My Path Through Research

The Trials and Triumphs of Doing a PhD

PhD: Mission Complete!

Three years of work have finally come to an end!

My viva was on Wednesday 19th October. My sister surprised me with a visit to be there for my viva, which I really appreciated. This meant that the night before I just relaxed with her rather than stressed about the next day, which was a good thing.

As is normal, I didn’t know what to expect with the viva. However, luckily for me, it went better than I could have even imagined! The examiners immediately put me at ease – having an experienced examiner was a definite plus.

I felt that most of the questions I got were from the broader chemistry field rather than specific to my PhD. This meant that I had no way of preparing for them. However, the examiners talked me through what they were trying to get out of me such that at no point did I feel threatened.

The lines of questioning meant that I learnt more about my work by thinking about it from a different view point. I believe that this, after all, is what a viva should be about (in hindsight of course!) – you consolidate what you knew but also realise what you didn’t realise you knew!

I emerged from the examination room in around 1.5hrs, PhD in hand! No corrections was the final verdict – what more could I want?

All that is left is that I thank everyone who I have been in contact with through the PhD and who believed in me, from my colleagues in Pisa, to the workshop attendees, people who donated photographs, to conference participants who discussed my work with me. Of course, big thanks goes to my colleagues at UCL and TNA and particularly my supervisors: Matija, Nancy and Kostas – I couldn’t have done it without all of you!

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Progress Report

I realise it has been 3 months since I last wrote in this blog, so it’s high time I update you (all?) with what has been going on.

I have been keeping myself quite busy! Since the last update I submitted my PhD (end of August), attended 3 conferences (LACONA as part of the organising committee, Anoxia and Microfading as a participant and ICOM-CC conference in Lisbon as a presenter). Following the conference marathon I then spent a few days working with Bruce Ford on microfading at Tate. This was a superb experience for me to learn about this new technique. I also got to analyse paint samples that Matisse used, which was very exciting.

Of course, there’s still my viva to go. My viva is next week (*fingers crossed*) so I have been preparing for that. I have also been offered a job in Denmark. I will be moving over there within a month, which takes some work.

This is not the last of my PhD-related work though! I have been selected as a finalist in an Royal Society of Chemistry postgraduate competition which means I get to present my work to judges form industry at the beginning of November. There is also a number of papers still to be written, and of course a lot rests on the outcome of my viva, so wish me luck!

 

 

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