A German antiquarian bookshop is hunting for the longest dissertation submitted to a German university in 1998.
The author of the record-breaking work will be rewarded with a 300-year-old dissertation by the famous medic Friedrich Hoffmann, worth about Pounds 1,000.
Michael Wien, head of the Antiquariat Frank Graetz, based in Bergisch Gladbach near Cologne, said the aim of the light-hearted competition is to encourage PhD candidates in their difficult and time-consuming efforts.
"We want to give them some moral support," he said.
The company, which has a collection of 120,000 historical dissertations and 45,000 works dating from 1550 to 1800, conceived the idea after receiving a 2,654-page dissertation entitled From Minuet to Match Racing: The Development of Sailing.
Dr Wien said the company had so far received a number of heavy-duty applicants. The longest so far is 909 pages of A4 script, but the closing date is not until February 28.
The antiquariat can be contacted at the internet address: http://www. drgraetz.de