So R's viva went well he said although a lot of the questions from the second examiner were difficult/impossible for him to answer, and that was when he understood what was being asked. That really helps me, I am dreading having him as my second examiner now. Questions seemed to revolve around theory, the motivation behind choosing a particular technique or theory and the other methods available to perform the same measurements. Understanding the details of the theory and methods of optical trapping shouldn't be too difficult but I feel my weakness lies in what else is being done in the field, despite having attempted a detailed literature review. His viva lasted 30-40 mins so hopefully mine will be somewhere in that region. It won't be any more than an hour I should imagine and my advisor often likes to be speedy. Fingers crossed. I think my only preparation can be re-reading my report, making sure I understand everything I've included (BFPI could be particularly important there then), what the really important literature is (as I have included 65 papers!) and maybe even pre-empting some questions. This weekend and my trip home could involve a lot of that then.
Dr Roberts hasn't replied to my e-mail about how much the equipment doesn't work -- when really I should just suck it up, stop complaining and get on with things rather than writing silly blog entries -- but then he is at a conference so I shall understand and leave him be. I think I'm at a stage where the equipment works OK, maybe I could optimise it further with a twiddle here and there, but the QPD just isn't giving me what I want. It's time to sit down and look at the real optics of back focal plane interferometry, I am not too sure how it is all set up.
So this year should have been the year for a holiday. That is still the plan but buying the Benicassim ticket is as far as plans have gotten so far. What happens after that -- or indeed, whether he can go to benicassim -- all depends on R's visa, for which he has an interview tomorrow. If he wants further dates, he needs proof of accommodation reservations, which up until today, he hadn't any. That's been rectified and he's booked hostels in Valencia, France and Rome. I would quite like to go to these places actually. We'll have a chat later about it maybe.
The wedding is fast approaching and the sister and I have the final fitting on Saturday which I'm getting a train home for. I must remember to call the hairdressers and try and book a trim as this is possibly the last chance.