[Beowulf] Degree

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Thu Oct 25 12:53:22 PDT 2012

On Thu, 25 Oct 2012, Jonathan Dursi wrote:

> On 25 Oct 9:22AM, Andrew Holway wrote:
>>> Well, there was the propeller-top beanie and hazing when I first arrived
>>> at graduate school, the secret physics handshake, the decoder ring, and
>>> the wierd robes they made us wear in quantum mechanics "to keep us safe
>>> from virtual photons", but by in large, no.  I mean, except for The
>>> Ritual.  But I can't talk about that.  They'd kick me out of the club.
>> I'm sure its connected with a magic circle and league of mystics.
> ..and the snake fighting portion of every thesis defence,
> http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/faq-the-snake-fight-portion-of-your-thesis-defense

I actually had to fight my snake during prelims.  But this was back in
the days when prelims were conducted in a room filled with tear gas,
when you were forced to wear an electroshock collar to jolt you back to
awareness in case you entered the "holy shit I'm at the blackboard
explaining how to derive Clebsch-Gordan coefficients from scratch"
trance state, from which few humans ever emerge at all.  To avoid the
shock I grabbed the coffee thermos of my advisor and beat the snake to a
pulp as a bit of distraction and then came back to the board and spoke
of something safe, like the labelling of quantum levels in the hydrogen

Fortunately, nobody noticed, being too busy scraping fragments of snake
off of their eyeglasses and bald spots. My advisor was pretty pissed,
though.  He had to drink the rest of the coffee straining glass liner
with his teeth (given that there was no question that he WAS going to
drink the coffee, snake guts and glass or not).

I barely passed.  Probably thanks to the snake.


> .
> 	- Jonathan
> -- 
> Jonathan Dursi | SciNet, Compute/Calcul Canada | www.SciNetHPC.ca
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Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

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