The portal opens between here and the antimatter universe!

Look here! We’ve found it. A small and unremarkable planet orbiting a cold yellow sun. Don’t be deceived. Many things are different in this strange and weird place, but some things are almost the same.

But not quite.

Let’s call this planet Oppositeworld.

The vivas in Oppositeworld are odd events. Candidates still do research for three or more years, but in the end have nothing firm to show for it. The viva takes place with a couple of examiners, but the candidate drives the process with questions. They want to know what examiners think, see what they’ve understood in the thesis.

Examiners regularly fail candidates for not asking enough questions, for not asking the right questions, for not asking perfect questions. The rules are arbitrary, almost without definition. You could surmise that this might make things very stressful, but since most people fail, they expect that they probably will too and so don’t feel too bad when that expectation is matched by their experience.

Preparation is discouraged. Taking a copy of your thesis is forbidden. Your examiners are mean and hyper-critical, your supervisors give you the cold shoulder and no-one can help in any way. The road to the viva in Oppositeworld is dark and dangerous and those who pass are held in even lower regard than those who don’t. Hushed tones accompany them for the rest of their days, “There’s that Dr… What did they do?”


The portal collapses and Oppositeworld is shrouded behind the quantum mists once more. Notice how strangely familiar it was. Even when things were different they were not so different as to be incomprehensible.

While you may not wish to visit Oppositeworld, remember that they might not wish to visit here too. They might not really understand us nor would they care to have a “proper” viva in our universe.

After all, why would they want to go towards a viva which most people pass but still find stressful and anxious in preparation? Why, we can imagine them asking, would they worry when so many people in that situation pass?

Why indeed.