PhD—a tradition conferring honours

The Doctorate of Philosophy, colloquially called PhD, is the most important degree in any scientific and academic career. It involves years of studies at the leading edge of a scientific field under the supervision of a mentor. During this, the students gain a perfect understanding of the scientific method, and of how to do literature research, experimental design and conduct, and data analysis and interpretation. In order to graduate, they are required to have made a substantial contribution to science as evidenced by the writing of a thesis. They then have to present their work to a jury and withstand an oral examination.   For those who succeed, the PhD culminates in an imposing ceremony with lots of Latin gibberish and grandiose gestures at the end of which the title of Doctor is conferred. Thus, a PhD is the most honourable distinction; the proof that someone is knowledgeable and competent enough to be trusted with research and lead their own group, as well as now able to teach at the university. All the recipient of a PhD are finally socially equals and considered on their own merits.   But all of this is rubbish. Of course your wealth, social class, and gender do not miraculously stop counting just because of a little title, no matter how amazing it is. Those with personal wealth and social connections will never struggle to fund their research, contrary to the rest of us.   As for women... Whether they dare tell us so in our face or not, it is quite clear that all of society thinks that real research is best left to men, and being academicians and scientists does not result in any more open-mindedness. Women, if they truly so insist, can cutely make up some lab assistant that clean up glassware, prepare materials and solutions for experiment, and serve as pastoral carer for the lab's students. All that in the lab of their husband, of course. And with a smile and without receiving a single mention among the authors of scientific papers.   Enlightenment and liberty, equality, fraternity, but some people are always more equals than others...

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Cover image: Clothilde by serezniy on DepositPhotos


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4 Aug, 2022 01:19

I love the last sentence of this!

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Amélie I. S. Debruyne
4 Aug, 2022 11:29

Thanks :D I love how this turns out, I need to reuse it in the short story XD

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9 Aug, 2022 20:26

Well that took an interesting (and unexpected) turn. xD I love it!

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Amélie I. S. Debruyne
11 Aug, 2022 09:39

Thanks! I couldn't keep it all nice and positive or it would have been boring :p

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22 Aug, 2022 00:39

That took a turn! Feels a little too much like real life!

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Amélie I. S. Debruyne
22 Aug, 2022 07:33

Thankfully, we've gotten a little better in real life. But getting any kind of funding is still almost impossible... :(

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