Friday, June 28, 2013

Burkely Quarterly

Yo, Diary.

What a week!  I put you together, made a folder for new people, and wrote my weeklies.  That is, pulling my daily notes ('dailies') into one weekly bundle!

I also submitted to the Burkely Quarterly (/pbe/gamma/elib/tex/proj/[initials]/1page)!  I formatted everything down to one page, got some people to look over it, and even put some nice little frames on the figures.  Hopefully the reviewers like it as much as I do!

Raphael wants me to give the group presentation next Tuesday.  Yikes!  I barely have anything done.  Unfortunately, I can't use you again, Diary.  I want to have something new each time I present so it looks like I'm making progress.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Dear Diary,

Justin and Lucas are headed to a conference soon!  I happened to eavesdrop on their conversation about how to print posters.  I went ahead and added a poster template to the beginning's students sample folder on pbe.

Bon voyage, bros!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I have 1,984 fingers


Very exciting day. I made a calendar that will track all of my working hours, vacation time, and whereabouts.  For classified reasons, Professor Burke would like to know where we are at all times.

I went on to my Google calendar through my UC Irvine email address and created a calendar with all my life's details.

First, I Logged in to Gmail
Then I went to `Calendar'
Clicked on `Settings' (upper right)
Clicked on `Calendar' (again) and `Edit Shared Settings'
Then I added the group emails to the email list

Any vacation time to countries that don't extradite to the US should be added to the calendar (Edward Snowden is in big trouble with his bosses for not doing so!).  I also added my dentist appointment in a week.  The standard nine to five working hours seemed to be a good start, but I want to work up to getting in around 7 and leaving at 6 (or later).

I'm going to go and get lunch right now, but I wrote on the calendar that I'll only take 40 minutes, so I better get going.  Later diary!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Meeting people is easy

Dear Diary,

John ran the meeting today while Professor Burke was out (or is it the other way around?!).

We started by introducing everyone to the new summer interns.  Jessica is going to be a senior in high school but doesn't think she has anything interesting to say; however, she does have an identical twin sister (so maybe her identical twin sister has nothing interesting to say?!).  Isabel is a junior in college and was raised in Shanghai.  Tarik is a senior in high school and captain of the improv Comedy Sports team.

For the record, my position on improv comedy favors Improv Olympic over Upright Citizens Brigade, but maybe we'll be treated to a pan left/pan right, a game of superheros, or a long form before the summer is finished!

Li also gave a stellar presentation, and I got to talk about you, diary!

I can't wait to get to know everyone and pump out some high quality physics.  It was great to meet everyone!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Back in the saddle again

Good Morning, Diary!

I'm back from a refreshing vacation and my head is totally clear.  I have so much work to do, though!  I'd better get moving on finishing up a few loose ends.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Dear Diary,

I'm taking a small vacation to British Colombia for a break now that the quarter has ended.  I'm looking to recharge my batteries after a taxing quarter but also really want to keep working on the research.  I know that I'll be motivated when I get back and hopefully I can get things done today that I've let slide during the quarter.

Namely, I hope to organize my notes and calculate a few things for Miles and Lucas.

Professor Burke allows three weeks of vacation not including Christmas.  These can not roll over into the next academic year. Luckily, I was prodigious enough to write up all my notes and make some pretty graphs before leaving today, so I won't feel too guilty about taking some of that time now.  I haven't felt like myself recently, so maybe a vacation will help me get into a good researching mode in the summer.

I'll be back when physics is fun again.

Friday, June 14, 2013

State of the Union

Dear Diary,

Professor Burke gave a state of the union address today.  Chiefly, he was promoted.

We talked about a plan to make plans over the next five years.  Professor Burke wants to branch out a bit and do some things that would be useful for the DFT community.

He said he was very proud of everyone and that we should continue to do good work.  Wow, diary, I have some big group shoes to fill!  I should keep on working on the projects I've been given and hope that I can work up to the group standard.

Author order


I had an interesting conversation with Lucas today.  We're moving along with the paper and will soon need to write and submit it.

But what should the author order look like?  Apparently, this depends on the type of physics you are practicing.  Astronomers tend to go alphabetically as do particle physicists.  In condensed matter, the main investigator (Professor Burke) goes last while the guy who did all the menial labor goes first.  That's me!

What we couldn't agree on is who gets the the contact information (a little star indicating who to email with questions).  I was of the opinion that it should be Professor Burke, but Lucas has been giving it to himself.  I have noticed that on other papers that Professor Burke seems to give this to someone else.  I'll have to see when I get the paper written who gets what markings next to their name.

And I'll have to be on my toes if someone emails me about the project!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Happy Birthday, Walter Kohn!

Dear Diary,

We've all been given an assignment to create a one page, journal style article on a tidbit from our research to submit to the Burkely Quarterly.  I have decided to do this on a small project that Lucas has given me.  I don't think it's anything new, but I enjoyed thinking about it.  It will make a nice one page read for the in-group reviewer and a great exercise to practice submitting a paper to an established journal.

I put a template for the assignment in the new person folder on pbe.

Our group meeting today was full of useful information.  Professor Burke got promoted and wants to take us to dinner. John isn't invited since he hasn't paid Kieron back for a breakfast yet.  The new people must wait some time to prove themselves.  Aurora isn't available since she leaves on Friday.  Lucas is gone on Wednesday, and Raphael isn't back yet.  Miles is also leaving soon for the Canadian perimeter. Despite all of this, Professor Burke will be eating dinner tonight.

Miles gave a really good final synopsis of the work that he and Lucas have done so far.  There are a few snags in the code that wants to work out before leaving.

Professor Burke also told us all about Walter Kohn's 90th birthday celebration.  There were a lot of famous physicists there and Professor Burke wants us to pull a big surprise for him and all his friends when he is 90.

Oh, and diary, you're going online.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Presentation Tips

Dear Diary,

Raphael gave a practice talk at today's meeting.  Professor Burke has decided to hood Lucas at the coming graduation, so Raphael will be substituting for Professor Burke at the conference.

Or will Raphael be at the Graduation and Professor Burke at the conference?!

Professor Burke called on me afterwards to give constructive criticism and pitted me against Raphael Hunger Games style.  The odds were certainly not in my favor, but I had fortunately been taking notes and had a few comments:

1.  Avoid acronyms
2.  Make sure items are large enough to be seen from the background
3.  Use a sans seriff font to avoid curly characters
4.  Don't shift around
5.  Have a sense of humor, but don't be funny (no xkcd cartoons)
6.  Practice the first few slides a lot of time to avoid hiccuping in the beginning
7.  Practice often
8.  Smile!

and that was about it.  Number 5 was controversial because while xkcd cartoons are amateurish, putting Spock and evil Spock onto a slide in a careful way is classy.

Raphael managed to avoid all of these and gave a great presentation.  Hopefully I can sharpen my skills up to his level quickly!