Re-inventing the wheel – Week 38 as a PhD student

PhD Life

It has been between 25 and 30 Celsius all week, with a high pollen count. For an Englishman, this weather is nice to look at, but uncomfortable to work in.

As I was drinking my morning coffee and skimming through BBC news, I spotted an interesting article that was highly relevant to me.

It is relevant as on Monday I am going to be collecting 90 bags of lettuce, which is 27 kilograms worth. I am in half a mind to delay my trial and sell them for a profit!

I have spent the last month trying to organise delivery of these samples, and the week where they finally get delivered is the week where the supply of lettuce to the UK population is likely to fall short. I think it is best to carry out experiments on the lettuce rather than satiating the nation’s appetite. It is not as if they are missing out too much, after all, lettuce is essentially a bag of water.

It has been a much more balanced week; I have managed to balance writing with more practical pursuits, in turn, this has made for a much more enjoyable time. I spent a lot of time trying to track down people who could help me find a suitable place to image my samples; when I was about to settle on a system, someone recommended the exact thing I was looking for – which was a large box with purpose-built lighting inside, and painted walls of consistent off-white colour: perfect.

This is one of the inherent problems with academia. PhD students carry out most of the research and create most of the specialist equipment, but because they are only around for 3-4 years after they leave the equipment they have made or purchased gets lost. Because of this inherent inefficiency, I assume, the wheel gets reinvented quite a lot: I almost re-invented last week.

It is not like I am taking an inventory of all the physical stuff I acquire/create, so I am sure someone will re-invent this stuff long after I am gone, and the cycle will continue. I am sure this kind of thing never happens in business or government.

We had a lab meeting with a twist this week. We had it at out supervisors house, with a BBQ and lots of beverages – red wine for me.

It was a great bonding experience, and it went almost flawlessly. I say almost as there was one person – who is quite absent-minded socially – who proceeded to whine about their project towards the end of the night.

One of my unwritten rules when it comes to social engagements with collogues is that you do not talk about work as down that road there be monsters. Fortunately, it seems that most other people share this view; however, one person did not, and now she is even further in negative favour with our supervisor.

She is older, than I am and really really book smart, but has no ‘common sense’, I am not sure how to help, or if I should. I am sure everyone knows a person like this, how do you deal with them? I’m guessing you don’t.

Author: Louis

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

2 thoughts on “Re-inventing the wheel – Week 38 as a PhD student”

  1. Ah I’d leave well alone when your supervisor shows no common sense. If she’s a bit ditzy she will have had lots of people try to set her straight and she’ll be sensitive about it. It’s best just to accept her for who she is.

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  2. How do you deal with them? You attempt to redirect them to a different subject. It sounds like she might not have an outlet for her stress, so it builds overtime to critical capacity and comes out at social gatherings.
    You could gently tell her about the “unwritten rule”. In a nice way, of course, like “Let’s not worry about research for a bit. How about you tell us… about that trip you took last week/your pet/your thoughts on whether deep dish pizza is superior to all other pizzas/etc.” Choose your own adventure and see where she takes you.

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