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…

Overdue update on research progress

I realise that I’m very much overdue an update on my research progress, having posted very little so far and nothing in the last year.

Things are generally going well, although I still feel there is a lot to do and only a limited amount of time to do it in. This feeling of pressure is probably due to my colleague Sam, who is a year ahead of me in the IDCORE programme, frantically trying to get his thesis finished off this week. I know that I don’t need to be at the same stage as him — that I have 12 months of funding left — and that I am fairly well advanced with my research. But that doesn’t stop the nagging feeling of not having enough time left.

Continue reading “Overdue update on research progress”

2015 in numbers

Over the past year I have again been logging my activity and travel, and thought it would be interesting (for me if no-one else) to post an update on here. In 2015 I walked approximately 4.4 million steps, covering 2 900 km, and I cycled a further 2 050 km. This is slightly more walking than 2014, but about a third less cycling.

Continue reading “2015 in numbers”

Is ‘Climate Change’ too nice?

An interesting letter in New Scientist, suggesting that one of the the reasons we as a society have not done enough about climate change is the name ‘global warming’—it makes it sound quite nice, especially for us in northern latitudes. And some thoughts following the COP21 agreement in Paris.

There was a really interesting letter in New Scientist a few weeks ago, suggesting that one of the the reasons we as a society have not done enough about climate change is the name ‘global warming’—it makes it sound quite nice, especially for us in northern latitudes. I include the whole letter below, Continue reading “Is ‘Climate Change’ too nice?”

Book Review: “News from…” trilogy

This is a somewhat overdue review of the sci-fi “News from…” trilogy by Robert Llewellyn.

news-from-trilogyThis is a somewhat overdue review of the sci-fi News from… trilogy by Robert Llewellyn (probably most famous for Red Dwarf and Scrapheap Challenge). I have been meaning to write about these great books for a several months now, but haven’t got round to it for one reason or another. Continue reading “Book Review: “News from…” trilogy”

European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, Nantes

Thoughts about my 2015 trip to Nantes where I presented my research at the EWTEC conference.

At the start of September 2015, I travelled to Nantes in western France, to attend the 11th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (EWTEC). As part of the conference, I presented my research on measurements of the current generation in FloWave. Continue reading “European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, Nantes”

European rail trip, part 5: Amsterdam and home by ferry

Amsterdam, a city of canals and bikes. Lots of bikes. And what better way to explore the city, than a hire bike. Then it was finally time to head back to the UK, by ferry to Newcastle.

Exploring AmsterdamTypical Amsterdam

On my first morning in Amsterdam, I decided after a brief walk around the centre to take a boat trip around some of the many canals. This was well worth the €15, firstly for different viewpoint afforded by the boat, but also the captain and guide was knowledgeable, pointing out and explaining things in addition to the standard multi-lingual commentary. Continue reading “European rail trip, part 5: Amsterdam and home by ferry”

European rail trip, part 4: Overnight to Köln

The return journey began with a sleeper train to Köln, where I visited the impressive cathedral, and some of the other sites, before heading on my way again

SchlafwagenI still had an hour or so to wait once I finished my meal, but thanks to the information on Seat61, I knew I was allowed to make use of the 1st class lounge with my sleeper ticket. So I sat with my free glass of wine and nibbles, watched the world go by, and caught up on the latest news. Continue reading “European rail trip, part 4: Overnight to Köln”