Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Summer Time and the Living's Easy

Here at CU, it's been academic summer for nearly 6 weeks now and for me that means that for the past 6 weeks I have been doing just one thing: research. That's right - no homework assignments, no lectures to attend, no grad student meetings, just pure research. Oh how I love the summer.

Don't misunderstand me - classes, homework, and grad student meetings have their place and are very important, but they do serve to clutter up my schedule. For example, here's the contents of my Google Calendar (which is the only thing that keeps me sane and where I need to be during the school year) for April 7:

08:00 - 08:30 Register for Classes
09:00 - 10:50 Survey Kyle's Students*
11:00 - 11:50 Astrophysical and Space Plasmas (Lecture)
12:00 - 12:50 Collunchium (Lunch with Colloquium Speaker)
13:00 - 13:50 Observations and Statistics (Lecture)
14:30 - 15:50 Meet with Don*
16:00 - 16:50 Colloquium

On top of that, I also had to squeeze in a couple hours for research and a couple more for homework, not including the items marked with an asterisk which were already homework. All in all, it added up to a hectic day where I had to stop what I was doing and switch to something else about every hour.

Now compare that to my schedule for today:

08:00 - 18:00: Research

You see, the days are just a long (in some cases a bit longer) in terms of hours worked, but instead of running around and working on a half dozen totally different things, I get to focus on a single objective. Today, for example, I am monitoring a couple of simulations that test a new sub-grid scale model for our code, running a simulation to explore a particularly interesting dynamo case where the simulated star just can't seem to find a stable configuration, and analyzing data from that simulation to explore why it can't find its happy place. In other words, all of my efforts are focused on improving our understand of how stars generate their magnetic fields.

So, what are you doing this summer? With any luck, you're blissfully doing research as well, but there are other worthwhile pursuits. I hope your summers are as enjoyable and relaxing as mine.


  1. After this week I am doing exactly what you are doing. Research, Research, Research. I will work long days too, but half of the time I can be at home getting things done.

  2. Sounds like my summer. I tried to get a summer job but nobody wants to hire a BS in physics for 2 months. The only thing about my research is that I have to change it all. You may remember my post from a little while ago, well that changes some things and I also found out that a PhD in Brazil (Campinas) has already done a lot of the work I was trying to do. So now I'm trying to figure out what he has done how to go from there.

  3. Ahhh, scooped by a Brazilian physicist...

    Those Brazilian's are a smart bunch. You have to watch out for them...


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