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alkamid

Living in the Cambridge bubble

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2017

05-01 - The Day of the Draft

14h30 in the fourth week of writing, 2h30 last week. To my defence, last week I was sorting out things in the lab, taking a few (maybe) last measurements, cl...

04-21 - Day 10 Before Draft

Time management problem here. 26 h (35 h planned) in the second week of writing and 9.5 h (30 planned) in the third. Fair enough, unexpected things happened,...

03-29 - Day 31 Before Draft

Quite surprisingly, thoroughness in processing did pay off last week. The yield increased from almost zero to over 50% which, for experimental science, is gr...

03-10 - Day 41 Before Draft

On day 66 BD I met my supervisor to go through the thesis plan. He confirmed my mixed feelings about the lack of experimental data for two chapters, but help...

02-21 - Day 68 Before Draft

I know when I will finish my PhD. Looking at my previous posts, it seems to be about six months later than the initial plan, but it will still be below the g...

2015

07-27 - Big Dive review, part I

Three weeks ago I came back from Big Dive, a five week course in data science. It is run every summer by TOP-IX in Turin, Italy. The organisers decided to te...

02-21 - Playability in Polish Scrabble

Strategy plays a prominent role in Scrabble. However, after playing for a while, you realise that only knowing more words can improve your results. When I us...

2014

07-01 - First Year Report

Let’s write about writing. Here in Cambridge, for the first year of my PhD I am not actually a PhD student — I am on the probationary year. By the end of Jun...

06-08 - Supervisions

They were my bane and excitement, my time wasters and the biggest stimulators, my challenges, depressants and uplifters. At times I thought they were my bigg...

02-28 - Lectures are too long!

I am sure this has been already investigated in scientific literature and I am probably reinventing the wheel, but it must finally come out of academic discu...

02-12 - Viva

The viva was somewhat less stressful than some of the most important exams that I had passed (one of them being the driving exam, a fact that I still laugh a...

11-15 - Festival of Ideas

Another great event which I must mention here: Festival of Ideas consists of talks, panel discussions, guided tours, exhibitions, concerts - essentially anyt...

11-05 - Money

Some time ago I promised to write about my sources of funding. It took me so long just because I wasn’t entirely sure about them until the last week.

10-29 - Physics at work

Each September, Cavendish organizes a big event for schoolchildren: Physics at Work. Teenagers come to the Institute and spend a few hours attending demonstr...

10-23 - How does a laser lase?

How do I know that my laser works properly? Obviously, I have to measure it somehow, because a human eye (or rather any eye) can’t see this radiation. In the...

09-15 - It's lasing!

It took me more than a month to fully process my first quantum cascade laser. Do not think that it normally takes so long; I just had to do things slowly to ...

08-03 - Aligning struggle

I have just realised that it has been two weeks since I last wrote… that is because I started my first QCL device processing a couple of days ago and spent m...

07-19 - Etching

This is the second part of this story. When the mask and the sample are aligned, the latter has to be exposed to UV light for a few seconds. We use a positiv...

07-13 - Cleanroom! (HEMT)

It is time to write about what I do in the lab, because you would soon conclude that the only thing I am doing here is sightseeing. I am sorry that there are...

07-10 - Roger Penrose

Famous places attract famous people. Or it might as well be the opposite. Anyway, living in such place at least gives you opportunities to see, listen to, an...

07-09 - First days

I am sure this is going to be a really nice work. Why? Because of the team. Emma met me upon my arrival in Cavendish and gave me a brief tour of the Mott bui...

07-02 - Arrival

Here I am. Stansted airport is quite big so getting to the train station in 15 minutes and reclaiming your baggage on the way AND with a strike of the border...

06-29 - Paperwork

I am still not sure about my sources of funding so I will wait with writing about them until I know more. However, most of the paperwork required by both uni...

06-25 - The motivation letter

As soon as I came back home from the university, I started to write a letter to professor Littlewood. I introduced myself and I wrote a short description of ...

06-23 - The story begins

It would not have been possible if I had not studied at such a good university. It would not be possible without academic staff ready to help me. Lastly, it ...