Last weekend, Tom and I quietly acknowledged a very special anniversary.
January 3 marked 30 years since the defense of Tom's PhD dissertation.
That's his published dissertation, there on our bookshelves, between Principles and Applications of Organotransition Metal Chemistry and Advanced Organic Chemistry.
On the one hand, it's so . . . unfathomable . . . to me that so much time has passed. (Because I remember that time of our lives so vividly.) But, on the other hand, it's not so unbelieveable after all. (Because so much has happened since then.)
I actually didn't take any photos of Tom on that incredible, pinnacle of a day. (And I did a lot of photo-documenting even then. I just didn't do it very well . . . with my little Instamatic.) But here are some throwback shots from that time in our lives.
Here's a (really bad) shot of Tom and one of his fellow students (now a chemistry professor himself) in the lab.
Grad school . . . four-and-a-half years went by in a blur (although it was often a total slog) . . . coursework, TA-ing, cumulative exams, the dreaded "orals", hours-upon-hours (upon hours) in the lab.
Finally, when his boss agreed that he was "ready," the writing-up began in earnest.
They gave Tom an unused office in the chemistry building for him to use while writing up. When looking back at this photo of Tom, hard at work, in "Thesis Headquarters" (as we called it), the first thing to notice . . . no computer!
Right. Back in late 1984, PCs were not in general use yet. No one we knew had one -- not even the university professors.
Tom wrote his dissertation by hand on legal pads.
And his loving wife quit her day job to type it up -- on a word processor (really just a standard electric typewriter with a baby screen and a bit of memory)!
(And we're still married!)
(I also drew all the chemical structures in the dissertation - and there were MANY! - using stencils and drafting tools. And lots of white out. This was before any of the computer drawing programs were available.) (Stone age, I'm telling you.) (And you can see that the typing was no picnic either.)
(I can't begin to explain how much work this all was. Not only the intellectual work of doing the research and writing the dissertation . . . but also the emotional work of believing in yourself and pushing through.)
We "staged" this picture when Tom found this description of "the prototypical grad student" in CSU's student newspaper one day while he was writing up.
(And he did subsist on caffeine and alcohol. And a lot of pizza, as I recall.)
So. Here we are, 30 years later.
Congratulations to my Palladium Mediated Mad Scientist. WELL DONE!