My Path Through Research

The Trials and Triumphs of Doing a PhD

IoP Printing and Graphic Science Conference

A few months back I had the opportunity to meet up with Alan Hodgson, and discuss my work with him, particularly in light of his work in the development of ISO standards. However, he is also involved with the Institute of Physics Printing and Graphic Science Group and he encouraged me to send in an abstract for the groups Annual Student Conference. I looked into it and submitted my abstract, and happily it was accepted. So the 1st of December saw me making my way up to Manchester in the freezing weather for this event.

Although my PhD work mainly revolves around photographic images, during my PhD I have not been exposed to the photographic industry as much as I might have otherwise been. Mainly I have been in contact with photographic conservators rather than people working at the cutting edge of this industry. I was thus very excited to have this opportunity to present my work to people working in the printing and graphic science industry.

Arriving at the conference I was initially concerned with what I would find. Would I manage to explain what I have been doing coherently to people approaching the issue from different viewpoints than me? Also, would the work I have been carrying out stand up to the scrutiny of a physics conference? This last question has been something that has intrigued me over the past year as I hadn’t at yet presented to such an audience (though I have had work published in scientific journals).

The presentations throughout the day were broadly divided into what could be considered to be two broad areas: colour and graphic science, and printing. I felt like my work fell pretty much somewhere in the middle of these two fields (and in fact my presentation was in the middle of the day). My presentation seemed to pass very quickly. However, I was excited to see that I got quite a lot of relevant questions, which to me indicated that the audience could actually follow what I was saying.

Overall I felt like attending this conference was actually really fruitful. It was interesting to hear what the others were working on. In particular however it was very good for me to become somewhat more immersed in this field, and learn about the techniques being used which I can apply to my work.

Even more satisfactory though was the awards at the end of the conference. Two awards were to be presented at the end to the students with the best presentation in each of the two broad areas. Although I wasn’t sure where my work fell, I was very grateful to receive the prize in the colour and imaging science section. It has helped me become that bit more confident in the work I have been doing, particularly as I was presenting to an audience who is not working in the heritage field to which my work is directed, but to an audience of physicist. Thanks to the committee for the prize, which consists of a certificate and £50.

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