Today I took the day off to go to a Chemistry talk at the UW. This isn't something that I would normally do, but I know the speaker and the talk looked interesting.

It turned out that the talk was a thesis defense. It's the first one of those that I've gone to, and it's really an interesting process. After spending 5 years or so doing research, the graduate student prepares a talk and present it to anyone who wants to attend, including group of professors (known as "The Committee"). After the talk is done and any questions by the attendees are answered, the student meets in a closed section with The Committee, who then ask any questions they have of the student, and meet in private to decide whether the student has done enough work to qualify for their degree.

The Committee has three possible verdicts:

  1. The work that you have done is sufficient for a degree
  2. The work that you have done seems sufficient for a degree, but you need to do the following work before you can get your degree
  3. Thanks for playing - we have some lovely parting gifts for you

So, that makes it a pretty big deal for the student involved.

The talk, which covered some research using computation chemistry, was very nicely done, and after a short private session, I was happy to see the student emerge with a smile on her face.

Because the student is my wife.

So, guess what, mom? I'm married to a Doctor now!!!