Mermaids 2

2008-03-29

Back in Copenhagen. Turns out I was wrong about the couched area — it’s still there, just hidden behind the smoking room.

Trondheim was a lot of fun. I was there for a thesis defense. It’s a lot more formal than in the UK; the candidate has to do two lectures (one on the thesis, one on a related topic that they find out two weeks before) and then they get a public examination. We were in a very impressive room, with two lecturns, like a court. The whole experience was a bit strange—there’s a large degree of theatricality to it. On the whole, I think it’s better than the UK one which consists of three people sitting in a room for 3 hours; it’s rather anti-climatic, while the Norweigian version has a sense of occasion about it.

I have a theory, though, about feedback in science. It’s well known that once you start to do well in science, then success breeds success; you get better known, more opportunities come your way and so on. I’ve been starting to wonder whether this is, in part, due to airports. The more successful scientists travel a lot (much more than I). The truth is, in this day and age, airports are great places to work. There is nothing else to do, laptop batteries last long enough. Travelling gives you intermittent access to the internet, so you can get what you need, but can’t spend hours reading BBC News as a work-avoidance strategy. In the last few weeks, I’ve got lots of stuff done, as well as writing blog posts of course.

I am going to test this theory next week, by spending the entire time in the airport. Newcastle is only a 15 minutes from my house, so I plan to go up at 9 and sit on the concourse till 5. But will the magic still work if I don’t have a valid ticket? I will report back.

Right, boarding…

Originally published on my old blog site.