Finding the peaks – week fourteen as a PhD student

PhD Life

This week I was running experiments for four out of five days, as a consequence, I feel as if I have been quite busy. The results I have been seeing are not as good as I had been expecting; I did find some compounds that were not in any of our libraries, which is an interesting peak in an otherwise flat-line graph. I have been trying to learn how to judge mass spectra, and I think I have some candidate compounds for my unknown peaks, so I have ordered some standards to test this: fingers crossed.

I have also been doing a lot of work on my script for analysing colour. I quite enjoy programming, and I want to keep developing my skills in this regard; besides continuously making programmes, I am unsure as to what the best approach is to improve, I think I need some sort of game/competition to force my hand. One of the main reasons I enjoy programming is that you cant test your creations as much as you want, over and over continually iterating until you get the result you want. However, this may be one of the issues as it is so easy to test and change, trial and error become the predominant learning force. I rarely think too hard about the program; I should think it through from first principles, what happens is, is that I keep changing things until I get the result I want. If anyone can recommend any resources for graduating from the beginner to intermediate/advanced stage, I would very much appreciate it.

In our lab meeting this week I got asked what papers I was thinking about publishing, this took me from left field, as I have not thought about this before. So I quickly pulled some words about papers from the nowhere and just about got through it. I believe one of my least favourable attributes toward being a good scientist is that I don’t care much at all about prestige. I have heard the words ‘publish or perish’ before now and this does not give me too much hope. I understand the idea in principle; you’re increasing the level of knowledge and progressing humanity in some small way. It does seem as if publishing is gamified, and we have managed to figure out the best way to progress, and that is quantity over quality. I suspect my view is quite naive and will change over the coming years, but also, that it does have some truth in there.

In non-academic news, it seems as if I have gained 1kg in weight this week. It could be just down to the fact that I had a huge meal last night – we got a free three-course dinner for Christmas, at Jamie’s. Either way, this week I will lead a life of much less excess. On a positive note, I have got my run pace back below 5min/km; I hope I can keep that pace up. Anyway, I’m off; I need to update my gym workouts as they have become stale!

Note from the future (4 months since this was written)

I can see the grammatical improvement in my writing which is encouraging (take a look at my earlier posts to confirm for yourself). Soon you should see some development in how to put a piece together.

Published by Louis

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

4 thoughts on “Finding the peaks – week fourteen as a PhD student

  1. I saw you post about games/competitions to improve programming, if you haven’t discovered them already, hackathons I’m told are very good for that, and a lot of universities will have some each year


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