Sunday, April 26, 2015

My So-Called Obsessive Life.


We've been spending a lot of time in the lab these days working on 'applied' projects.

Which is a long way from the old days where everything was discovery-based.

There are all kinds of differences between the two, the biggest of which is that there is no net underneath the discovery stuff.

There is also no blueprint, which means you really have to be on top of the thing to pull something meaningful out of the hat at the end.

Which is something that gets harder and harder to do if you are an experimentalist and an academic moving towards geezerhood.

Mostly because you increasingly spend parts of your 10,000 hours working on all that non-experimental stuff that academics do. Which is important institutionally, but it is also the kind of stuff that any self-respecting kid sneers at when they are in the throes of total obsession-hood.


We've still got one more pure discovery paper to get out with a former gradual student who was the real driver of the project.

And I'm pretty sure the paper is going to be good.


This weekend I holed up in the subterranean blues room and did my best to get as obsessive as possible in an effort to get the thing ready to send out to the collaborators.

Which I've just done.

And, speaking of kidness and obsessiveness and all that....Boy have I ever listened to a lot of Green Day in the last 36 hours.

Mashed keyboard in image above?....Actually kind of proud of that....Guitar fret fingers!



scotty on denman said...

Q: which is more serendipitous, pure or applied science? (I actually was just stumbling across this question when I saw your post).

RossK said...


Whew...That's a tough one.

Because to do real good pure science you've got to be really, really well prepared which takes some of the serendipity out of the thing before you even start I reckon.

On the flip side, applied is to a large degree crank turning and better mouse trap building.

Thing is, sometimes things can come out of nowhere even with the applied work despite the fact that you try to control things as much as possible to make sure that what you have at the end can be clearly interpreted one way or the other.

In the main, though, I'd say that there is more serendipity involved in pure stuff, especially because there you are more likely to follow-up, hard, on a negative result if it looks like it could lead to something interesting. A whole lotta more ups and downs there though.


North Van's Grumps said...

Your image, reminds me, reading to the Grand Children, every one of these: I spy Photographs by Walter Wick Riddles by Jean marzollo

Eleanor Gregory said...

Well I have been wrapped up this weekend in compiling a legal opinion that should have been straightforward. Unfortunately, the case law and legal commentary are a little muddled. That said, I can finally say with respect to this project that I have produced something for which I do not have to apologize for the length of my letter because I didn't take (have) the time to write something shorter.

Rusty M said...

I've lost your e-mail address.

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