Thursday, 28 June 2012

June is Ending

View from Sandymount/Sydney Parade across Dublin bay towards Howth head.

I just saw Terry Pratchett, watched a live stream of his talk at Science Gallery and then went over for a coffee at, funnily enough, the exact time he was leaving. Oh how coincidental, you'd swear I planned it >.>
Unfortunately I didn't bring the Discworld book I'm currently reading for him to sign but I wouldn't really have wanted to bother him, he was already surrounded by fans anyway.

Same old life other than that, data analysis, finding and reading papers about Z-pinch experiments, the latest EUV results and the odd few laser ablation papers with novel setups. So many papers, my Mendeley (highly recommend for citations, paper arranging and backup etc.) is ever stocking up. Somehow I've managed to put 9,841 scientific papers, books & manuals on my office computer... Luckily with Mendeley I could sort these and so not get perpetually lost in information when trying to cite someone specific.

Also my, I say my because it's the laser I've used most for the past 3 years and I love it, Surelite Nd:YAG seems to be fixed once again. Looks like it was just a faulty flashlamp, I had replaced it as pretty much the first response to the initial failure but it looks like the new flashlamp wasn't up for the task. In any case it looks to be working now, will run it again later on and tomorrow to make sure it's functioning, maybe take an energy measurement and burn pattern too. Will need it working perfectly for my next experiment in August.
There are lots of other things I really need to sort for this experiment too, fingers crossed I can get it all to slot neatly into place. If anyone knows who that guy I talked to at a conference about the cheap EUV filters his group made was, please tell me. It's this reason everyone should make up business cards (not that I have any), I can never remember names.

Honey dressed up for the day by her fabulous stylist Odette.

Odette & I had the lovely Honey as a house guest for this last weekend gone, a big dog in a small cottage. Could be a good book. The accursed Irish summer weather in all its undependable glory meant we didn't take her on a walk at all (the poor pup) but we did dress her up! That makes it so much worse right! Hahaha. Odette got better pictures of Honey sat in an armchair with a beret on, she really is a patient dog.

Otherwise I don't have a huge amount to report, I am loving Post Crossing and trying to get more people to get into A Show with Ze Frank (and the Finishing Stamp mission). Cooking with Odette lots, she has restarted her cooking blog and is continuing her YouTube channel. Kevin has started an instructional cooking blog too.
'Tis the season I guess! (whatever convinced me to get back blogging at the same time)
I feel like this post looks like a very poorly edited wiki page of someone's conversation to the demons in their head.
Send help.

View east along the Liffey from Grattan bridge showing the Millennium bridge & Ha'penny bridge.

View from the bridge over the duck pond in Saint Stephen's Green.

Tide in at Sandymount/Sydney Parade (not exactly the same location as the 1st image).

All pictures from now on will be mine, do with them as you will, pretend they are yours, email me a picture of you and I will photoshop us both into them and we can say we once hungout in Dublin... with Elvis.. and a llama.

Monday, 18 June 2012

A lack of blogging

So, this is where I left you off, nearly a year ago and the beginning of a huge experimental investigation of our Laser Triggered Vacuum Arc lamp (LAVA-lamp). I haven't as yet published any papers on this work but have presented a couple posters. Here's one poster, presented at the 2011 International Workshop on EUV & Soft X-Ray Sources, 7-9 Nov, UCD (N.B. font went a bit bonkers, save the page and open pdf to see it properly). I won best poster for it actually (modest as ever I am), was absolutely chuffed.
But yes, the experiment went really well, gathered a huge amount of data, was wonderful to work alongside Larissa on it. That work finished up in late October due to other deadlines and the analysis is ongoing (due to the volume of data and other engagements). Over all I have to say the last 3 years of PhD have flown by, it's a little shocking really, but I have loved it. I'd recommend any physics student who enjoys working on interesting and challenging projects to get out there, contact groups who's work you find interesting. There's always an intern position somewhere and it's such a great way to learn what research is like (and earn a bit of money sometimes too).
One more year left myself now, the big thesis write up to do and a whole pile of papers and theory to brush up on. Practise makes perfect but re-reading is Always a bonus, you'll never keep exactly the right time without checking back every now and then. It's scary but it's fun and I'm so lucky to have fallen into such a good group and such an interesting project. Plasmas are all around us you know, every day, most of the universe is in a plasma state, everything came from plasma too in the very beginning. Without our local massive globe of plasma our planet wouldn't support life. It's nice to be able to try grasp these things sometimes, forget any real physics and just think about what we are. Those immortal heart wrenching words We are star stuff. You have to admit it's fun to think about that, and if you don't think so then I'm sorry you can't see the wonder in the things around you. Wonderment is the most important thing in life, without it what's the point.
Anyway this is getting ranty and that wasn't my point for this post. I just wanted to write something because life is flying by! So it's good to have a record of where I once stood and what the air was like, how were the natives, what was the view like. The biggest news I have in life is I've been living with my lovely Odette for just over a month now in a pretty little cottage. Really loving it, it's going to be a fun year full of adventure I'm sure. I hope everyone else is well out there, lots of hardships but I hope there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Until nextime I guess.

View off Killiney hill, looking south towards Bray head.

Blackrock baths looking north west towards Dublin city centre.

Hanko finishing stamps for one of Ze Frank's missions.