Dipping my toes into org-mode

I’ve taken one of the older but still very capable laptops in my collection and put it to use as my “school” computer.  The goal is to have something I can lug around and use for research, number crunching, and my research notebook.  Then I don’t have to worry about trying to keep all that stuff in sync if I were to use my work and home desktop computers.

My handwriting can get pretty messy, and even I have a hard time reading my own handwriting sometimes.  I decided I wanted to do some kind of electronic lab notebook to keep my research notes, data, bibliography, and whatnot. 

I’ve been making an effort to spend more time in Emacs, and I have a few developer friends who rave about org-mode, so it seemed like a promising choice.

A quick Google search returned a few blog posts by people who are already using org-mode for research lab notes and writing papers and other research related tasks.  Plenty of prior work out there to learn from as I develop my own workflow.

Back on the PhD wagon

Learned earlier this week that my application to be readmitted to the Clemson-MUSC Bioengineering PhD program was approved, so I’ll be a student again starting with the Spring 2019 semester.

Fortunately, I won’t have to take anymore courses. Just need to figure out the research project(s), do the research, and then write everything up.

Easy peasy, right?

The semester starts January 9, so I get to be a student for my birthday.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time…”

– Me, 2009.  Me again, 2018
PhD Comics: Raiders of the Lost Dissertation  by Jorge Cham
PhD Comics: Raiders of the Lost Dissertation

PhD take 2?

After having to end my attempt at a PhD with the MUSC/Clemson Bioengineering program five years ago, my Clemson supervisor asked me if I’d be interested in going back to finish it.  It was unexpected and took me a bit by surprise.

Going into the third year of the program, work demands had reached the point where I could either continue to get all the testing done in a timely fashion and let the research drag along, or continue with the research and end up getting behind on the equipment testing and all the other work.  Getting behind on the testing would get me and the hospital in trouble with state regulators, so I decided I needed to shelve my PhD ambitions for the time being.

With all of the required course work behind me (I think), my former supervisor seems to think that with a good project I could get the research  and thesis finished in about a year and a half.  I still have to get past the qualifier, though.

So far everybody seems to think it’s a good idea and that I should do it.

As I found out last time, this is a big undertaking that I’m not sure I can find the time for.  Work demands have only gone up over the past five years, and with three new MUSC centers opening up next year they’re going to go up even more.

I probably wouldn’t even be considering the possibility of going back to the PhD if it wasn’t for Connie throwing her support behind me.  Taking on a PhD is basically the same as another full time job (at least), and without her being willing to pick up the things I won’t be able to do once I’m started, restarting the PhD would definitely be a no.

It’s a big decision to make, and there is a lot to think about.

Seminar progress

3 days left to go and I think I’m about half finished with my seminar presentation. Probably won’t be as in-depth as it could be, but I think it will be enough. My audience aren’t exactly experts in the field.
Qualifier is looming big and large and will involve a lot of writing. I also need to write up a fairly extensive literature review as well. Better start hunting. My Pubmed-fu will be getting a pretty good workout and there will be lots of stuff to read.

Seminar topic: Energy imparted

Next week I have to give a presentation for my seminar class.
I decided to dump the one I’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks because I don’t think I’ll be able to throw together anything coherent enough yet using the data I have.
I have a week to finish up my new topic, which is essentially going to be something of a literature review.
Now I have to finish reviewing.