Research Updates | April 2020

April Calendar (March/May)
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This is an ongoing post of research updates during the month. Updates are provided every few days, and you can easily reach the update by clicking the link in the calendar.
4/7/20 – slow and steady wins the race

Modeling is still going strong. Sadly, the code I had running at school was reset, I assume from a power outage? If it happens again I will probably stop running code at school. Meanwhile, Jahnavi and I have gotten into the rhythm of reading pretty much every day. My comps are being set in July (date TBD?). I don’t love that idea, but I would rather do that then start our time back on campus stressed to the max. I think it’s also less intimidating over video. In other news, I have begun making an outline for a paper write up of the stuff I am working on. I suppose working on that will help prepare me for comps as I think more and more about what I am doing and the background around it. Although, I need figure out a good pattern to studying. I think once I met up with my committee I will get a better idea what I need to study.

4/14/20 – Writing, Studying, Modeling, and Time Management

Modeling has continued as ever. I am fast approaching the point where I will have to reasses my results to decide if there are any points missing. I think I may have everything I need for HCN after the next week or so which is great seeing as I need to start composing a paper of this stuff. I haven’t actually made any progress on that front. Pretty much all of the work I’ve done has been toward an introduction chapter for my thesis. The purpose there is to use that as a means to study. I am not sure how or if I am going to handle doing that and the paper I need to write.

I am waiting on feedback from Gerhard and I got some feedback (more pending) from Rick. I’ve composed an outline for my Chapter 1 thesis, but I am thinking I will start focusing on the area he mentioned which was terrestrial understanding of organics in ice as he does not seem convinced that this sea ice model is applicable (or so is the implication I’ve garnered). I think the problem is he’s thinking on a molecular level when this is a bit larger. As I have described before, we are modeling “average” inclusions in the form of brine channels. In a 1-D model we can’t detail the actual channels, but is more of a bulk look at the system. I intend to document terrestrial studies (limited by life which may act differently) and the basic chemistry/physics. Of course, I will also compare this to clathrates which are different all together than what we expect to find here.

This week I returned to my handy-dandy pomodoro timer. I am going to start using that to help motivate myself to work. Again, 6-8 pomodoro’s is the goal. Today, I ended up doing 4 which sounds so bad, but I expect its the best I’ve accomplished as of yet. As I’ve said before, I work well with goals and boundaries. I am hoping this will help motivate me because it becomes a challenge of sorts. If I want to read, I need to work; the sooner I focus the sooner I will be done with what really isn’t that big of a goal, especially without others around to distract. Although, I am including meetings in this which isn’t exactly “focused work,” but I figure given the situation I can justify being a little lenient with myself.

On the side of self care, I’ve had a good run of focused reading. I also have a decent biking routine; every(ish) evening or night I go for an hour or so bike ride. It is a beautiful ride at night. Plus, there are fewer people (next to none). You can see one of my rides below and more pictures above.

4/22/20 – So so goings on

Things have improved somewhat. It is a little embarrassing to discuss my proficiency, but things have improved. My goal everyday is 6-8 pomodor timers, same at work. Over the last week I’ve ranged from 4-7 pomodors a day, I’d guess ~5 on average. I suppose compared to my goals that really isn’t that bad, but it still feels so insufficient. I’m working on improving my sleep schedule, but it’s hard. Just last night I went to bet at 1:30 and woke up at 7:30 because I’ve become accustomed to limited sleep. Then when I wake up that early, it is hard to get up and to work because it feels like free time which is absurd. Its the time I need to get to my 6-8 pomodor’s.

Work wise, models are going slow. One crashed when I accidentally unplugged my computer and it died over night (luckily one stayed in hibernation or something). I also finished grading the astrobiology reports with Jahnavi, and to our surprise, we were pretty close in our grades. Other than that, I had a fantastic weekend participating in the #StayHome Reading Rush. It was great reading experience, and I think I left it a little less stressed. I definitely wasn’t feeling as many anxiety symptoms by the time it was over. You can watch my vlog of that on my channel if you’re interested in hearing more!

Here is a short video of my ride (as I don’t #StayHome) one evening. I made it for my vlog and decided to upload it alone to my personal YouTube page too.
4/24/20 – Living the Loop

Have you ever seen lost? There is this iconic introduction of this one character, Desmond, in a bunker, and we basically see his daily routine that never ends, until it does. To quote Carl Sagan, “That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.” That is why I know how important it is I nail down a routine here. Honestly, I think I have a pretty steady work flow. It isn’t as much as I’d like, but it’s a matter of refining the routine. That said, there are days, that is, yesterday, that aren’t great. Thursday was not a good day for work. It was very unproductive. I had hoped to make up for it on Friday, but that didn’t happen. I’m probably going to pull in 6 pomodors today when all is said and done.

We’re over a month in. Should I be past this point? Should be I lying here, or, at least be less up front about all this? Maybe I’m too comfortable. In any case, I’m getting some work done. I am really liking the Titan reading sessions with Jahnavi; that is the one thing we do fairly consistently. Today, I also got some paper writing done. My goal is 3 or so pomodors for writing and reviewing each. That didn’t happen, and I didn’t end up reviewing today. I have imported my relevant proposal info into my manuscript file. now, I am working on refining it and adding parts I need that weren’t in the proposal. That is results and a discussion of my thermal model which will act as a review.

I didn’t do it today, but I want to spend my current thesis time reviewing specific papers. Write up what I learn in a way that can fit into my thesis but also work as a standalone review. I feel weird talking about it instead of doing it, but #goals I guess.

4/27/20 Paper update

Today was not a bad day. I am on my 7th pomodor (updating my blog being the task). I spent most of my time working on my manuscript. I was making some tables about the variables being used, and reached the point where I need to talk about the results and the fits we use to approximate them. I looked at the results I’ve produced in the last few weeks in MATLAB. They are not great. The results using dz = 10 cm look different, and I need to figure out why. I’ve started coding lower concentrations that I have data for at dz = 10 cm to compare and see what the difference is. I need to figure out if its an overall problem with using 10 cm, or if there is something else I am missing. If dz doesn’t work, I am at a loss how to move forward because it doesn’t want to work with the usual dz = 1 cm.

Honestly, the fact that it doesn’t want to run at 1 cm for higher concentrations doesn’t make sense. At the higher concentrations, the system remains stagnant, and doesn’t convect when it does for the higher density difference. The only other change is a lowering in the melting temperature. I couldn’t pinpoint the problem the last time I reviewed the code, but I think I may go over it again and try to figure out why the critical Rayleigh number isn’t being reached.

Since I spent the day focusing on the paper and the results for it, I think I’ll devote tomorrow to thesis review starting by reviewing a few papers. I had hoped to do it today, but I got carried away with the 1D model issues.

2 Replies to “Research Updates | April 2020”

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