First dissertation defense during the war at Karazin university


It is difficult to overestimate the power of human will and dedication to science, especially in challenging and perilous circumstances. The history of Karazin University is replete with events that testify to the indomitable spirit even in the face of war. One such unwavering individual is Denis Protector, who became the first graduate student to defend his doctoral dissertation during the war at Karazin university.

Turmoil and complex circumstances have always tested the strong and resolute. The wartime period is a time when a vast amount of resources and efforts are directed towards military actions, but even in such moments, the spirit of science can overcome any barriers. Denis Protector became a true symbol of this unwavering belief in a brighter future.

Recently, we had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Denis personally, and we are excited to share some interesting facts from his remarkable story.

The preparation for the dissertation defense began long before the full-scale war, back when he entered graduate school on October 1, 2018. At that time, Denis had plans to defend his dissertation in May or April 2022. However, the defense timeline was forced to shift, although the young researcher had already accumulated a body of work, published several articles, and actively participated in various conferences before the war began. In the last year, he refined his work and planned for the defense.

As of February 24, his work consisted of an introduction and the first chapter, with part of the second chapter. The preparation continued during metro rides amid the city's shelling for about 1.5 months, but by the end of May, the entire dissertation was written. Just imagine the atmosphere in which this research was conducted, with many people working in a crowded and noisy environment. Nonetheless, everything was successful, and the long-awaited defense day arrived.

This significant event took place in the Safe Space of the university, "Karazin Hub," on December 21, 2022, which had recently been opened through the efforts of the Karazin Charitable Foundation. We asked if this venue allowed them to recreate the special atmosphere, and the answer was a definite "yes," despite concerns about the lack of electricity and the ongoing blackouts since October. According to Denis, "Karazin's Safe Space was equipped with everything: STARLINK, uninterrupted power supply, laptops, television, power banks, lamps – everything to conduct an autonomous defense, even if there was no electricity." Moreover, it was essential to organize the event in a hybrid format, as certain members of the committee could only attend online, while only three were present offline. Despite all the nuances, they managed to create an atmosphere as if everyone was present, and those 2 hours and 40 minutes of scientific discoveries passed unnoticed and fruitfully. In conclusion, let us add the words of a scientist that Karazin did everything and even more; all expectations were met and exceeded.

It is thanks to the actions of individuals like Denis Protector that even in the most challenging times, humanity can continue to move forward. His story is a reminder that the power of intellect and determination can overcome even the greatest challenges. Therefore, we sincerely congratulate Denis on earning his Ph.D. in Applied Physics and wish him success in his pursuit of a professorship!