Friday, September 18, 2009

Congratulations to the 08-09 mathematical modelling MSc students!

Today we finished the vivas (thesis defenses) and awarded the diplomas for the mathematical modelling and scientific computation MSc (Masters) students for 2008-2009. We also awarded 5 "distinctions" (out of 18 students). I was the advisor or co-advisor of 4 of the 18 students. Two of my students received distinction, and one of my students (Ben Franz) won the Nuclear Electric prize for best overall student in the cohort. It just goes to show how far one can get by working on a project on cow synchronization. (Naturally, my other 2 students also performed well.) When giving out the results, we didn't have any stories amusing incidents like we did last year. I couldn't find a blog entry about last year, so let me briefly recount the story here:

The students line up alphabetically to come into a room and formally be given their results one by one. There was one student (I don't remember whom) to whom we forgot to tell some germane piece of information so we had to call him back in. Then we realized we had forgotten to tell him something else, so we called him back in again. Between one or both of his appearances in the room, other students had gotten their results. Then after we had called him back in twice, we decided we should call him back in a third time a little bit later just to screw with him. That incident remains perhaps the funniest moment I've experienced at Oxford, and it's certainly one of my best memories here outside of things of the form 'quality time with good friends'.

Anyway, congratulations to all of the students who graduated today! (And that would be all 18 of the students, by the way. We didn't fail anybody this year.)

I think the best quote that might have come from this is one I heard about second-hand---namely, a rather distraught statement of "I just had to read 100 pages about hypergeometric functions!"

By the way, John Ockendon ("Ock") says I should give a shout out to our esteemed External Examiner from Limerick, who came to Oxford armed with the knowledge that I have strong opinions and tend to be very passionate about things. I'm glad I have established my reputation. Also, I was once again the strictest Examiner by far this year. So end my duties as an MSc Examiner. (Two more years as a Part C Examiner, and then all of my Examiner duties will be over for a very long time.)

On a somewhat unfortunate note, I am feeling extremely depressed at the moment, though there isn't any good reason for it. The chemicals in my body simply aren't cooperating, and I have managed to get into a depressive episode. I even saw it coming, but my efforts to avert it weren't successful.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mason, maybe you are suffering "postvacational syndrome".........., take it easy.



Mason said...

I'd have to first have a "vacation" to be able to do that. :)