Juan Manuel Gonzalez Cantero: “It’s time to call him “Doctor”!
I want to share in this blog the ceremony of 30 October 2017 at the Superior Engineering School of the University of Seville. It was pure joy.On that day, Juan Manuel González, (26 years old) and born and bred in Carmona presented his Doctoral thesis (PhD) entitled ¨Study of the Unfolding Failure of Curved Composite Laminates¨ having been awarded Cum Laude.
Juan Manuel’s employers in Madrid, FIDAMC (Foundation for the research development and application of composite materials) celebrated this award and posted on its online newsletter “FIDAMC, has actively contributed to the development and financing of his Doctoral Thesis. In direct contact with the aeronautical industry, Juan Manuel succeeded to be granted the International Mention during his stay in one the main Technological Airbus Centres in Europe located in Munich (Germany).”
As his ‘family’ we sat in the front row half an hour before his dissertation. In my career as a simultaneous Conference Interpreter, I worked in conference centers around the world interpreting alongside world leaders of this world or comfortably hidden in an interpreter’s booth. I never ever was able to sit in the front row at a conference. Quite enjoyable!
We had the opportunity to take some family photos before the arrival of the Evaluation Tribunal of his thesis.
His parents, Josefa and Juan in the foreground and Juan Manuel and his older brother Antonio, a geologist, organic olive grower (see my post, category Carmona in this blog) and climber. I chose this family from Carmona for the monthly photos in this blog because this event has been my Xmas gift!
The five members of the Assessing Tribunal, from right to left: José Cañas and Antonio Blázquez (professors University of Seville), Faustino Mujika (Professor University of the Basque Country), John Morton (Professor Imperial College, London, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Aeronautics) and Antonio Ferreira (Professor of the University of Oporto, Portugal and publisher of the scientific magazine, Composite Structures). Researching them, I was really impressed by the hundreds of publications citations for each.
A PhD is the highest academic degree a student can achieve and takes three or more years of independent research on an original topic. Results in a thesis offer a significant original contribution to knowledge and opens the way to future research. With a laptop on the lectern, Juan Manuel starts ‘defending’ his thesis.
Juan Manuel summarized his thesis of 264 pages with a simple PowerPoint and formulae which would be almost impossible to grasp by those unfamiliar with the topic.
FIDAMC’s newsletter summarised the essential points of his research.
“In the Doctoral thesis a novel semi-analytic model has been developed to determine interlaminar stresses in laminates including highly curved parts that has considerably improved the way to analyse the unfolding failure and the way to understand this sort of failure.
The analysis of this type of failure leads to new unsolved concepts of utmost importance within aeronautical structures, opening the way to new research in which FIDAMC is very much involved”.
My daughter and I could appreciate the involvement of Juan Manuel through his clear presentation to academic experts who had read and studied his thesis in depth.
I know from my experience that many lecturers or speakers are unable to control their nerves. This was not the case with Juan Manuel. It was wonderful to listen to the fluency in English of a young man from Carmona who had only stayed in England for one month in 2013 at the University of Leicester.
The fact that he participated in six conferences on and around his research in Spain, Denmark Germany and Portugal will also have helped. It was refreshing to watch his natural goodwill and despite his obvious youth. It was obvious that Juan Manuel was in his element, his field; his world, showing his way with enthusiasm, respect and humility in front of this Tribunal.
During the following hour questions were asked in Spanish and English by the Tribunal and the audience. Juan Manuel answered with precision and enthusiasm, displaying on the screen referring to his thesis for each question. All seemed so simple!
Questions from the audience asked through Federico París Carballo Juan Manuel thesis director.
Two hours later, waiting for half an hour in the corridor for the Tribunal to give its judgment.
This wait allowed me to see the impressive integrated contemporary space and the original design of this Advanced Technical Engineering School, inaugurated in 2003. Close to the airport of AEROPOLIS, it is the only technology park in Europe exclusively dedicated to the aerospace industry grouping more than 75 aerospace companies, and has engineers of all nationalities.
During my visit in 2015 to the Faculty of Communication of the University of Seville I thought it was a Sevillan version of the movie “Fame” as shown in the upper photo.
Nothing in common with the study room at the fourth floor of this School!
(Legend) Left to right: Bernardo López, in charge of the Simulation and Engineering Department of the FIDAMC, Madrid. Enrique Graciani, tutor of the Thesis, Juan Manuel showing the book of his thesis and Federico París, director of thesis. These three channelled the “talent” of Juan Manuel when he was awarded “Outstanding Graduate of the Year for the Best Final Year Project on an Aeronautical Topic” at the end of his studies of Aeronautical Engineering. Encouraged and recommended by Federico Paris, after achieving 63 credits in his Master of Science in Advanced Design in Mechanical Engineering, he moved to FIDAMC, Madrid to start his doctoral thesis.
I had the opportunity to appreciate empty volumes. At the bottom of this long corridor I discovered the magic view of the staircase opening up on Isla de la Cartuja and Seville.
Called back into the room at that moment, the only photo I could take was: This blurred photo of Juan Manuel being applauded. I then realized he had been awarded the Cum Laude mention. This was a surprise! Indeed it was mainly due to the quality of the Thesis he defended, but also to the fluency of his English particularly appreciated by the English tribunal member who in 2009, was also Senior College Lecturer, University College, Oxford.
These are the seven people who contributed to the fact that from now on, if Juan Manuel meets a former San Blas High School teacher in the streets of Carmona, they should call him “Doctor!”.
We celebrated his achievement with family on the terrace of the cafeteria of this Superior School with a wonderful view.
To me, Juan Manuel is the worthy ambassador of the dozen former students I know from his primary and secondary classes in Carmona.
In 2006 passing his baccalaureate Juan Manuel was awarded the prize of “Best Student of the Year” by Carmona’s Town hall.
I would like to mention, among others Pablo, who is involved with the farming of the near future: permaculture, apiculture and silviculture ; Martín, IT engineer; Encarni, another Aeronautical Engineer; Manolo, preparing his PhD to become a university professor and other master degrees in Communication (Ana), Marketing (Fídel) and Fine Arts (Angela), without forgetting Bea with her career in Human resources…I won’t mention the half dozen of former students whose career I am also interested in such as your brother Antonio and his generational friends. All have a promising future filling my heart for Carmona. It is energetic, encouraging and gives me hope and wish to follow their future.
In 2018 I’ll dedicate to you a new category of this blog called “A smiling future” contradicting the usual many bad mews of media.
Congratulations “Doctor Juan Manuel González Cantero”.