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Can you watch full PhD vivas (physics) online?

  1. Jan 27, 2017 #1
    Does anyone know of any?I didn't find one which makes me think they don't ever get filmed.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2017 #2

    ZapperZ

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    What exactly is ".....full Phd vivas...."?

    Zz.
     
  4. Jan 27, 2017 #3

    robphy

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  5. Jan 27, 2017 #4

    jtbell

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    A "viva" or "viva voce" in the U.K. is indeed what we call a "thesis defense" in the US, as robphy surmised.

    I had to do a Google search to learn this. I'm surprised I don't remember ever seeing it before, because we have many posters here from the U.K.
     
  6. Jan 27, 2017 #5

    ZapperZ

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    If that's the case, then my next question will be, has the OP attended the ones at his own institution, rather than look for the ones online?

    Zz.
     
  7. Jan 27, 2017 #6
    I know the public defenses are easily accessible.I'm actually looking for the one on one interviews.Like here:
     
  8. Jan 29, 2017 #7

    Ryan_m_b

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    I've never heard of a viva being filmed, if you're looking to prepare for one I'd suggest talking to your supervisor and any post-docs in your group.
     
  9. Jan 29, 2017 #8
    No,I'd just like to watch one out of curiosity.
    I wouldn't think it is hard for people to prepare for these things,right?They have been working on the questions for years,after all!
     
  10. Jan 29, 2017 #9

    Ryan_m_b

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    It's the culmination of years of work where, for a few short hours, two judges will do their best to test the extremes of your knowledge and deeply criticise everything you've done. The preparation for that (mentally as well as literally) is quite involved in my experience.
     
  11. Jan 29, 2017 #10

    jim mcnamara

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    In a PhD qualifying exam, 'I do not know' is the best possible answer instead of an educated guess. Period. Anything else may lead to problems.
     
  12. Jan 29, 2017 #11

    ZapperZ

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    Really?

    In a written PhD qualifying exam, writing "I don't know" equals failure. In an oral PhD qualifying exam, it may lead to doubt of your ability to continue in the program.

    Zz.
     
  13. Jan 29, 2017 #12
    That's kind of ridiculous. There's plenty of unfair or intentionally esoteric questions a disgruntled committee member could ask, that "I don't know" is perfectly acceptable - especially if it has nothing to do with the candidates field. A PhD student has to specialize in thier field, and there's no reason someone doing Biophysics, for example, should be expect to answer some question about General Relativity if one of their committee members decides to be an ******* that day.
     
  14. Jan 29, 2017 #13

    ZapperZ

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    There were NO qualifications or scenarios given to the post I responded to. All it said was "I don't know" is a valid answer. It isn't if you write it in your written exam, or if it is part of what you are supposed to know!

    Zz.
     
  15. Jan 30, 2017 #14

    f95toli

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    Vivas are not public in the UK. The rules vary a bit between different universities, but generally speaking only the two examiners are allowed in the room with the candidate. Hence, no filming,

    You might have more luck finding videos from countries where the thesis defense is public (and is generally not called a viva).
     
  16. Jan 30, 2017 #15

    ZapperZ

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    Thesis defense in the US is usually public, at least the first part. Most schools will either post the defense schedule online and/or have posters on bulletin boards announcing the defense. I've seen schools where these are posted as part of the seminar/colloquium schedules.

    And if an advisor care enough for his/her students, he/she will often encourage the students he/she supervises to attend a few of these, so that the students will have an idea of what is involved.

    Zz.
     
  17. Jan 30, 2017 #16

    StatGuy2000

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    When I was in grad school for statistics in Canada, I recall that PhD thesis defenses consisted of 2 types: a public thesis defense (which anyone can attend, and as is often organized as part of a seminar/colloquium schedule, and could potentially be filmed, although I'm not aware of how often this actually happens), and a private thesis defense (where only the advisor and members of the PhD committee are allowed in the room).

    Is the situation not similar in the UK with the vivas?
     
  18. Jan 30, 2017 #17

    Ryan_m_b

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    No, here it's all private. You submit your thesis to a nominated external and internal examiner (to the university that is). Then you meet the two for your defence.
     
  19. Jan 30, 2017 #18

    jim mcnamara

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    @ZapperZ
    My exam had several obscure grass species. I knew two out of four, explained the other two were in genus x, and said 'I really do not know'. Since I did not have access to an herbarium and taxonomic texts during the exam, then that was okay. They also asked questions for things they knew currently had no good answer.

    And I cannot believe that for every math or physics problem that you've seen, you knew how to solve it correctly at first sight. You might answer, 'this is a problem in some area', and indicate a possible approach to solving it. But you did not know the exact answer. That is what I was communicating.

    Sorry if I was not clear.

    Just do not guess or make up stuff you think works. A scientist should know what s/he does not know.
     
  20. Jan 30, 2017 #19

    ZapperZ

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    I'm not advocating making things up. I was responding simply based on what you typed.

    My oral exam had a committee member who simply took off on a tangent based on a reference that I gave in my presentation, and we ended up an area of nuclear physics (I was presenting something in experimental condensed matter physics!). So yes, I DO know and have had personal experience with what you stated.

    A qualifying exam comes in many different flavors in different institutions. Most are written, and unless there is an optional component to it, writing "I don't know" in such an exam will not save you. Answering "I don't know" on a topic that you should know will also not save you. Answering "I don't know" when the topic has veered into never-neverland is perfectly acceptable if it isn't something that any physics undergraduate should know.

    Zz.
     
  21. Jan 30, 2017 #20

    BillTre

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    My thesis defense (in the US) was similar to those described above. A public presentation, similar to seminar with questions from the audience, followed by a private questioning by thesis committee members.

    My impression of this process was: an asking of questions that started out as simple to answer, but, as time went on, becoming more and more difficult (or obscure to me), until they reached a level where "I don't know" would be the appropriate response.
    There are always questions a prof could ask that someone doesn't know.
    I see this as a probing of the candidate's limit of their knowledge of the subject,
    or of whether they know what the limits of their own knowledge are (as in not saying "I don't know").

    On the other hand, I had a friend who was asked about the Superior cervical gangion (an autonomic ganglion in the neck used in some classic experiment cited in his research). He didn't know the answer, but instead of admitting he didn't know made a joke of it (something about a gangion on top of the cervix (lower trunk region)) which went over quite well (he's a pretty funny guy).
    So there are other ways out, sometimes, if your lucky!
     
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