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M2 thesis and defence

Posted by Martin Orr on Friday, 13 August 2010 at 15:05

Last month I finished my Masters in Orsay. Since March I had been working on a thesis on a 1998 paper of Pink on the Mumford-Tate conjecture (concerning l-adic Galois representations attached to abelian varieties). The paper was difficult to read, but I learnt a lot doing so.

In July I defended the thesis in Orsay. This did not seem a valuable exercise. I spoke for a bit under an hour to my adviser, one other examiner and one of my friends (in my case the second examiner was my adviser's collaborator, visiting from UCL). In principle the public are permitted to attend, but since it is not announced anywhere noone is likely to do so except some friends you may have invited - I can't imagine anyone else wanting to attend anyway.

Since I had already explained all the contents of my thesis to my adviser in our weekly meetings, the only person I was really talking to was the second examiner. But as I understand it, the written thesis is the part which is most important for marking, and I doubt whether the second examiner reads that in detail. They did not ask many questions, and the questions they did ask I was mostly unable to answer - since I had focussed all my energies into understanding the proofs of certain specific results, and then writing down what I had understood, it would have been difficult to ask questions I could answer.

In September I will be returning to do a PhD with the same adviser, and working on the same sorts of questions.

no comments Tags abelian-varieties, m2, paris

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