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IST Austria celebrates 15 new PhD graduates

On Tuesday evening, IST Austria honored its newest PhD graduates for their work and contributions. The graduating class, which comprises 15 students, is the largest IST Austria has had so far, and the first to reach double-digits. The keynote speaker, Professor Martin Nowak of Harvard University, offered his congratulations and advice to the new alumni, who will take on positions in academia and industry.

“Remain true to your calling, and reject all compromises. Go out, learn what is being done…and then do the opposite. You find yourselves at an all-time high, and I wish you many all-time highs.”

With these words, Harvard Professor Martin Nowak addressed IST Austria’s new PhD graduates of 2017, as well as the many mentors, scientists, friends, and family who came to celebrate them and their achievements. In his speech, the keynote speaker commended the graduates on their exceptional work and success, and offered his advice through the lens of his research, the evolution of life. The new PhDs, whose research covers topics in all areas represented at IST Austria, will take these words to heart as they continue in their next steps. Many will continue as postdocs, in universities all over the world, and many will apply their talents and skills in industry research positions. Wherever they go, and whatever projects and challenges they undertake, IST Austria can be confident in their capability and success, and look forward to seeing the marks they make on the world.

The evening opened with a musical performance by Giovanni Zanco, a mathematician in the Maas group. IST Austria President Tom Henzinger then extended his welcome to the crowd assembled in the Raiffeisen Lecture Hall, recognizing the importance of the day and the diversity of the class, in research area, in nationality, and in career path. Professor Martin Nowak followed the welcome with his keynote speech, describing how the graduating class, and the Institution, have exceeded all expectations. The graduates were then introduced by their supervisors, and the audience cheered as, one by one, they crossed the stage to receive their sashes. Once the graduates had received their diplomas and hearty acclamations, Professor Vladimir Kolmogorov announced the recipient of the Best Thesis Award—a difficult task, given the quality of work produced by the graduates. The 2017 winner is Anastasia Pentina, who completed her thesis work on “Theoretical Foundations of Multi-task and Lifelong Learning” under the supervision of Christoph Lampert. Pavel Payne, the representative of the 2017 graduates, then took the audience on a photographic journey through graduate school, sharing his memories and hopes for the future.

The program ended, as it began, on a musical note, with the IST Austria choir performing a selection of pieces. As they finished, the graduating class, and all those who came to pay tribute to them, trailed out into the foyer to enjoy a champagne reception.

The graduating class of 2017 comprises:

  • Hande Acar, Bollback Group
  • Vanessa Barone, Heisenberg Group
  • Morten Bojsen-Hansen, Wojtan Group
  • Przemek Daca, Henzinger Group
  • Isaac Mabillard, Wagner Group
  • Maurizio Morri, Janovjak Group
  • Sebastian Novak, Barton Group
  • Pavel Payne, Barton and Bollback Groups
  • Anastasia Pentina, Lampert Group
    Tomáš Prát, Friml Group
  • Georg Rieckh, Tkacik Group
  • Michal Rolinek, Kolmogorov Group
  • Jan Schwarz, Sixt Group
  • Thorsten Tarrach, Henzinger Group
  • Murat Tuğrul, Barton Group

Here are pictures of the event!

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