Friday, April 18, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

I have been so busy for the past two weeks that it's just not funny. I have been burning the candle from both ends, and probably the middle too.

I'm the PI (principal investigator) for a proposal that's due the Monday after this coming Monday (or, as the British call it, Monday-week). This means I am in charge of writing the proposal, figuring out the budget, and filling out all the dumb paperwork. And because we are soliciting money from the gubmint, then there are all kinds of crazy hoops to jump through too. Adding to the confusion is the fact that this is the first time I have ever had these responsibilities, so I don't know what I'm doing at all.

I worked on the proposal all day on Sunday, and it looks like I'm going to need to devote some more time to it this weekend. I hate doing work on the weekend but it doesn't seem like I really have a choice in this case.

Last week, I taught a one-day course on supercomputing to students and professors from colleges and universities in the region who were attending a conference put on by my division. I had to add some new content to the course, unfortunately, so I couldn't just dust of the old slides and reuse them. It was kind of a last-minute thing and I had to make all the slides the day before. But it was a success and I got a lot of positive ratings. My colleague, who organized the conference, declared that I was amazing for daring to do a live demo of writing a parallel program on the fly. He was especially impressed because it compiled and ran correctly on the first try. I attribute that to the excellent audience members, who found my syntax errors so that the compiler didn't have to.

This week, we had our users' meeting. I gave a presentation on how to use our supercomputer. My boss, his boss, and a very important person from the gubmint thought that my presentation was really good. Personally, I thought it was so-so. But hey, if they were pleased, I was pleased!

I'm really glad that the worst of the busy times are over. I still have to finish up the proposal and jump through all the proper hoops, of course, but it's manageable. Now I can get back to my other projects (work-related and other).


EcoGeoFemme said...

Good job and good luck! I hope the proposal is successful.

Anonymous said...

I want to know if you make good money. cuz i heard around there that a pizza can feed a family of 4, but a mathematician with a PhD can't. I know that your family doesn't consist of 4, but do you make enough money to please your family?

Rebecca said...

Ecogeofemme, thanks! I hope the proposal is successful too. The work I propose to do is really awesome, plus it would look good on my resume if I got it. ;) I think my odds are roughly 1 in 4, though, which isn't great but it isn't too bad either.

Anonymous, I make more than enough money for my family to live a comfortable life. The trick is to be an applied mathematician, rather than some sort of theoretician. Also note that I work at a research laboratory, not a university. Scientists and engineers need somebody to help them crunch numbers, and that's what I do. It's not so much theorem proving as it is heuristic analysis, so as long as you're not wedded to the idea that the only good math is pure math, it's a great job.

rachel said...

Of course, living someplace relatively cheap doesn't hurt either! ;)

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