2019

Almost past a week into a new year and decade, I thought it is still not too late to pen down the summary of the last year. For me I can easily divide the year into two halves. As to state the obvious, this year too had its ups and downs and life was pretty unstable at one point. And then all of it felt like if ocean waves were playing with sand grains, arbitrary and continuous.

Pedernales states park, Texas.

Highs:
In ups of the last year, this year was a bit productive as I passed my qualifiers in September and published 2 papers in addition to a bioRxiv pre-print. Still, I felt I lagged behind what I planned and I hope 2020 will be better in terms of research productivity. Oh life! this is how it feels to be happy and content. Cheers to you! Just before thanksgiving, I presented static load work from our lab at APS DFD in Seattle. I was in awe of – what a beautiful city, Seattle is! I wish I could move to Seattle. Moving on, I visited just 3 state parks this year, and Pedernales tops the chart.

Lows:
On the downside, I could not finish the books I started reading, not a single one (pretty bad on this end). I hope, I will finish them this year. Also, I do need to resume running, procrastination is real. And I should have written much much more than a one or two posts. On behavior, I could have handled some situations in a better way and I could have been much more understanding.



The station.

I really fell short of my goals. Being in middle of my PhD, I must put up new micro-goals and follow them diligently. I am grateful to god for the best of the times and the takeaways! Afterall:

It's the journey that's important, Not the getting there!" 
John McLeod.

A new year, new hopes and new goals. One step at a time, one question at a time and one answer at a time. Till the next time…

On Qualifiers

I just passed my qualifying exam this week. After a very stressful phase of 6 weeks, I am finally relaxed. It feels like finishing a full marathon. The project involved working with Nd:YAG based laser. Initial three weeks were full of failures (I have a folder with videos of 100+ failed experiments). Setup finally worked in fourth week after so many modifications . With a feeling to fall short in timeline, I started processing, analysis and report writing simultaneously.

In process, I shifted my working time to night and ended up spending almost every night of last one and half month in the lab. Getting results slowly and working on the project timeline, I tried several parameters and proceeded with the important ones. I finished writing report a day earlier and spent the next day in paraphrasing. At a point, I felt writing is the hardest part in any project. Scientific writing comes with experience, eventually you get it. I am planning to write more… on blog, on updates on my future work and papers (and maybe grants?).

At night, Tech is a different place altogether. I used to go on little walks outside the engineering building for sometime around 3 am. Working at night comes with loneliness – with nearly zero interaction to any friend/co-worker. In terms of weather, working in lab at night was probably better to avoid people in lab while working on laser and commuting in hot sunny days.

Looking up : a still from one of the nights.

I might go for a trip in coming week (south or up north). I have not decided yet. But I am going outside Lubbock for some time for sure. I will be back with some updates from the journey .

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Hands on Foldscope – before the year ends !

It has been a long semester of mandatory coursework and some research sideways and it has come to an end. New year ON. research time. As I am starting to work on different projects, biophysics is my new interest.

Talking about the foldscope, I received some months ago. I wanted to get hands on this origami paper microscope. Yesterday on the last day of the year, I saw that leaves of plant (peace lily) in my apartment are turning yellow and drying on the edges.

I assembled the foldscope and clicked some images to see the interior patterns of the leaf. So here it is. As the leaf dries, the porous structure turns into this structure with dry medium, which seems like dots are holding up to a matrix what is left of the green body. On the other side, the green part of the leaf is intact and there are some drops or patterns on the surface. But the green part (with yellow transition) is an intact porous structure. I absolutely loved it.

After the leaves, I was curious to try some solution or something. I used a drop of milk on the slide. Although the slide was not cleaned, I could see the pinning line of the droplet. I wanted to put scale on the images, but I am not in the lab right now. Maybe for future posts, I will try to use a scalebar.

There were some prepared slides which comes with the foldscope. Here is one of the pictures I clicked of “A00 Fern Rhizome”. 

And as the last deal of the year, I took some soil out of the pot and I saw these large clusters of soil. No life or any organism though, but I loved imaging them.

That’s all for 2018 from the foldscope, I will be posting much more in 2019. I will be visiting different water bodies soon. Happy new year !

Updates

Oh my blog !
I have been away from here for most of its existence. I do visit this space on some specifics (New Year, Birthday etc.), just to think and write about the past and all. Things have been pretty hectic lately. This is last semester of my coursework as well as of being a Teaching Assistant. Next Semester is gonna be fun as it is. Big things are coming up  – transition to mainstream r. and to qualifiers in next fall.

One more month in the grinder. Phew !!

December/January, I am planning to visit here and there. Thanksgiving week – I will try to wrap up the pending work. Life is normal and I will be here if something interesting happens. and it is my birthday today, after all…

“Consistency is the key !”

Write ! Write ! Write !

Procrastination up till the neck ! I have started writing in past too, but converting into a habit is what i could not do, neither do i promise myself. Just maybe sometimes when i feel bored or i have something very interesting to throw. I will see u here.

Diminishing primary slots !

Nothings is permanent, Cheers to wonderful life and all the temporariness.