Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

When your work gets complicated

  1. Jul 18, 2006 #1


    User Avatar

    Do you panic when your work gets complicated?

    Not through the complication, but through finding something new.

    I even have thoughts that someone else will write about it before me - and I hate ambition :biggrin: :wink:

    It's like an exciting panic.

    And the results always take so long in coming - especially when you can visualise the results already... :grumpy:

    Or is it just me? :biggrin: :tongue:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 18, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I don't panic - I just get busy.

    Complications occur - it makes life interesting and sometimes intense.

    I'm in one of those situations presently. :biggrin:

    I just take it in stride.

    I've worked in situations where the bosses promise the impossible to a client, and I have to figure out how to do it, which has been interesting when the boss is technically incorrect about the work/results which have been promised. :rolleyes:
  4. Jul 18, 2006 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yes, mine just did something marvelous: he committed to background counting ZERO.
    He told me so when I told him I found a complaint about "high background" of an instrument scientist on a new prototype a bit exaggerated. I stared at him for about :bugeye: , dunno, 30 seconds, then asked if he'd buy me a coffee for that one :redface: :cool:
    Well, given that the instrument will not last for longer than, say, 20 years, I think we can live with less than 1 count in 50 years :biggrin: :bugeye:
  5. Jul 18, 2006 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    :surprised :rofl:

    Depending on where this instrument (detector/detection system) is and how sensitive it is, I find ZERO practically impossible.

    One of my physics lab experiments 35 years ago was counting muons and estimating muon lifetime - in the basement of a physics building. :rolleyes:

    So taking 31,556,952 seconds in an average year for 20 years - then one is trying for 1.584e-9 cps. Good luck! :biggrin:

    I hope you have a clean power supply/voltage source.
  6. Jul 18, 2006 #5


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    When the going gets tough at work or elsewhere, I remind myself of two things:

    "Be positive"

    "Relax and focus"

    It's worked for me for many years, through the college years, through work, and through a successful startup company. When you work a 90 hour week (among many other 70-80 hour weeks), you definitely have to learn to Relax and Focus!
  7. Jul 18, 2006 #6
    Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.... Howard Aiken

    A few more quotes.

    A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it....Max Planck

    One measure of the power of a new idea is the resistance it meets. Leroy Jack Syrop

    Many great ideas have been lost because the people who had them could not stand being laughed at. (anon)

    The human mind treats a new idea the way the body treats a strange protein -- it rejects it. P. Medawar

    All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Arthur Schopenhauer

    but borrowed from...

    Every great scientific truth, goes through three stages. First people say conflicts with the Bible. Next they say it had been discovered before. Lastly, they say they always believed it. Louis Agassiz (ice age inventor)

    Don't worry, nobody steals it.
  8. Jul 18, 2006 #7
    You've made my day, Andre... classic quotes... now I'm happy that I've fired my Thesis Supervisors & am re-building the examination team... too much ramming was required - inhouse...
  9. Jul 18, 2006 #8


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That said, many of the quotes apply to bad ideas too :rofl:
  10. Jul 18, 2006 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Some people say that Columbus 'discovered' America.

    Well - it was more the case that he showed up unannounced and told the people living there that they had new owners. :rolleyes:

    The rest is history.
  11. Jul 18, 2006 #10
    exactly! Since:

    Mark Twain

    But then again

    :biggrin: :approve:

    much easier than having new ideas because:

  12. Jul 18, 2006 #11


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    For me, when things get complicated is when they get fun! It's boring when everything is going smoothly...I feel like I really don't even need to be there. Though, yes, I do sit around anxiously awaiting every result, and have been known to bounce around the lab showing a graph or microscope image to everyone who pauses long enough to look sharing my new results. There's nothing more depressing than plotting out a new graph with data that actually supports one's hypothesis for a change, and running back to the lab to show it to everyone, and finding they're all out getting lunch. :frown:
  13. Jul 18, 2006 #12


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    You could forget to wire to power switch to anything:wink:
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook