Even though Elena turned eighteen months old today, that was not the biggest event in our family, because today I defended my doctoral dissertation. I was pretty nervous going into it, but confident that my results were correct and substantial enough to be approved, so that eased my worries. I also received lots of encouraging emails in the last day or two, which also boosted my spirits.
All things considered, my talk went very well. I appreciated the moral support of the few courageous friends and colleagues who were able to attend. The slides only had a few small errors, which committee members pointed out but didn’t complain about. At the end, I fielded one or two questions, but didn’t get grilled. The committee deliberation was short, and my advisor came out with congratulations. Most importantly, they all signed the necessary paperwork.
At the very end of the talk, while I was answering questions, I heard the telltale sounds of a toddler in the hallway–Jenny and Elena came to see the verdict and celebrate the success. Elena was wearing a new Texas Longhorn shirt, and they brought cupcakes. Little did we know that my friend Ben had ordered a custom cake with my picture on it! We had some of that and left the cupcakes as a celebratory offering for the students and staff of the department.
Even though it was early, I was ready to come home with Jenny and Elena. Jenny surprised me with presents: a burnt orange water bottle and a metallic Bevo magnet for my car. These decals are ubiquitous around here, but I imagine that it will be more distinctive in our new home. With the defense done, we’re one big step closer to making the move!
Gluttons for punishment can download the dissertation itself, An Analogue of the Korkin-Zolotarev Lattice Reduction for Vector Spaces Over Number Fields, or just the slides from the presentation, The Mahler Product for Twisted Heights.