A New Year

Well it’s been very silent from me on the web site/blog front for some time now. In fact, since I began writing up my PhD I’ve not posted anything. You’ll be glad to hear that I submitted my PhD at the stat of May last year, had my viva in September and then finally got my corrections all agreed in early November. There was a bit of faffing while I waited for the go-ahead to print. Eventually I was able to order up printed copies, they arrived in early December at which point the required printed and digital copy was submitted. I’m still waiting for some sort of official piece of paper to confirm the whole process. However for me the submission of the printed copied marked my PhD as being truly done and dusted. Rachel and I went out to celebrate.

If you are interested you can download and read my PhD from here.

So you may wonder if I submitted back in May why haven’t I been more in touch with the world. Well the simple answer is work, it’s been hectic. My plan had always been to try and finish my PhD in 3 years. So in the summer before last I started looking around for jobs and eventually accepted an offer to start work in November 2008. Unfortunately writing up took a bit longer than I hoped, possibly because I was writing too much and getting stuck trying to get simulations to agree nicely with my experimental results. Popping to Canada for Gus’s wedding didn’t help and then rather sadly my Granny Mary passed away in September. When I started work I had about 6 pages of one experimental chapter left to write along with another complete experimental chapter and my conclusion. At the rate I had been writing I knew there was probably about a months work, if I was doing my normal thesis writing i.e. all day, every day of the week. November was a write off as most of my stuff was still in London (Rachel moved up in December) and I lacked an internet connection. December and January were hectic in work and I think it was around February before I got those six pages written. What followed was months of working during the day at my job to come home and spend my nights and weekends writing that remaining chapter. That sucked and that chapter is by and far the weakest of my thesis and caused me the most grief in my viva. In the end I took a week off at the end of April to finish the whole thing off and get it submitted. I can only recommend that you should avoid trying to write up the end of a PhD whilst working. It drags the whole thing out and saps your will to live even more than normal.

Work was very busy for me in 2009. I’m now working for Coherent in Scotland which means I’m now living up in Glasgow rather than sunny warm London. You may think that London is not famed for being sunny and warm, this is true but compared to Glasgow it is. For instance the temperature has hardly crept much above zero in Glasgow for the last couple of weeks. Summer and most of the year consists mainly of rain. I didn’t think it would be so bad, after all I grew up in Northern Ireland, not exactly famed for being warm and dry. But Glasgow is definitely wetter and colder and if you don’t believe me have a look at the Met Office Data. Apart from the cold and wet weather, Glasgow is quite a pleasant place. It’s a fairly small city (though it is the 4th biggest city in the UK, there’s just such a big difference between London and everywhere else). The suburbs definitely sprawl and a lot of people in work seem to commute in from somewhere else, but the city centre is fairly compact and easy enough to walk across if you’re fit. The one big plus point of Glasgow is that it is close to some great mountains and easy to get out off.

Well that’s enough for this post. Hopefully I’ll start to post some more. I can’t be completely disconnected from the digital world:)

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One Response to A New Year

  1. BJ says:

    Glad to hear you are doing well. I was watching the opening ceremony for the winter olympics and when Ireland came through, I thought, “whatever happened to Burly”. I worked at Bear Paw Scout Camp the summer you were an exchange scout. (unless there are more than one of you from Norther Ireland.) Anyway, don’t be a stranger. Stop in and drop a line to some of your former staff members on the bulletin boards at http://www.bpsc.org.

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