Month: September 2012

Responsible Conduct of Research course

These last two days, I’ve spent my mornings at the old faculty of life sciences, following the new mandatory PhD course Responsible Conduct of Research. The course was started because of the problems with the neuro-science (or what was it?) researcher Milena Penkowa, who did a lot of bad things (read; science misconduct). I don’t know exactly what the logic was, but I think the people at the top of the university thought it would make them look good if they demanded all PhD students to follow a course on the matters of misconduct and politics.

First, I was appaled by the sheer weight of the papers they wanted us to read: Not only news-paper clips and guides, but huge pieces of law texts. I haven’t had that much trouble getting through a curriculum since following the (also mandatory, but on the bachelor education in physics) course in science ethics and history/theory. I guess I learned a bit though – I now know what the different committees are called, and what they do, and I learned about a couple of cases where people have done wrong. But all in all, most of what they made me read what logics, and I felt a bit stupid for actually following their demands of reading it – I might as well just have thought it up myself.

The lectures on the two mornings were fine, though, but maybe (who am I kidding, not maybe, definetely!) boring. At least we got free coffee…

To pass the course, you have to write a two-page essay on a case from your own scientific environment or work, related to the curriculum of the course. I haven’t written an essay since high school, and I’ve always hated it. For now, I have no idea what I want to write about, and I really don’t know how I’ll be able to write something I’ll be happy about handing in. Let’s see what I end up with…

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Posted by PJR in Workshops, schools, and courses, 0 comments

One more workshop on the list – this time on DISCUS

During the full last week, I was in Erlangen (Germany, close to Nürnberg), following a workshop on the diffuse scattering simulation program DISCUS.

It was lots of fun, but I had kind of hoped for something else. A lot of the first day (and sub-sequent days) were used on how to use linux and the terminal (and ranting about how bad windows is – that is, using bad and wrong arguments for it…), instead of introducing the program in a good way. We went through a lot of different tutorials, but a lot of it was very hurried, and not very deep. I guess that at least I got a lot of tools back home with me, so if I really need to use the program (I don’t know if I will, yet), I have something to read up on.

I did buy the DISCUS cook book beforehand, and read a little in it (I didn’t get that far because of me being really busy). I must say that it was a really expensive book, due to the fact that you can only get it i hard-cover, but it is well written – and I think I’ve learned far more from that short period of reading in it, than I did from the actual workshop.

All that said, I would probably recommend people going to the workshop if they actually intend to use the program themselves. It’s really hard figuring out the small logic things on your own – like the fact that they have three different independent programs in the package.

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Posted by PJR in Travel, Workshops, schools, and courses, 0 comments

Started teaching in the neutron scattering course

This week was the first week of block 1, and hence the first week of the neutron scattering course held at the Niels Bohr Institute. I was helping a bit last year as well, since I was hired to develop some different e-learning tools for the course, but this year I am an actual student instructor on the course.

We started Monday afternoon with some small introductions and a few exercises, and the small team (this year I think there are only about 12 students following the course…) is kind of cozy. Wednesday was the first long day, and since Kim went to Switzerland, Linda and I (and Peter Willendrup, who had promised to help with giving an introduction to McStas and the virtual machines we wanted to install on the student’s laptops, was also there) handled the day. Linda took care of lecturing about instrumentation, while I did a small MATLAB introduction and a little view of our local neutron source and He-3 detector tube. Most of the students seemed to get things running, and I think they’re ready for the startup of the real simulation projects in next week.

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Posted by PJR in Teaching, 0 comments