Thesis Countdown (part 5)

32 days to go.

“Oh, I forgot to tomato again didn’t I?”

I’ve taken a day away from the actual writing to take care of a few things concept wise. For example, despite being a physicist for many years I’ve never felt very comfortable with basic electronics (one of the most important parts of my thesis). In order to know what to write about at this juncture, I needed to do some fiddling around with toy models in Matlab. The upshot is a repeat of what I’ve always figured – simple electronics is insufficient to really describe what’s going on in some of my results. Most inconvenient.

The thing about fiddling like this, though, is that it ill suits the pomodoro method (of which I extolled the virtues yesterday). Hence the starting line – I keep forgetting to start the timer (or stop if it runs out).

Earlier this morning I went to get my lab induction. Yes, over three years since I started I can finally confidently work in the labs in the basement of my building. I’ve never done an experiment there. I have done plenty of experiments, but they were always at other institutions. Therein lies one of the big problems of my PhD, if I’m honest – I’ve never really had the freedom of my own space in which to just fiddle at my own pace. That doesn’t sound so important, but scientists deprived of that luxury tend to end up frustrated and reliant on others. So it is with my work, which has always been carried out by committee. This does not always shape ones research for the better, despite what some sanctimonious people have told me about how that means my work is already peer reviewed.

Real research is about creativity, and one should have the freedom to choose when to be creative collaboratively and when to just sit and fiddle with something. Being (still) the most junior person in the labs I visit, I don’t get that chance anywhere near as often as I have needed. Perhaps in the future I will. I have really missed it from the days of my Masters.

Explaining as much to the examiners seems like a daunting challenge, to me.

Returning to the thesis in the mid-afternoon, I work on Chapter 4. I started in the middle, worked my way to the end, and then started again from the beginning of the chapter. There’s work still to do in a few places; mostly changing figures to make the text readable. Maybe I can get it finished (for a certain value of finished) by the end of the month, which is tomorrow after all. As I write this sentence, I realize I have just finished doing so, and that I am essentially post-live-blogging my thesis progress. Well done me.

Several people have now told me to eat well. I almost feel ashamed to tell you that I’m currently eating my snack-between-snacks-between-meals. Almost, but Twiglets are too good for a mid-afternoon break to be ashamed of. Tonight I’m cooking risotto; you should be envious. If there was one thing my parents baked into me from the beginning, it was eating well. Thanks for your concern, though. ❤

Anyway, back to work on Chapter 6. Maybe I can get that one “finished” in short order, too.


About stoove

A physicist, researcher, and gamesman. Likes to think about the mathematics and mechanics behind all sorts of different things, and writing up the thoughts for you to read. A competent programmer, enjoys public speaking and mechanical keyboards. Has opinions which might even change from time to time.
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