101 things to do at your thesis defense
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 94 14:59:38 PST
Subject: 101 things to do at your thesis defense
[I certainly recognize the frame of mind in which this was written
(even though it was over 25 years ago for me... YOW!) -psl]
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org@info.Berkeley.EDU (J. Lani Herrmann)
Forwarded-by: Laura M. Schultz <email@example.com>
101 THINGS (NOT) TO DO AT OR FOR YOUR THESIS DEFENSE (in no particular order)
Written by Peter Dutton, Jim Lalopoulos, Alison Berube, and Jeff Cohen,
grad students extraordinaires.
1) "Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise for the singing of our National
2) Charge 25 cents a cup for coffee.
3) "Charge the mound" when a professor beans you with a high fast question.
4) Interpretive dance.
5) "Musical accompaniment provided by..."
6) Stage your own death/suicide.
7) Lead the specators in a Wave.
8) Have a sing-a-long.
9) "You call THAT a question? How the hell did they make you a professor?"
10) "Ladies and Gentlemen, as I dim the lights, please hold hands and
concentrate so that we may channel the spirit of Lord Kelvin..."
11) Have bodyguards outside the room to "discourage" certain professors
from sitting in.
12) Puppet show.
13) Group prayer.
14) Animal sacrifice to the god of the Underworld.
15) Sell T-shirts to recoup the cost of copying, binding, etc.
16) "I'm sorry, I can't hear you - there's a banana in my ear!"
17) Imitate Groucho Marx.
19) Hold a Tupperware party.
20) Have a bikini-clad model be in charge of changing the overheads.
21) "Everybody rhumba!!"
22) "And it would have worked if it weren't for those meddling kids..."
23) Charge a cover and check for ID.
24) "In protest of our government's systematic and brutal opression of
25) "Anybody else as drunk as I am?"
26) Smoke machines, dramatic lighting, pyrotechnics...
27) Use a Super Soaker to point at people.
28) Surreptitioulsy fill the room with laughing gas.
29) Door prizes and a raffle.
30) "Please phrase your question in the form of an answer..."
31) "And now, a word from our sponsor..."
32) Present your entire talk in iambic pentameter.
33) Whine piteously, beg, cry...
34) Switch halfway through your talk to Pig Latin. Or Finnish Pig Latin.
35) The Emperor's New Slides ("only fools can't see the writing...")
36) Table dance (you or an exotic dancer).
37) Fashion show.
38) "Yo, a smooth shout out to my homies..."
39) "I'd like to thank the Academy..."
40) Minstrel show (blackface, etc.).
41) Previews, cartoons, and the Jimmy Fund.
42) Pass the collection basket.
43) Two-drink minimum.
44) Black tie only.
45) "Which reminds me of a story - A Black guy, a Chinese guy, and a
Jew walked into a bar..."
46) Incite a revolt.
47) Hire the Goodyear Blimp to circle the building.
48) Release a flock of doves.
49) Defense by proxy.
50) "And now a reading from the Book of Mormon..."
51) Leave Jehovah's Witness pamphlets scattered about.
52) "There will be a short quiz after my presentation..."
53) "Professor Robinson, will you marry me?"
54) Bring your pet boa.
55) Tell ghost stories.
56) Do a "show and tell."
57) Food fight.
58) Challenge a professor to a duel. Slapping him with a glove is optional.
59) Halftime show.
60) "Duck, duck, duck, duck... GOOSE!"
61) "OK - which one of you farted?"
63) Sell those big foam "We're number #1 (sic)" hands.
64) Pass out souvenier matchbooks.
65) 3-ring defense.
66) "Tag - you're it!"
67) Circulate a vicious rumor that the Dead will be opening, making sure that
it gets on the radio stations, and escape during all the commotion.
68) Post signs: "Due to a computer error at the Registrar's Office, the
original room is not available, and the defense has been relocated to
(Made-up non-existent room number)"
69) Hang a pinata over the table and have a strolling mariachi band.
70) Make each professor remove an item of clothing for each question he asks.
71) Rent a billboard on the highway proclaiming "Thanks for passing me
Professors X,Y, and Z" - BEFORE your defense happens.
72) Have a make-your-own-sundae table.
73) Make committee members wear silly hats.
74) Simulate your experiment with a virtual reality system for the
75) Do a soft-shoe routine.
76) Throw a masquerade defense, complete with bobbing for apples and
77) Use a Greek Chorus to highlight important points.
78) "The responsorial psalm can be found on page 124 of the thesis..."
79) Tap dance.
81) "I'm sorry Professor Smith, I didn't say 'SIMON SAYS any questions?'.
82) Flex and show off those massive pecs.
83) Dress in top hat and tails.
84) Hold a pre-defense pep rally, complete with cheerleaders, pep band, and
85) Detonate a small nuclear device in the room. Or threaten to.
86) Shadow puppets.
87) Show slides of your last vacation.
88) Put your overheads on a film strip. Designate a professor to be in
charge of turning the strip when the tape recording beeps.
89) Same as #88, but instead of a tape recorder, go around the room
making a different person read the pre-written text for each picture.
90) "OK, everyone - heads down on the desk until you show me you can behave."
91) Call your advisor "sweetie."
92) Have everyone pose for a group photo.
93) Instant replay.
94) Laugh maniacally.
95) Talk with your mouth full.
96) Start speaking in tongues.
99) Spontaneously combust.
100) Answer every question with a question.
101) Moon everyone in the room after you are done.
© 1994 Peter Langston