Thursday, July 3, 2008

uncharted territories

I've decided to change my outlook on research. Previously, I felt kind if intimidated by all the components of my new lab that I knew nothing about. Working three years in my old lab put me in a comfortable position of feeling like I knew something about certain areas of materials characterization, measurement, etc. When I switched into the new lab, there were a host of things I felt lost around - circuit design, high-temperature materials, machining, design in general... and this made me uneasy because I felt that, as a fourth-year grad student, I shouldn't be so helpless. I mean, I was pretty clueless and useless when I joined my first lab, but as a first-year, who really expected me to know what I was doing? Now I feel like there's some expectation of competence from me. But I recently realized that nobody is supposed to know everything. The only way you would is if you have been doing the same thing for years, and who wants to live that life? Even after graduating, people seek new and unfamiliar projects to provide a new learning curve that adds even more wrinkles to their brain. So I've decided to adopt that goal as well. So I need to build a circuit to translate an AC voltage and current into a power measurement? Research, buy and machine some high-temperature insulation bricks? Design a high-temperature experiment? Excellent.

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