Tuesday, 15 April 2014

April 2014 Graduation

After the IoP conference drew to a close on Wednesday, I had a day off, then on Friday, there was our postgraduate graduation ceremony.  It happens once a year, and includes all those who have finished their taught postgraduate courses (MScs, mostly, amongst the Physics Department) or PhDs.  I almost always attend the undergraduate graduation ceremonies, featuring our undergraduate students, but usually reserve the postgraduate ceremonies for those when I know there will be students in it that I have taught.  My teaching is heavily focused on undergraduates rather the MSc students, so I tend to go just to those PG ceremonies that I have PhD students graduating at.  This one was the one where my (now ex-)student Chris would be due to attend, so I signed up.  I realised on the day that I didn’t actually know if Chris would choose to attend the ceremony, despite being eligible and having a post-doc job in the University.  It seemed likely, but you can never tell… Fortunately, as I was wandering to the place where the graduation robes are doled out, I bumped into Chris, who was heading there for the same thing.

Graduation ceremonies are nice because you see the person of interest to you graduating, and a little boring because you see a lot of people you don’t know doing the same thing.  Perhaps for the likes of me it is more interesting because I am bound to know a higher fraction of the graduands than a general member of the audience is.  In fact, even though I didn’t directly teach the Physics MSc cohort that was graduating, I did know a bunch of the from their undergraduate days, and they had re-enrolled for another degree.  

It was too bad that I couldn’t go to the post-ceremony genteel garden party afterwards, to chat to Chris and see his dad again, who I hadn’t seen since he came along on the day I interviewed Chris for his Phd about 4 years ago.  I had to meet with a current PhD student and then head off to give a talk about the use of nuclear physics in geology to the West Sussex Geological Society.  But that deserves a whole separate post of its own…