In August Dave submitted his PhD thesis titled "Describing and predicting temporal growth and wood property variation in plantation eucalypts". People immediately began to congratulate him, but he was reticent to accept their commendations. Why? The thesis had been submitted for assessment, which allowed for the possibility that it would be rejected.
Well, now the suspense is over.
In the words of one examiner:
"The project described in the thesis was a very ambitious one. The known range of environmental variables influencing xylem development is enormous, and it is clear that there may well be others which are not yet recognised or understood. The difficulties involved in developing a model taking account of these variables would deter many people from even attempting to do it. However, I was most impressed by the logical and reasoned way in which the candidate has approached the problem, and by the level of success achieved."Since others may not be as interested in this as I am, I'll spare you quotes from the other examiner! We are thrilled with this result. After watching the huge amount of hard work Dave did, including many evenings and Saturdays, I have some idea of what it has cost. What a blessing that the work has been rewarded. Thank you God!
"This report is relatively short because I have found little to fault in the thesis. It represents a lot of hard, painstaking work. The candidate demonstrates his clear understanding of the scientific problems involved and a comprehensive grasp of the techniques he has used. He has demonstrated the ability to analyse critically his observations and to set them in the context of the relevant literature. In thirty years of examining I have seldom encountered such a well-written, carefully prepared and readable thesis."
Officially, Dave is not a "Dr" until his formal graduation ceremony. I'm not going to worry about that little detail though. Some of you may remember that Anne of Green Gables later became Mrs. Dr. Blythe. Her domestic help, Susan, often called her "Mrs. Dr. Dear". As far as I'm concerned, I could now take on the title Mrs. Dr. Drew - if I wanted to, that is!