Chronicles of a Thesis: Day 1 – A beginning (LyX)

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It’s gotten to the point – for a few reasons – that I really must start making a concerted effort to write up my thesis in order to finish on time by autumn. And so, I will be regaling you all with my progress, thoughts and frustrations. Lots and lots of frustrations, I’ll bet. I appreciate your attention, comments and advice.

I’ve resolved to do an hour a day on my thesis – while I feel I am a little behind where I need to be in terms of experimental data, I think that the actual write-up could be largely done if I devote at least 7 hours a week to it each week until finish. For those who don’t know, I’m studying a PhD in Physics, and the general topic is on a heusler alloy called CFAS which has intriguing properties. I know most don’t know this stuff so I’ll spare you the details for the most part! Instead, I want to offer an insight into what it takes, and your feedback on how you think I’m doing, and how I might do better.

It’s a tough goal – to be finished by September. Very tough – but I want to do it, for a few reasons that I’m sure, over time, will be eked out.

So, without further ado – Day 1

I’ve  had a long, time-wimey day, with unexpected phone calls and frustrating probe tips, with the topper of a less-than-good session of sparring at karate and aggravation of an old injury. Additionally, I wanted to get most of my every-4-week progress report out of the way tonight to give me more experimenting time tomorrow morning. So I gave myself an easy one tonight – reading the draft thesis plan I’d done a while back for familiarity, and deciding how to actually type up the thesis. You might wonder what I mean. I mean how to word-process it. Because, for reasons I still don’t quite understand, Microsoft Word is considered a no-no.

A bit of prior knowledge and the “done thing” for journal entries etc is LaTeX, and I’d tried in the past a decent half-way house in the form of LyX. Some further digging suggests that Word 2007 onwards is actually much better than it used to be for this kinda write-up, due to the greater use of style systems. However, knowing that the results of LaTeX usually end up looking very professional, I resolve to use it. It proceeds to download HORRENDOUSLY slowly from some FTP server somewhere, probably in some field in Texas…

It’s a small start maybe, but I feel now armed with Evernote for notes, LyX for write-up, and a time frame in mind. The end is there, it’s still distant but approaching fast. And I do intend to meet it.

More will follow.

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