The Sassy Scientist – The Final Hurdle

The Sassy Scientist – The Final Hurdle

While coming down from a caffeine-high after his online thesis submission, Giulio think about the next step:

How should I prepare for my geodynamics PhD viva?

Dear Giulio,

I like how you omitted to specify if your viva is online or offline, but I am working under the assumption that everything happens in the virtual realm now. It seems unbelievable now that busy academics such as myself used to fly across borders to sit in a stuffy room with a PhD student and listen to their overnight-made presentation of their project.

For this new set-up we only have to concern ourselves with online meeting logistics and the appearance of your upper body. Do you have a professional Zoom account, yet? Make sure you pay for one from your generous PhD stipend if your host institution doesn’t provide one. You wouldn’t want to be cut off right in the middle of your explanation of that very important detail in Section of your thesis. You also need to think about positioning your webcam accordingly in front of a clean patch of wall. How does a chair on top of a coffee table sound? Alternatively, why not choose a viva-appropriate virtual background? You would have so many options! You can go fully professional and choose a general background with the science building you work(ed) in. You could also prioritize fun and choose something more quirky, perhaps a movie scene? Another planet?

After you set up your laptop and account it’s time to think about what you might wear. Does your institution have a compulsory attire? Is this the time to show off your geodynamics themed wardrobe? Maybe you could wear your favourite pins and badges. I have already spoke my mind on what a scientist should wear, but I have to ponder more over what’s suitable for a viva.

Now you need to make sure the energies in your room are well aligned. Is the light good? How is that tiny-pot plant doing? Do you have a big ‘No Entry’ sign for your door? Do you have your favourite equations pinned on your board?

After you’ve done all these and maniacally checked your calendar to account for possible time zone differences I think you are all set. Now it’s the time to sit back and let your science shine…

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS: Oh, have you thought of reading the thesis once more since submission?

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I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

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