My Path Through Research

The Trials and Triumphs of Doing a PhD

And another paper…

If you follow my twitter feed, or have just looked at the publication list on the right you should already have figured this out. What’s the news? The second paper concerning my PhD work has been accepted!

The paper will be published in the journal Polymer Degradation and Stability. We had submitted the original paper at the end of May. Then this week we received some minor comments which we dealt with, and on Friday we got the final confirmation that it has been accepted for publication.

So far I don’t have a link to the paper, but I will provide this as soon as I do. However, here is a brief overview of what the paper is about:

The title of the paper is ‘Stability of chromogenic colour prints in polluted indoor environments’. In it we have reported work I have been doing on comparing the effects of acetic acid, nitrogen oxides and formaldehyde on the stability of chromogenic prints. The pollutants were chosen as previous work we had done showed that these are the main pollutants found inside archival boxes (you can read that full paper here). We also discuss a way of non-destructively monitoring the degradation of the photographic dyes using a colourimeter (image below). This work builds up on chromatographic work I had done during a research visit to the Universita di Pisa last year.

All in all I am really satisfied. By the end of the second year I will have had two papers published, which fits in quite well with the original plan of publishing three papers throughout the whole PhD (especially considering that as the work is finalised towards the end more work can be published).

If you are not in academia you however might be wondering about why is publishing so important. Having your work published in a well-known journal is a way of showing that the work you are doing is of a certain level. This should hopefully come in useful when I come to write my final thesis as I would already have somewhere to start from. Furthermore, once I submit the thesis, having already published the work in a journal helps me show that the work has reached a certain standard. And of course, any help you can get when it comes to the final submission is always good!

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Filed under: Experiments and Methodology, Research Process, , , , , , , , , , ,

Pisa…A Research Visit

In the last post I left you with my arrival in Pisa. Now, having completed my time there, I am back in London. But how did it go, and why did I go there?

The first aim of my visit there was to determine a method for the extraction of the dyes from my photographs, followed by their separation using chromatographic methods. Thus, the majority of the first two weeks was spent trying out the methods mentioned in literature for similar methods (since none were found for my exact requirements), and then depending on the results obtained modifying the methods to obtain the best methods we could. This is proably one of the most tricky parts of a research project, since it can take a very long time till the best combination is determined. Luckily, we found something we could work with, and thus could get on to the next part of the work. This involved analysing aged photographs using chromatographic and colourimetric methods and correlating the two. What about the  results for this? I must say not all the results are perfect, but at least I proved what I was there to do.

What about the other aspects of the research trip? I must say it was great! I enjoyed the work, the people, the lifestyle…everything. Being in Pisa also meant I could get to other parts of Tuscany quite easily…so I visited Florence, Siena, Lucca, Cinque Terre, Certaldo etc. I also had people visiting me, which was nice.

I think that it is not enough from these research trips to take only the work, but it is so much better if you can experience a bit the life in that place…you really do gain a lot…not just in friends, and results, but also in other skills such as project management and time management (since you are there for a limited period of time).

Filed under: Events and Activities, Experiments and Methodology, Research Process, Travel, , , , , , , , , ,

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