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PhD – Random Writings

Travelling among unknown men, in lands beyond the sea

Last Build Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2016 20:21:44 +0000


An ideal environment for research

Sat, 05 Oct 2013 21:18:17 +0000

I’ve been very fortunate to work in a number of research institutions over the years. These are places set up specifically for people to work on new discoveries and developments – in my case, mostly in engineering, though it applies equally to many other fields. I really, really love good research institutions, and this evening […]

Data management

Fri, 20 Sep 2013 20:06:50 +0000

There’s a software-developer maxim that I heard recently, which is “if you’re writing code, you should be using source control”. Source control, also known as version control, is a system that looks after all the code that you write and stores it, and data about all the changes you make to it, in a form […]

Things I learned from my PhD

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 21:37:34 +0000

Despite the title, this isn’t going to be a post about HF radio in the polar regions (which was the subject of my thesis). It’s more a compilation of thoughts about how I went about my PhD and how I would have done it differently with the benefit of hindsight. I’m going to divide this […]

End of the PhD, finally…

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 18:56:54 +0000

My PhD is now over – all bar a few bits of administration! My internal examiner was satisfied with my corrections and the thesis has now been printed and bound. I had a drink with two of my supervisors to celebrate and give them copies of the finished thesis (as is traditional). All that remains […]

October is here…

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 20:09:55 +0000

…and my revised PhD thesis (now with 37% more words!) has gone to my internal examiner. He promises to get back to me by the end of the week. I’ll keep you posted.

Viva voce

Sun, 27 Mar 2011 20:53:38 +0000

My viva was on Friday afternoon. This is the traditional conclusion to a PhD, when the candidate is examined orally by two or more examiners about the work that they’ve done. The examiners also give their opinions on the candidate’s thesis. At most universities, one examiner comes from your own university and another (the “external” […]

Day 13: more work, less cruising

Thu, 24 Jun 2010 18:49:26 +0000

This morning I got rather carried away – I wrote over a thousand words, drew some pretty diagrams and received some Helpful and Interesting Data from a friendly Australian researcher. Suddenly it was 1pm and time to have lunch and go cruising! I motored round the corner into the centre of Stoke Bruerne, which was […]


Mon, 14 Jun 2010 18:21:28 +0000

I’m in Krakow this week – and before you ask, the boat has not mysteriously developed the ability to fly – although a narrowboat slung form a giant airship would be rather cool! I attended the European Geophysical Union conference in Vienna at the beginning of May, where I met Piotr Koperski who was presenting […]

Days 1 and 2 – a gentle farewell to the familiar

Tue, 25 May 2010 20:08:56 +0000

I left Cambridge on Monday afternoon at around half-past two. In the morning I’d run a few last-minute errands and then sat down to skim over a thesis from another researcher in the group to help give me ideas as to how to organise my own. The first leg was over very familiar territory – […]

The cruise begins here!

Mon, 24 May 2010 11:54:40 +0000

So, after a year of faffing about and talking about it, I’m about to embark on the first leg of the Writing Up cruise, heading out from Cambridge to Waterbeach (Clayhithe) this afternoon. I’ve had a productive morning sorting out the outline of my thesis, reviewing some literature and dealing with emails. Lots of people […]