Toward the end of my PhD, in 2008, I started a blog called Kinetically Constrained to talk about science and, as I was into it at the time, bad science. The name came from my thesis topic about kinetically constrained models of glass formers. It also played to that bigger feeling that, despite being such complex unique creatures, our choices are relatively constrained sometimes, and as a group we’re much more predictable than we might think. I used a Google service, called Blogger, which did everything I needed. Eventually I got a nice domain name and off I went. I stopped blogging in 2014 but recently want somewhere to put longer thoughts.
Posts with the tag communication:
One thing that makes me cross is that despite the terrifying amount of money our library pays to buy back our research in the form of journals, they’re still not terribly easy to read. I’ve got an e-reader now and I’d like to read things on that, just the sort of value-added that the publishers could do. Unfortunately everything is still just a pdf file only to be printed on A4. There are some utilities for coping with this but it’s not really ideal. I wanted to see how tough it is. So I tried to convert my last paper into something that would look nicer on an e-reader (in my case a kindle).
Most of my time is spent tirelessly chipping away at the scientific rock face, probably bogged down fixing a bug in my code or staring at some noisy looking data. Every now and then it all comes together and I want to tell people about it. So I write up my results as best I can, spend hours tinkering with figures, another few hours getting the fonts right on the axes, and after drafts and re-drafts, eventually I’ll send it away to a journal to be published. This is where I become caught up in the process of peer review.
I came across this new feature in the NYT via Science Blogs by Steven Strogatz. You may remember him from his paper with Duncan Watts on small-worlds that arguably kick started modern network theory. It looks like it’s going to be a regular series so I highly recommend adding the feed to your rss reader. The article that first caught my eye was called Rock Groups. It starts by differentiating between the serious side of arithmetic and the playful side. This is something I’ve long gone on about but never quite had the nice way of putting it like these guys do.