Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Learning from Negative Example Part III

Posts one and two in this series.

Things I've recently learned from my advisor:

Don't leave town unannounced the day before a senior student's (hopefully) final data meeting
That student will be incredibly frustrated and angry when they can't find you, and only learn where you are by asking other professors if they've seen you. Younger students will start worrying about our own odds of ever graduating...

Let the movers lift the heavy things
Yes, it's a very delicate piece of equipment. But the man who can bench 200 lbs and lifts heavy things for a living will be able to set it down more gently than you, especially after you've thrown out your back already. 

Learn to adapt to new technology
Just because you learned to program in Fortran77 doesn't mean advancements haven't been made, that allow such crazy options as using descriptive variable names, and having lines more than 72 characters long. Every single programming language I know of got rid of go to statements for a reason...

Don't expect students to know exactly what other students on unrelated projects are doing
My role is to work on my project, and work with the members of my group doing anything related to my project. If there are people in the group who work in other physical locations, don't expect me to know what they've been doing: they aren't here while they're doing it and I have my own stuff to worry about. It's a good day when I remember what I'm doing...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May Madness

Since I started graduate school May has consistently been the busiest month of my year. This year, I'm preparing data for a conference talk I'm giving, trying to make sure there are new results related to multiple projects before the annual reviews in June, trying to get the paper out the door, now that my advisor finally gave it back to me, and all sorts of other fun. At least this year I'm not planning a wedding, and the talk does not require magical data fairy powers to be engaged.

Blogging has been slow. Between coding, writing up bits of manuscripts and end-of-semester minion wrap-up, my writing energy has been occupied. So here's my plea: if there's a material or materials science question you've always wondered about, send it to ms dot matscieng at gmail dot com, or leave it as a comment, and I will try to write something about it. The hardest part of blogging is definitely coming up with appropriate ideas.