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Nancy Baym awarded the honorary doctorate


On 18th of October, Nancy Baym - Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research USA, was awarded the honorary doctorate at the IT Faculty.

Nancy Baym at the Conferment Ceremony for University of Gothenburg.

The IT Faculty managed to get short interview with Nancy Baym the day before the Conferment Ceremony at University of Gothenburg:

How would you describe your research area?

– I describe my research area as how people understand and use information technology and what consequences that has for their social life.

How did you end up in this specific field?

– I was just doing what I am doing now for fun, until the early 90’s. I wrote just one paper, but it was so well received by my field, by my mother – who was a professor – and by my PhD advisor, that it became my research area. I think I before that just found the area too interesting and fun to see it as a potential area for research. My PhD advisor used to say to me “You need to find YOUR problem,” and when she saw that paper I had written she said “THIS IS your problem”.

What are your hopes for the appointment as honorary doctor?

– To even be awarded a doctorate of honour in the first place, was something I didn’t expect and I feel very honoured. My hope is to demonstrate my worthiness, to get to know this department and get some meaningful exchange. The idea is that I will return at some point, but we haven’t decided on what frequency yet. I do have connections to Scandinavia already, my father is a professor in physics and he sometimes works in Copenhagen for example. I am always happy to have an excuse to come to Scandinavia from time to time. I like this part of the world.

Can you say something on your future research?

– Right now I am thinking about digital assistants, bots. I am also thinking about metrics connected to social media – how to make people make sense of metrics. I am especially interested in metrics for the music industry.

Tomorrow you will be awarded your honorary doctorate?

– Tomorrow we will have the Conferment Ceremony at University of Gothenburg. I have got several instructions on the event so far and I look forward to be part of this big event. My father is coming to the ceremony, and my son and husband. This is actually the first graduation ceremony I will attend, since I have missed all of my own graduation ceremonies so far – in high school, at the university, and also when I got my doctoral degree. As an honorary doctor I will finally attend one!


Text: Catharina Jerkbrant

More on Nancy Baym and the honorary doctorate:

Earlier news article on Nancy Baym and her research