At the age of 79, Rosemarie Achenbach fulfilled her wish for academic studies and completed her master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Siegen in 2004. Today, at the age of 95, she is completing her doctorate on the topic of “Death in Philosophy.” “Above all, I enjoy the fact that now I no longer have to do what others expect of me,” she said as a doctoral candidate. (Source: Tageschschau24)
Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport wrote her dissertation thesis on diphtheria in 1938 as an assistant physician at the Hamburg University Hospital. However, the oral examination was prevented by the Nazi regime of the time. By chance, Prof. Dr. Dr. Uwe Koch-Gromus from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf heard about the case and contacted her. Then, in 2015, Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport defended her paper titled “The influence of epinephrine, pilocarpine, calcium, potassium and barium on the surviving guinea pig small intestine in normal animals suffering from diphtheria” in her home. At that time she was already 102 years old. (Source: ARD Alpha)
Many find it difficult to focus on the essential. The historian Joachim Schuhmachercame thereby into the Guiness book of the records! His dissertation thesis comprised 2,200 pages and is thus the longest doctoral thesis in the world. This is only the shortened version, originally the thesis on the development of sailing submitted to the University of Constance even had a length of 2,654 pages. (Source: Spiegel.de)
The counterexample follows directly: Have I written too little? How many pages does a dissertation actually have? These are questions that doctoral candidates have to deal with. Probably the shortest dissertation was submitted by Maryam Khaleghi with the title “Natural remedies for impotence in medieval Persia” at the University of Münster. It is said to have a length of only three pages. (Source: dnb.de)
Peter Scholze is one of the outstanding mathematicians of our time. He completed his studies, as well as his doctorate, in record time. In 2012, he submitted his dissertation entitled “Perfectoid Spaces” and was already appointed as a professor in the winter semester 12/13. Due to his above-average scientific achievements during his studies and doctorate, he did not need to take the habilitation extra. (Source: spiegel.de)
The then 39-year-old Dorothea Erxleben from Quedlinburg was the first German woman to take her doctoral examination at the University of Halle an der Saale on May 6, 1754. The German title of the dissertation is: “Academische Abhandlung von der gar zu geschwinden und angenehmen, aber deswegen öfters unsichern Heilung der Krankheiten”. (Source: welt.de)
In 1900, Ernst Kegel received his doctorate with the topic “On the question of the constitution of paraoxyazo bodies”. He was the first “doctoral engineer”, as it was called at that time, worldwide. The title was awarded by the chemical department of the Technical University of Dresden and Kegel himself was also a chemist. (Source: Wikipedia)
Doctoral students spend many years researching a subject area, and some of the future PhDs use the findings to found their own company – like Sascha Feldhorst, the managing director of MotionMiners GmbH. He received the 2019 Logistics Science Award for his dissertation entitled “Automatic Activity and Context Recognition for the Analysis of the Picking Process.” “His dissertation is one of the rare cases in which a doctoral thesis could be directly transferred into a start-up and into a product for the automated analysis of manual work processes with the help of inertial sensors and machine learning algorithms,” said Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Michael ten Hompel, member of the board of GSofLog, who supervised the work, summarizing the project.
Stays abroad are no longer something special for doctoral students. However, the (geographic) South Pole remains a special place to stay. In October 2017, Johannes Werthebachof TU Dortmund traveled to the IceCube neutrino observatory in Antarctica and stayed for a year at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Research Station to write his dissertation. (Source: TU Dortmund)
Khashayar Khazraei was the first Dr.-Ing. of the Graduate School of Logistics. His topic “Design, Organization and Implementation of a Methods Pool and an Application Systematics for Condition Based Maintenance” is still relevant today.