PhD Motivation: oath in the 19th century

I failed to write the summary of 2018, but I’m pretty sure I will catch up for that. But I would like to share one reason that I’m dedicated to pursuing a PhD.

I read an article named Heros in My Heart in 2015 when I started doing research in college and it talked about an oath that David Hilbert (Math!) made at doctor graduation. That is in Chinese:

我庄严的要你回答,宣誓是否能使你用真诚的良心承担如下的许诺和保证:“你将勇敢的去捍卫真正的科学,将其开拓,为之添彩;既不为厚禄所驱,也不为虚名所赶,只求上帝真理的神辉普照大地,发扬光大. – 我宣誓

Well, this sentence, at that moment, was so attrative thus I searched a little bit more and found some English source, and the most exciting one, traditional European Latin version [1] in 19th century.

English Version:

I ask you solemnly whether by the given oath you undertake to promise and conform most conscientiously that you will defend in a manly way true science, extend and embellish it, not for gain’s sake or for attaining a vain shine of glory, but in order that the light of God’s truth shine bright and expand.

– I keep this oath

The book says in this way: “In those days the doctoral degree was still conferred in a truly solemn ceremony. Among other things the Dean read an oath which says in part: Te solemmiter interrogo, an fide data polliceri et confirmare religiosissime constitueris, te artes honestas pro virili parte tueri, provehere atque ornare velle, non lucri causa neque ad vanam captandam gloriolam, sed quo divinae veritatis lumen latius propagatum effulgeat. I have endeavoured to keep this oath.”

This is so charming that I can never resist the tempatation and will always be chasing. (Note: Not about religious meaning here, only for science)


[1] Ewald, Peter Paul. Fifty Years of X-Ray Diffraction: Dedicated to the International Union of Crystallography on the Occasion of the Commemoration Meeting in Munich July 1962. Springer Science & Business Media, 2012.

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