A great take on the importance of Master’s students publishing their research. Reflects my thoughts on this from a few years back: http://blogs.egu.eu/network/palaeoblog/2013/04/18/should-masters-students-publish-their-research/
Source: Why I decided to publish my Master’s thesis – Where there is light
While back in London recently for my PhD viva, the opportunity came up to speak with the Communications Office at Imperial College about some of my research. Naturally I pounced at the chance to discuss my research and broadcast it to a wider audience. The short audio for the interview is now online here, and we discuss everything from the impact of changing climates on biodiversity to giant, dinosaur-devouring crocodiles! Enjoy 🙂
Dr Jon Tennant studied these creatures as part of his PhD in theDepartment of Earth Science and Engineering. He was exploring the biodiversity and the extinction of some tetrapods, which is a classification for all creatures with four limbs.
Dr Tennant, who is also a science communicator and children’s author, looked at some of the most fearsome tetrapods of them all – crocodilians. These creatures, which alligators and crocodiles are modern ancestors of, lived on Earth over one hundred million years ago in the deserts, coasts, oceans and even the artic regions of our planet. Some, like the Sarchosuchus, were the size of double-decker buses, and going by the fossil evidence, fed on dinosaurs, who were rival ‘apex’ predators.
Dr Tennant discovered in his research that changes in sea level, brought on by fluctuations in the climate and continent movements, changed the world of tetrapods like the Sarchosuchus forever. Now, he is embarking on a six-month exploration of the planet, including some of the regions where modern crocodilians live. Colin Smith caught up with Dr Tennant to talk about his favourite ancient crocodilians and how changes in early Earth impacted on their biodiversity.
Full podcast here and you can download the mp3 file here.
So, as of 4pm, October 5th 2016, I’m now officially Doctor Tennant! Or Doctor of Dinosaurs, whatever.
I want to try and offer some advice/experience here about how the viva was. Arguably one of the highlights/lowlights of any PhD, it’s a crucial point that essentially decides the ‘grade’ you get at the end – pass, fail, minor revisions, major revisions etc.
So, the viva..well, the viva was ok. I know it varies from university to university and between countries, but the format for mine was to have two examiners – one internal and one external – basically grill me and discuss various aspects of my thesis. The purpose of this was two fold: to see if the work presented was indeed my own, and whether I had developed a sufficient mastery of the field to attain the title of Doctor.
So, how was it?
Well, to begin with it was tough. Your mind beforehand will tell you all sorts of things. What if the examiners are assholes? What if they find flaws in my work? What if I can’t remember every detail from my work? What if they ask me something I don’t know? Have I revised enough in advance??