Today has been the fourth viva that I’ve been a part of, including my own. It was the first as the external examiner, which feels like a bit of a milestone. This involved travelling from Orkney down to England, spending half the day in the exam, then a few more hours with the internal examiner having lunch and doing paperwork…. it’s been nice. It’s always rewarding to examine a good student, but more than that, it’s been delightful to spend a day thinking and talking about science rather than answering emails.

It’s quite a time-consuming activity: 1.5-2 days to read the thesis carefully and think on it. And a minimum of a 3-day trip to do the exam (one day here, one day travelling each way). And that isn’t something that workload models allow for, so one can’t do too many. But the occasional one is not only essential for the system, it’s also good for the soul 🙂

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