Monday, January 26, 2009

2009 - Reasonable Expectations


Tuesday afternoon I am leaving Perth for Italy to perform some experiments at Sincrotrone Trieste. This will be my third visit and I'm really hoping to get some good physics out this time so I can progress in my PhD. After I have finished a seven day stint (16-20 Hour Days, Italian Pizza, Lots of Italian Coffee) I will be spending roughly a week in England where I will visit some long lost relatives of which only one I have met here in Australia.

I can't say my PhD is going along well at all. I had a number of set backs in 2008 which slowed my progress. This includes numerous delays in rebuilding the equipment from scratch, a sick mother, constant migraines and a return of a general malaise and questions about my present and future. I moved back home with my parents late 2007 after being bullied by my then housemates and things have not been the same since. The only highlight being meeting a beautiful girl from the US, which ended after religious differences early 2008.

The first thing I want to do when I get back from England is look to move out of my parents home and into an apartment by myself. I've been given a $5,000 per annum pay rise for my scholarship thanks to the university's acknowledgement that the scholarship is not enough to live on - so that should go into finding a place to rent. Current prices for a one bedroom, one bathroom flat are around $180 per week! Compared to $150 last year and $120 the year before...The rental market in Perth is insane and I doubt this "economic downturn" will dampen this.

Come early March and university starts again so I will be looking after some third year students doing their labs. My sister is also due to give birth to her third child and first boy Tyson Matthew and late March will be my 25th birthday. Depending on how things work out I might decide to take a proactive role in the Atheist and Agnostic Society (if anyone can be bothered - last year there were quite a number of members who joined but nothing ever happened) especially for Darwin's 250th anniversary.

The last pieces of equipment have arrived so I can redesign the voltage supplies for my experiment at UWA. With any luck I will get to start doing some experiments again late February, early March (providing nothing goes wrong...). From this either a new apparatus needs to be built or the one I have built will produce something meaningful (highly doubtful as it was only designed to be a prototype). We should also have a third member to our team when a new post doctorate is chosen by my supervisor. Picture on the right is a test and confirmation of the effectiveness of our apparatus.

Our aim is to visit the synchrotron every six months (we are commercialising a device for use in the next generation synchrotrons; so I obviously cannot go into it here!) for testing and to hopefully find some Physics too. All together the experiments at home and in Italy comprise my PhD, contingent on what happens. I have a fear that I will not discover new physics or have enough in one and a half years time to complete my PhD. (My scholarship only lasts for a further year and a half, but I can continue without getting paid)

What worries me most is that I feel as if I am starting to burnout and lose interest in life in general. I miss my mojo and I need to find it again!