“Ink, toil, tears and sweat”

During my PhD, I kept all the pens that I have finished. There was not much thinking at the beginning, but when the numbers started getting significant I though it could be a fun and useless statistics I could easily keep record.

On my last day I took a picture with them, having a bar graph in mind. I forgot about it, and now, almost 2 years later and with timing for posting long time gone, I have crossed the images once more when cleaning my hard drive. Finally, I present my use of pens.

Histogram of consumed pens categorized by color

In total, there are 9 pens: 7 black, 1 blue and 1 red. Naturally, they do not represent the totality of pens I have used when working over the 3 years of my PhD, they are the ones that I have used on a daily basis and have completely deprived from ink. As you can see, I’m more a gel than a ballpoint kind of guy, as I fell that the latter does not really leave a trail of what is being written. The same motivation is used for favoring the color black, after realizing that blue is not really as readable to me. Blue and red were only used in revisions or at the time I draw diagrams.

Legal number of working hours per year in France is of 1607, this means that during my 3 years as a PhD student (4821 hours) I consumed 0.00186 pens per hour, or 0.01307 a day. On average, 537 hours were necessary to finish a pen, 3 per year. I have no idea if my consumption was too small or the opposite and I leave it here hoping that this random stat I tracked may interest anyone.

My thesis in 3 minutes

As I said on a previous post, I was going to participate in a competition to present my thesis subject in 3 minutes.

Originally proposed by the University of Queensland (Australia) in 2008, 3 minutes Thesis (3MT) is a competition about presenting your PhD in 3 minutes for a general audience. Recently, the Coimbra Group, an association of Universities in Europe (39 Universities from 23 European countries in 2018), which the University of Poitiers is a part of, created its own version. On this year, the 2nd edition is being held, and I proudly gave it my try.

It’s a great opportunity to take a step back and look your subject from a global perspective. Sharing with a general audience is a challenge due to the obvious interdiction to say the technical terms we use daily and the fact that we must present in a simple manner while not escaping from the specific and complex core of your research. It’s a quest full of creativity and a nice moment to push yourself for speaking in public. I recommend every PhD student to participate.

To describe my search to modelling airframe noise I used a cake analogy: I’m looking at the ingredients (flow properties + geometry) to check their influences in the final result (aerodynamic field) and at the end propose a simple model of the bluff body wake dynamics for aeroacoustics. Here’s my video:

I also invite you to check the participation of my lab colleague Robin Sebastian (check his video here).

Simultaneously, I took part in the French version: Ma these en 180 secondes, organized by the CNRS, the French National Center for Scientific Research. If you are interested, you can check my presentation here. The videos with the performances of all the participants are hosted on University of Poitiers’ website.