jeudi 16 juillet 2009
Most of you probably don't know this, but Alain has his PhD.
In what? Physics.
What is his research on? Stuff.
I am pretty sure he is the smartest person I know.
He has as a goal "Win Nobel Prize".

All I can say is, thank goodness there are people in the world who really get excited by the movement of atoms and nucleation of crystallized ions and all that baloney.

His two favorite things to do on a weekend morning:
1) Go to his motorcycle classes
2) Sit at the table and do pages and pages of equations, chemical formulas, phase diagrams, and sketches of silicon lattice structures.
My two favorite things to do on a weekend morning:
1) Nothing
2) Drink coffee and eat a croissant.

I keep a pile of scrap paper ready for when he is overcome by an urge to calculate the second derivative of a logarithmic equation so as to better understand the movement of electrons in a phase 2 silicon-germanium structures, or some other such nonsense. The problem is that afterwards we have pages and pages of unintelligible scribblings sitting around the living room that I don't know what to do with. I'm scared to throw them away, in case the next E=mc^2 is in there, but if ever he does want to find a particular page again, it will be quite difficult as there is no rhyme or reason to them. I just smoosh them up into a pile once a week or so and throw them in a cabinet.

Occasionally he will ask me something along the lines of "Do you remember the thermodynamic coefficient for the transition of a solid state amorphous quantum dot?"
Honey, first of all, it's 8:30 on a Sunday morning. Second, I studied that stuff like 8 years ago. And third, I haven't had my cappuccino yet. Can you check back in a few hours once I have had time to wake up and flip through some old text books?

At any given time, our living room table has one of the following books sitting on it:
- Fundamentals of Microsystems Packaging
- Electronic Materials and Devices
- Introduction to Conventional Transmisson Electron Microscopy
- Crystallography
- Transmission Electron Microscopy and Diffractometry of Materials
- Introduction to Statistic Thermodynamics
- Hybrid Microelectronics Handbook
- High Resolution Focused Ion Beams
- Physical Metallurgy for Engineers
(most of these are mine by the way, and I paid a boatload to have them sent here from the US)

I get a kick out of him because he will be busy doing equations and then look up and ask me stuff like "What's eight times six?" Um, that I think I know the answer to!
Lately I have had to ban math equations while we are eating dinner. I can just see me in about ten years telling our kids "Why can't you complain about having to eat your broccoli like a normal kid instead of doing math during dinner? Stop it right now!"

I have tried to teach him that when well-meaning relatives ask him how his research is going, they don't want the 45 minute PhD-defense version. They want the dumbed-down 5 minute version. When their eyes start to glaze over and cross alternatively and their responses consist of 'umm?' 'hmmm.' 'hmmm?' 'uh huh' and 'uh?' that means that the most they are understanding are the the's and's and I's.

He usually asks me to correct his scientific articles. Mostly the grammar and spelling, but also to see if the article is understandable. After five years of doing this, I have discovered that it is pretty much like a Scientific MadLibs.
Want to sound like you too have a PhD in Physics? Are you a researcher stuck for ideas? No problem!
Just do the following (all words/phrases taken from his articles):

noun1: Transition, Diffusion, Control, Segregation, Separation, Influence, Morphological evolution, Auger spectroscopy, Crystallization, Epitaxial growth, Fickian diffusion, Surfactant mediated growth, Biaxial stress, Thermodeposition
preposition: of, in, on, from, to, within, across, after, among, at, below, between, by, into, near, upon
adjective: amorphous, anomalous, self-assembled, crystallized
noun2: silicon, germanium, SiGe, atom, ion, electron, dopant, islands, Si(001), Si1-xGex/Si(001) substrate, grain boundaries, atom sites, heterostructures, quantum dot, thin films, lattice, nucleation sites
verb: using, during, trapping, implanting, growing, measuring

Then put them in the following order:
noun1 preposition adjective noun2 verb noun2 preposition noun2
For example:
- Transition from anomalous silicon islands during epitaxial growth of SiGe heterostructures
- Segregation of self-assembled germanium islands using Fickian diffusion of grain boundaries
- Morphological evolution within amorphous Si(001) measuring electrons within thin films
- Auger spectroscopy on crystallized quantum dots trapping nucleation sites

See? There is nothing to it! You don't need to have a PhD to do this.

Try it and give me, in the comments section, your best Scientific MadLibs Journal Article Title!

6 commentaires:

Starman a dit…

Thermodeposition across anomalous nucleation sites measuring electron heterostructures. That was fun. Did I win the Nobel yet?

Frou Frou a dit…

Tres funny!!! Do you watch Big Bang theory??? You might find it funny!!!!!

screamish a dit…

Fickian diffusion into anomalous dopant implanting nucleation sites among heterostructures.

did i do that right? i failed maths, cant even follow basic instructions now!

Mwa a dit…

Spot on. I have one of these in the house, only he does it with computers. I studied maths myself, so I have an understanding of roughly what goes on, but I get out of the way, too.

Mmm, croissants.

LEwis a dit…

SO have you tried the old webpage (MIT??) that you enter a few words and it creates your whole paper?

BTW, I second the Big Bang Theory. Yell if you'd like copies if you can't find it online


poppy fields a dit…

This is funny.

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