A guide to the "snake fight" portion of your Ph.D. thesis defense


31 Responses to “A guide to the "snake fight" portion of your Ph.D. thesis defense”

  1. irksome says:

    I’m working on my Masters (at age 54); all I have to do is catch a mosquito in flight.

    • Warren_Terra says:

      The quality of your written thesis determines the tools you are allowed to use.

    • jackie31337 says:

      This must be why Masters degrees are more common than bachelor’s degrees in Finland. Have you seen the size of Finnish mosquitoes?

      • AnthonyC says:

        Wait, surely everyone with a masters also has a bachelors degree?

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          No. There are many straight-to-Masters programs.

          • AnthonyC says:

             Huh. My alma mater did that, but then when you graduated they gave you both degrees at once. I didn’t know there were schools that do it the way you describe. Cool.

  2. feetleet says:

    Apparently it’s cold in abopolis.  Also this:
    Can you say AURYN?

  3. agroman says:

    I forwarded the link to my PhD committee, thanking them for sparing me from this ritual. I might have to send this to friends / colleagues, instead of the doctor greeting scene from Spies Like Us https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Lge2_H_8IQ

  4. malindrome says:

    Snakes.  Why did it have to be snakes?

  5. bcsizemo says:

    So when you start taunting the snake and it clamps onto your hand you shouldn’t have your friend cut its head off, right?

  6. Palomino says:

    Do you know when the test is taking place, it’s not like a pop quiz, right? 

    I’d take a mouse with me, feed it to the snake and grab it while it’s still in mid swallow. We both win,  It gets a meal and I get a pass. 

  7. singlefin says:

    Meanwhile in Australia…I wish!
    In primary school we had to kill the snakes on the playground before class was let out for recess.
    I  fought a red belly black snake only two weeks ago. It was far easier than finishing this chapter arguing that Saul Kripke is wrong.

  8. singlefin says:

    if the snake is a rigid designator he might have a chance in some possible world. however, in world @ the snake is dead. i fed him to a kookaburra and no counterfactual will bring him back. 

  9. apoxia says:

    Here in New Zealand we don’t have any substantial snakes, so we fight a native animal instead. Since we only have native birds and two types of bat we fight the Kiwi (bird, not fruit).  That pointy bastard never stood a chance at my PhD defence.

  10. Scratcheee says:

    I’m not ashamed to admit that for a brief moment I believed.

  11. CH says:

    But… umm… I don’t like to use Python that much, can I use LUA?

    (Oh, who am I kidding. Unless I win the lottery and decide to quit my job and go back to finish my degree, I’m not going to need to fight any snakes.)

  12. ImmutableMichael says:

    I think I would have preferred this.

  13. lumpygravy2 says:

    ooh in-jokes for post grads… You guys take yourselves way too seriously.

  14. jackie31337 says:

    This is probably why I never pursued a PHD.

  15. Brewster Malevich says:

    It would be a “dissertation” if working towards a PhD.
    “Thesis” is generally the requirement for a Masters degree.

    • True, “dissertation” refers to the document one is required to produce to obtain a PhD. But “thesis” can also refer to the same document. “PhD thesis” is a fairly common collocation (note: the phrase “PhD dissertation” sounds odd to me though.)

    • Editer says:

      It varies. Jorge Cham, who produces PhD Comics, uses “thesis” almost exclusively; I suspect that was the preferred locution at Stanford, where he did his grad studies. (Either that or he just doesn’t want to keep fitting “dissertation” into the word balloons.) Also in the U.K.; “dissertation” is indeed the dominant term in the U.S. though.

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