It's no secret that I think Bryce is an amazing man (and many of you do, too, from what you know of him). He is patient, funny, kind, smart, and an engineer who loves Maxwell's Equations as much as he loves Ray Bradbury and playing the guitar (which makes him a bit of a Renaissance Man). He has been an incredible support during a terrible time in our lives where he needed support, too.
I got to return that favor recently, when he took about a month off to work on his intense, scary Qualification Exam for his PhD program -- I was all about the supporting.
It looks like this: First, you receive three papers that have been selected for you, and you have a week to select ONE to delve deep into; Second, you have three weeks to learn every possible thing about that paper (probably while kicking yourself for not choosing a different paper), including all equations, re-creating figures and doing simulations and re-deriving fancy equations with no numbers, just weird symbols, and while you're doing all that you're also evaluating the paper's work and spending a ton of time on how you will extend the work -- what can you do differently? What would you change to make a different product or create a different result? What are implications? Third, you write a 15 page paper that you have your wife edit (and so now I can add "parabaloid," "gravitation," "photo-resistors" and "curvature" to my vocabulary); Fourth you create a 45 minute presentation to give on your paper and extension. THEN, after a month of nothing but gravitation all the time, you go for your exam where a committee listens to your presentation and then has an additional 2 hours to grill you on absolutely anything even remotely related. And then you wait, and hope you passed.
It was exhausting to watch, so I can only imagine how difficult it was for Bryce to do.
BUT...the results are in. He passed! (I KNEW he would, but it is such a relief!) And not only did he pass, he CRUSHED it.
Congratulations, Bryce -- four weeks of terrifically hard work and sequestering in your office, and you are now OFFICIALLY a PhD candidate! So exciting. And now for the competency exam next year... I have no doubt that he'll crush that gauntlet, too. Such a smarty-pants, he is!
Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!