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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

A Workflow for Reproducible Research

All research should be reproducible. This fact gets engraved into the brains of all potential researchers and that is for a very good reason. Reproducible research means it can be tested or improved by people in a different lab maybe at the other end of the world and it can also reveal mistakes that have been carried out during the research, which may have changed the results of the study altogether. I’d like to say that with peer reviews there is, in theory, a very efficient mechanism in place to ensure all published research is reproducible. On the other hand though, as the Retraction Watch blog shows us time and time again, it doesn’t always work and there are some bogus papers out there (and some researchers seem to be running some sort of a retraction leaderboard). (more…)


Photos on Flickr

I’ve got myself an account on Flickr a while ago and after an amazing holiday in Alaska I finally uploaded some pictures into it. I’ve also got myself a new camera, a used Canon EOS 5D, which had its first outing at the F1 Young Drivers’ Test in Silverstone last week. I think I got quite good results there. And I will pass on the advice that if you’re thinking about getting an SLR, consider buying a used professional full-frame camera instead of a new crop. The original Canon EOS 5D is only about 350£ on eBay since the Mark III has come out.

LaTeX Template for Dissertations

The summer project that marks the end of year 1 of my PhD and the beginning of my actual research is going to start very soon. On that occasion I thought it would be a good idea to recycle my old dissertation template for \LaTeX and make it publicly available. It is based on a template that was available from one of the computer science groups at my old university and I’ve modified it to fit the requirements of our summer project module. The main idea behind it is to have every chapter of the dissertation in a different file, which makes the handling of large documents, such as a dissertation, a lot easier. (more…)

One Hour on Procrastination

Procrastination – we all do it (admittedly or not admittedly) and we presumably all hate that we’re doing it. I’m doing it right now. Tuesday evening we Southamptoners were lucky enough to enjoy a talk by Jorge Cham, the creative mind of PhD comics. His presentation was called “The Power of Procrastination” and like the comics just hits the nail on its head. Very often I find myself thinking or saying to someone “Oh my god, I could be and should be doing work right now and I won’t even have any time to sleep anymore” and find myself browsing the internet five minutes later. But Jorge’s talk gave me a new viewpoint on the whole topic and can probably help keeping many PhD students sane. (more…)

Word Count for LaTeX

I had posted a small tutorial for making your life with \LaTeX that tiny bit easier and more automated earlier. Today I want to introduce you to another very useful tool in that respect: texcount. It’s a Perl script that will parse your \LaTeX file and count words and formulae in sections and captions. Just download and unpack the archive to somewhere on your computer and you’re ready to use it. (more…)

Litmus Exhibition Launch

The poster Mark and I presented at the Litmus exhibition launch

The poster Mark and I presented at the Litmus exhibition launch

Yesterday was the day of the Litmus exhibition launch, which I had talked about earlier. The six posters, which covered various topics like quantum chemistry and traffic lights, all emerged from a collaboration between a scientist and a writer and look fantastic! They can be viewed in the Hartley Library Gallery (4th floor) until next week. After that the posters will be hung up in the scientists’ buildings.

I am very pleased with the result and I hope I can take part again next year, this time with my actual PhD topic.

The Simplest & Most Useful Makefile (LaTeX)

I’ve started using LaTeX when I started my degree at uni a bit more than 5 years ago. When I first heard about it I thought it was a software like Microsoft Office, just not as horrible with the formatting. That has all changed and LaTeX has become my language of choice for writing papers, reports, coursework or anything closely related. I found it quite handy that there are so many different editors available until I have recently discovered the best of them all: Emacs + make. (more…)