And so the thesis writing begins

After nearly three years of research, I have started the long and arduous process of writing up. I am going to use LaTeX to compile my writing, mainly because it makes it easier to make beautiful looking documents. Also word processing packages have a nasty habit of corrupting the formatting, and make numbering of equations difficult.

In January I pulled together my notes and various bits of writing into a first semblance of a structure. I had started most of the writing in Word, but using the LibreOffice export plugin I have mentioned previously, I was able to convert this to basic LaTeX fairly easily. I have since added in plots from MATLAB, which I had been avoiding inserting into Word, as it doesn’t handle images in a sensible vector format (e.g. SVG, EPS, PDF). Continue reading “And so the thesis writing begins”

Research update: optimism and pessimism

With about nine months to go until I am due to hand in my thesis, I am periodically cycling between optimism and pessimism as to how I am progressing. I know that I have managed to pull together a reasonably solid body of work, which my supervisors assure me will be sufficient to complete my doctorate. There is still the small matter of finishing this off, and writing it up in a coherent manner, which I know will take time and effort, but I do still have a few months for this.

That said, there is a nagging concern that I’ve not done enough. I have often heard it said that after a Ph.D., one knows everything there is to know about a tiny specialised area of knowledge, having pushed the boundary of human knowledge in a small but measurable way. This feels like the opposite to my research — I have looked at quite a broad range of topics, but covered none of them in that much detail, or so it seems.

As I am working towards an Engineering Doctorate (Eng.D.) it needs to be focused on the requirements of the sponsoring company, and as such producing a portfolio of work is quite normal, as far as I understand. I am also lucky to be based at a new and unique facility, working in a relatively little studied area of marine energy. Therefore it is perhaps easier in some respects to do novel research, as fewer people have already published on similar topics. Conversely, my research doesn’t fit into a well defined gap in existing knowledge, so setting limits on what is and isn’t important becomes more critical in order to produce a coherent piece of work. In the words of Steve Jobs, there’s always “one more thing”.

The insomnia isn’t helping though…

First semester finished

I have just completed the first semester of my course. The course organisers were not joking when they described the taught section of the course as “intensive”. So far we have covered six modules, in each going from knowing comparatively little, to writing reports and presenting on the subject for 10-15 minutes just two weeks later! Continue reading “First semester finished”

Back to academia

After nine years working for the multi-disciplinary consultancy Mott MacDonald, I have decide to go back to academia, and undertake some further research.

I will be working towards an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Offshore Renewable Energy at the Industrial Doctoral Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE). Continue reading “Back to academia”