Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Half and half

I spent this morning being a mother. Or maybe a Übermother, considering that I had three guest kids visiting: one girl the age of C#1 and two boys the age of C#2 and C#3. I managed to do two washing machines, hang one and a half, clean up the kitchen, and prepare enough lasagna for everybody: all this in my spare time from the main activity, i.e., preventing the kids from killing each other and destroying the flat.
I am pretty proud of myself, and view this as an investment in the future (at some later day, the parents of the guests will be taking care of my kids). I only regret that I didn't get to eat any of the lasagna, so I had to grab a sandwich and a coffee before facing the afternoon as scientist.

  • 2-3pm: discussion with the consultant for european grants. I did learn something, in particular that I just missed a deadline, but also that there is a very interesting call coming up in January 2008 and one in May. I just can't believe I can produce a decent proposal in time.
  • 3-4pm: student S#6 tells me about the new reference he has found, and the progress he expects to make about that. We discuss some projects about how to organize his work in the next months.
  • 4-5pm: S#4 and I go through the Nth version (for N>100 - she has at least one a day) of her thesis. Some of the major problems have been solved, but she still has a writing style too close to physics. Improvement is evident and I try to be optimistic.
  • 5-6pm: S#3 and I go through his proof of something which I thought should be obvious but ended up not being so. It seems this time he has really fixed it, but some further adjustments are needed (especially "easy" details). I hope for best and we plan to meet again on friday.
  • 6-6.50pm: S#9 tells me he has finished working out the details of the proposition we discussed last time. The result is pretty much of the kind I hoped it would be. I outline what the next steps are supposed to be, and we start discussing the table of contents of his thesis. He might have proven everything he needs to prove before Christmas. Then we discuss which techniques he should use to prove the remaining steps. At 6.50pm his alarm goes off and he tells me I should go home. He is that considerate.
  • 6.50pm: I call WS and ask him to go home. I also tell him what edibles our refrigerator and our deepfreezer contain.
  • 6.50-7.30pm: continue discussion with S#9, including which school/conferences he should attend and when precisely he needs to have a readable, preliminary version of the thesis ready - and why.
  • 7.30-8pm: wasted time on the internet in a desperate attempt to unwind. I feel like I don't have a brain any more.
Many thanks to Sciencewoman for having this idea of charting down how to use your time.

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