Thesis Countdown (part 8)

29 days to go…

Part 7 was a lie. I skipped most of yesterday for reasons which I shall call Reasons. Moving on…

Having more or less finished up three chapters last week, I take stock: Chapters 2, 4, and 6 are all looking great. Chapter 3 needs polishing a bit but seems otherwise good. Chapter 5 is unfinished. Chapter 7 needs major revisions. I feel like I could do a lot of this in the following week. That just leaves the boring chapters (Introduction, Summary & Further Work, References etc) and plenty of time to polish things off / correct if my supervisor ever reads any of the thesis.

I start working on polishing up Chapter 3. It’s an interesting chapter to me, because it represents probably about nine or even ten months of abject failure, and the lessons learned from it. It’s also quite difficult to write, because some of the motivations we had for doing the work in the first place turned out to be ill-conceived. In the end, it turned out that the learning points which we went through were significant enough that they’re worth recording for posterity. The results, I think, have minimal impact on their own. Taken in context, they serve as a solid basis for the (much more interesting) results of Chapter 5 and as a general place to build from in future. The program of work which the measurements were a part of will eventually benefit for  multiple reasons, not least knowing why these types of measurement are difficult. More than anything, for me they serve to underline quite how desperately we need sources of light which aren’t free electron lasers (see last post). If I had an arbitrary amount of time, I could make what I feel are some quite interesting measurements using this technique. Alas, the type of measurement I want to make would take weeks of beam time rather than hours.

As the day goes on, my motivation wanes fast. I don’t really understand why, but Chapter 7 has some difficult bits and I struggle to concentrate on them. This is all too familiar for me: good science is done microns at a time. I struggle with it and in the end decide that although I have to slog through this, breaking my head against the brick wall right now might not be a good idea. I give up for the night and go to bed dejected.


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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