Monday, March 13, 2006

A Researcher's Prayer

Grant, oh God, thy benedictions
On my theory’s predictions
Lest the facts, when verified,
Show thy servant to have lied.

May they make me BSc,
A PhD and then
A DSc and FRS,
A Times Obit. Amen.

Oh, Lord, I pray, forgive me please,
My unsuccessful syntheses,
Thou know’st, of course – in thy position –
I’m up against such competition.

Let not the hardened editor,
With referee to quote,
Cut all my explanation out
And print it as a note.

-Proceedings of the Chemical Society, January 1963, pp 8-10
(Quoted in A Random Walk in Science, an anthology published by the Institute of Physics in 1973)
* comic strip from Piled Higher and Deeper, 28 January 2005

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Fiat lux et facta est lux

My thesis (argument) only took shape in July 2004 - three years after I started the research and having worked on two field experiments. The primordial soup of ideas for the argument itself took three months to take shape in my head. I was forced to put them down in a structured form only because I was scheduled to do a seminar presentation to the school that month of July. In hindsight, that very much dreaded seminar was a blessing in disguise. Yet, I still mulled over the argument outline for about a couple of months and only started REALly writing the thesis (dissertation) after that. This meant that the final writing stage of my dissertation was from October 2004 to May 2005. Those eight 'home run' months were the most stressful ever of the whole duration of the PhD work.
* comic strip from Piled Higher and Deeper, 17 May 2000

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

In retrospect...

This web log was inspired by the blogs of two graduate students (Stewgad and Zelda). Going over the chronicles of their 'struggles' to finish their PhDs gave me a somewhat uncanny feeling. Having chosen to go to graduate school myself, I have gone through a similar path that I can clearly identify with their experiences. This blog will be the chronicle of my own struggles in retrospect.

I have recently just been awarded the PhD, graduated in December 2005, having completed the thesis in October 2005. I would like to provide an accounting of how and why choosing to do work towards getting THE degree was one of the best choices I ever made.

It has only been a little over a year ago that I began to write my dissertation...

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