Long days spent in the lab paid off for 212 students who were awarded their Ph.D. degrees in a stirring ceremony May 23 on the Technion campus in Haifa. The students’ research includes interdisciplinary topics ranging from calculations using an engineered bacterium to sensing systems for electronic skin. “The final chord of the doctoral dissertation is an opening chord to a world of professional research that invites curiosity and a striving for truth, realizing your ability to delve into a complex and complicated problem … and harnessing your ability to face the real challenges of society,” said opening speaker Technion Senior Vice President Professor Oded Rabinovitch. “We wish you luck!”

“All of you, doctoral students, were one of the cornerstones of the Technion during your studies,” said Dean of the Graduate School Professor Dan Givoli, emphasizing that doctoral students and faculty are the two main components of the Technion’s success. “The youngest graduate is 28 and the oldest is 76, which shows that it is never too late to start studying for a doctorate.” Newly christened Dr. Rinat Baor, the oldest graduate, earned her degree in the Faculty of Education Science and Technology after working for 20 years as a math teacher and 13 years as a teaching assistant.

In other statistics: 40% of the graduates were female. The Rappaport Faculty of Medicine had the highest number of doctoral graduates with 33. Most of the doctoral graduates were from Israel, followed in descending order by the former Soviet Union, Russia, China, India, Ukraine, and the U.S.

Graduation brought a double dose of happiness for graduates Natalie and Oren Rizansky — who had their third baby the following day. The couple met during military service in the training section of the Combat Engineering Corps but then took separate paths: Oren attended the Technion for his bachelor’s degree while Natalie went to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The two were reunited at the Technion, where they both earned their master’s and doctoral degrees.

“Studying for a Ph.D. is a rollercoaster with highs and lows and is a herculean task,” the couple said, speaking on behalf of the graduates. “What all graduates have in common is the challenge to discover something they didn’t know before.”