Busy Season…

Posted: February 20, 2011 in Science, Work
Tags: , , ,

Things have been quite hectic lately, and I haven’t had the chance to write as much here as I would like. This is just a short update so that you all know I’m not dead.

Really, I’m not dead.

The reasons for my absence are below the fold:

Of course I’m sure you all know the reason I’ve been absent from this blog: science is kicking me in the butt. Generally, I spend a ridiculous amount of time working, and when I’m having a difficult time at work i.e. enjoying the “best part of science.”™* I don’t devote as much time to writing about other stuff as I otherwise might.

Science-wise I’ve had some short term successes with my research in the past couple of weeks, and now we’re on to bigger and better things. This is good, because I’m getting to learn a whole bunch of new (to me) stuff.  Also, I have started my first applications project since becoming a postdoc. I’m enjoying it, and learning a great deal about a physical system I’d never encountered before.

While all this is good news, there is also a bit of a distraction.

The APS March Meeting is coming up, and there will be a few thousand physicists (of a variety of different specialties) descending on Dallas very soon. This meeting is one of the largest meetings on physicists in the world. It is our annual opportunity to get together, talk about one of the pieces of science we’ve been working on for the last year, meet old friends, make new friends and (on occasion) drink a beer or two.

I will be giving a talk at the March Meeting, and I should probably get to work preparing it (since I have less than a month to do so). It’s only a contributed talk, but it’s the first one I’m giving where I’ll discuss work I’ve done as a postdoc. This means not only do I have to not embarrass myself, I need to make sure that I don’t make my new boss look bad, too.

The work that I’m going to be talking about is a small project that we worked on when I first started, and we have long since moved on to other topics. We haven’t been thinking about that topic for quite some time. This means I need to go back and dig through my old notes and maybe make a few new figures for this talk. Of course, this will take time, which is time that I won’t be doing “real research.” I think this is something that totally qualifies as a #firstworldproblem.

This is me grumbling.

In addition to all of this, my lovely partner will be attending a long program at the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics. There she’ll be working on “Navigating Chemical Compound Space for Materials and Bio Design” (whatever that means–she’s much smarter than I am). Moral of story–she’s leaving me for three months to hang out with a bunch of mathematicians in the smog-filled basin of Los Angeles. Though I’m quite happy for her, ( it’s a big deal for her career; also did I mention the mathematicians? ) I admit that I will be a bit of a #sadpanda while she’s gone.

I suppose I’ll try to take advantage of this situation to be über productive. But I don’t have to be happy about it, dammit.

* The “best part of science”™ is the part where you realize everything you’ve done is wrong, and you have to start over with a new idea. Some people might find this frustrating. Real Scientists™ revel in this part of the scientific process.



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