I am wondering what the first steps are to finding an interesting calculation, and doing it. My adviser seems concerned only with me writing my thesis to hurry up and get me out of the program, rather than helping me develop my CV and involving me in other calculations he may be doing. It seems to me that I have to take things upon myself if I'm going to at least have a fighting chance of getting a postdoc when I graduate. The problem is that it seems like there is a ton of research already done, and a ton of research that could be done. I suppose I should stick to my strengths (thermoelectricity). I have a colleague who noted that he got a publication by thinking of a calculation, and then simply doing it with pen and paper/Mathematica. Is it really that simple? Comments?