First dissertation defense during the war at Karazin university


It is hard to underestimate the power of human will and dedication to research, especially under 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. Among such individuals 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 ones. 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 research can overcome any barriers. Denis Protector became a true symbol of this unwavering belief in a brighter future.

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

The preparation for the dissertation defense began long before the full-scale war, back when he enrolled in the graduate school on October 1, 2018. Back then, Denis anticipated to defend his dissertation in May or April 2022. However, the defense timeline was forced to shift, although the young scholar had already accumulated a body of work, published several articles, and presented at 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 a 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 manuscript 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 a success, and the long-awaited defense day arrived.

This significant event took place on December 21, 2022, at "Karazin Hub," the Safe Space of the university, which had recently been opened through the efforts of the Karazin Charitable Foundation. We asked if this venue enabled them to recreate the special atmosphere, and the answer was a definite "yes," despite concerns about the lack of electricity and the ongoing blackouts that started in 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 crucial to organize the event in a hybrid format, since certain members of the committee could only attend online, while only three were present in person. Despite all the challenges, they managed to create an atmosphere as if everyone was there, and those 2 hours and 40 minutes of academic discoveries passed quickly. In conclusion, let us add the words of a scholar that Karazin did everything and even more; all expectations were met and exceeded.

It is thanks to the actions of academics 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 reason 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!