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11:53pm on Friday, 4th August, 2017:

Wee Curry


I'm sitting here at Glasgow airport, only three hours before my flight home is due to take off. I say "due" to take off, because the flight this morning took off from Stansted at 10am, which was exactly the time it was scheduled to land in Glasgow. It's not a long taxi ride from the airport to the university, though, so I still made it in time for the noon meeting with the other examiner and the convenor of the PhD we were examining.

Before we met to beat up the student, we had lunch in the Wee Curry House. I don't really like curry, and wee doesn't make it taste any better, but it wasn't so hot that I was put into fight-or-flight mode, which probably worked out well for the candidate.

The oral examination lasted something like 3.5 to 4 hours. We asked a bunch of questions, some of which were palpably unfair, some of which were traps, some of which were possible death blows, some of which were soft, some of which were discursive. I can't go into details, because anything said in a PhD oral stays in a PhD oral, but I can say that the candidate defended superbly, and as a result we passed him with minor corrections he has to complete to the satisfaction of the internal examiner within the month. Before the oral, I was expecting him to pass but with major revisions following substantial further research. However, he showed in the oral that he really knew his stuff, so there didn't seem to be anything to gain by making him do more work that he was already ahead of in his research.

So , assuming he does indeed complete the corrections required (which he could do this evening, to be honest) to the satisfaction of the internal examiner, our report will be passed to the examination board for rubber-stamping and he'll be Dr Matthew Barr instead of plain old Mr.

He'll definitely know he deserves it, too!

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Copyright © 2017 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).