The finished article outside the Geography Department at Sheffield. The dust (or I should probably say ash) has settled and I am now over a week on from passing my viva with the "most minor of minor corrections", a most relieving and pleasing result. The lead up to a PhD viva is a little bit surreal. After spending 3 years on research, going to conferences, writing papers, drinking way too much coffee (and accompanying biscuits), and finally spending 3 months writing up your work, it is a strange feeling knowing that your research is going to be critiqued and discussed in a matter of only a few hours. Of course, the examiners spend a long time looking through your work, but having 3 years of your work condensed into a 2 hour discussion barely scratches the surface! However, something I didn't realise until participating in my own viva is that it is not all about discussing every minutiae of your work. The examiners are looking for two main things when your are in your viva: (1) Did you do the work yourself? (2) Do you know what you are talking about (i.e. do you know the science behind your work)?