My Path Through Research

The Trials and Triumphs of Doing a PhD

Preliminary Studies

As I said in the introduction to this blog, I have started what I am calling preliminary studies. What I am doing in these studies is that I cut some photographs into strips. Following this I am heating the photograph strips in an oven (a very crude way of speeding up the ageing process).

I started this study highly optimistic that I would start seeing something change in the colour of the photographs quite quickly. However, after the first few days, I immediately realised that my optimism was misplaced. The photographs seemed to want to spite me and not degrade (or at least not as fast as I would have hoped for). After a couple of weeks of this, we decided to try introducing some humidity for some of the samples. This didn’t seem to particularly speed up the degradation process, besides totally ruining one sample were I added the highest level of humidity I tried, where the gelatin melted and I got a glob of dyes and gelatin at the bottom of the flask I was trying this out!

What to try next? Last week we decided to increase the temperature a bit more, and see how that goes. I wasn’t too hopeful, having been deluded before, but today I decided to have a very good look at the samples, comparing strips I have removed before from the oven to those still in there…and guess what? Success! All samples registered a change which can be seen with the naked eyes from where they started off! Though the way wasn’t as fast as I had originally thought it would be, it feels great that we are getting somewhere now. That was definitely some good news.

And that wasn’t the only good news today 😉 But I’ll tell you more about the rest when it is confirmed.

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