On 2nd of November 2023, Alkuin (ESR1) successfully defended his PhD thesis with the title: “New Constraints on Atmospheric Mercury Cycling from Two Mountain Observatories in the Southern Hemisphere Tropics” (the thesis has been published and is now openly accessible under: https://www.theses.fr/2023GRALU030). The GMOS train was well represented in the PhD defense, not only on stage and in the jury, but also in the audience. Many collaborators tuned in online (among them most ESRs) and, amazingly, Sonja (ESR7), Isabel (ESR6), and Dr Johannes Bieser (from Hereon) even found the time to be there in person!

Following the long but engaging scientific discussions during the defense, the evening was rounded off – as customary in France – with a pot de thèse, an open buffet with plenty of food and drinks. In tune with Alkuin’s life trajectory, this featured a mix of Latin-American (mostly Bolivian), French, and German specialties.

After this unforgettable day, Alkuin gave himself a bit of time to recover both sleep and inspiration. Having regained his strength, he is now on the verge of initiating a new chapter of scientific collaboration with Hereon under the supervision of Dr Johannes Bieser!