyle Van Gorkom!

Song of the Day

“Someday” by The Strokes