Promootiopäivälliset 27.5.
Tohtoripromootio 2011

Kunniatohtorien vastaus, kunniatohtori Carl-Henrik Heldin

Honored Guests, Dear Friends:

I have been asked to respond, on behalf of this year´s Honorary Doctors, to the kind words from Dr Jukka Alinikula representing the Promoted Doctors. I will be glad to do so, but let me first turn to the Rector and Professors of Turku University and express our sincere gratitude for having received the great honor of being elected as Honorary Doctors. It is a privilege indeed to receive such an honor from an old and prestigious university as Turku University. It is with humility and pride we accept our distinctions. I have visited Turku University several times, and have always been very impressed with what I have seen in terms of scientific excellence, eagerness and entrepreneurship. I am very glad and grateful today, and I am confident that my fellow Honorary Doctors share these feelings.

Let me now turn to you, newly promoted Doctors. You have just passed one of the most important landmarks in your lives. Given the high standard of the Finnish educational system, I am confident that you have earned your doctorships by having made important discoveries and by have produced significant new scientific results. You have most likely worked very hard and deserve to relax and enjoy the sweetness of your achievements, at least for today.

However, whereas you now have reached an important goal in your careers, this should not be seen as the end of anything. On the contrary, now is when the fun begins. You should be aware that the Doctor exam you just have received is a door opener. It represents a sign that you have successfully undergone training to become a scientist. You are now ready to take on new challenges. The world is now at your feet, and you have some important decisions to make which will influence the rest of your professional life. Some of you will continue on an academic career, while other will seek jobs in companies or other places where scientific competence is needed.

In any case, a postdoctoral training in another laboratory or scientific milieu is to be highly recommended. Such an experience, which if at all possible should be obtained abroad, will prepare you for the next phase of your career when you will take on even larger responsibilities, for example leading your own independent research group.

To be a scientist is an enormous privilege. To help move the frontiers of knowledge, to explore new findings, and to continuously learn new things, is a fantastic experience indeed. I have not been bored a single day since I obtained my Doctor´s degree 31 years ago. I can think of no better job than to be a scientist.

As newly promoted Doctors, you are now at the beginning of what can become a remarkable journey. Take advantage of your opportunities. Think carefully how you want to capitalize on what you have accomplished, which type of research you would like to take on, and which scientific questions you would like to answer. Be bold and plan your future with self confidence.

As it happened, I arrived in Finland in the evening of Monday last week, the day after Finland had won the world championship in ice-hockey over Sweden. I could barely make my way through the streets of Helsinki among 100,000 enthusiastic supporters. If there were ever a saying that the "the lions sleep tonight", it did not apply to the Finnish lions on that night. So, when you make plans for your own future be sure to take on real challenges and remember that nothing is impossible; all I say is, 6-1.

Dear newly promoted Doctors: Good luck!

Let me end by proposing a toast for Turku University and for this year´s Promoted Doctors!

Päivitetty 12.09.2011 09:07