Yesterday, for the first time since May last year, I found myself sitting in a room while my PhD student underwent his viva voce examination. I'm pleased to say he did a great job, but with an external examiner who was very impressed with the thesis, it was always going to be a fairly painless event -- which is not to say that the student in question, Phil, was not a bit nervous beforehand.
Now I am down to a single student, of whom I'm the lowly second supervisor (with Jim Al-Khalili). He is planning to submit his thesis very shortly, and I'll be down to none. Sad face.
Phil's thesis was on fission, using a microscopic quantum theory to undertake the most extensive study at such a level of fundamental theory. Now he has left, and has a job, and it is up to me, and Phil's co-supervisor to make sure we publish the work coming out of his thesis. Past experience tells me that when a student leaves their PhD to take up a job in another field, I need to get a paper written up quickly, if it is to ever appear. For someone who has just finished a PhD, Phil already has a good publication record. He'll get another couple of papers to add to the tally, but alas for nuclear physics, he's taken a look at the job prospects and the typical life of a post-doc, and got a proper job.
The plot at the top is from Phil's thesis and shows a few snapshots of a simulation of the fission of an isotope of plutonium. Phil also put a couple of genuine "movies" in his thesis, in the form of flip-book animations in the corners. I wonder if this is a first?