shirou: (Default)
[personal profile] shirou
I have written 112 pages of actual content for my dissertation. So far I have:
  • Half an introduction. I started writing this, but then I decided that it would be better to write the body of the paper and return to the introduction, as the body is what I need to introduce. Theoretically I knew from the beginning what the body of the thesis would contain, but the actual writing of it makes much more concrete in my mind what I need to motivate. In addition to writing the latter half of the introduction, I will now need to revise heavily the former half.
  • A chapter on the mathematics needed to understand my work. I assume that the reader has already learned multivariate calculus and differential equations; I'm not going to spend my time reviewing undergrad mathematics. Instead I focus on the problems of nonlinear dynamics and high-dimensional systems. This chapter will require only minor revisions.
  • A chapter that follows my first publication. Between 1/3 and 1/2 of this is copied directly from the paper. The paper was short, though, and I felt that significant expansion was necessary. This chapter will require only minor revision.
  • A chapter that follows my second publication. This publication is recent and I am quite happy with it as is, so this chapter is about 90% copied. Yeah, it's a cheat, I know. But hey: my words are my words, and I'm free to use them. I did add a page on distribution functions that we cut from the paper because, while it puts the work on firmer foundation, it doesn't add a lot of insight. This chapter will require only minor revisions.
  • A chapter on the background of a biological process that I have modeled. My ability to describe biology sucks terribly. Dammit, Josh, I'm a doctor physicist, not a biologist! (Josh, btw, is my promoting professor.) This chapter will need heavy revisions, but fortunately I have collaborators in biology who can help me with that.

Still to come:
  • Revisions.
  • The latter half of the introduction.
  • A chapter on the mathematical modeling I did for the aforementioned biological process. In truth this is partly written already, as I am working on writing the paper that we will submit for publication, and once I have that, I will pretty much just copy it into my dissertation. :p
  • A conclusions chapter. I am excited about writing this because some experimentalists upstairs have found that one of the features I identified is necessary for explaining their results. That's right: my theory has helped explain an experimental result, and the theory preceded the experiment. Fuckin' sweet. It's not a complicated theory, but if it's useful, I count that as a win.

A couple of people asked for my chocolate mousse recipe, so here it is. The measurements are in English/American units, so I apologize to my international readers. The recipe comes from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Délicieux!

  • 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1/4 cup Cointreau
  • 6 oz semisweet baking chocolate
  • 6 oz softened butter (1.5 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tb finely granulated sugar
  • 4 Tb espresso
  • pinch of salt

  1. Beat the egg yolks with the 3/4 cup sugar until it is pale and forms a pale ribbon. Beat in the Cointreau. Put in a double boiler over simmering water to heat thoroughly. This will cook the eggs; do not allow them to scramble. Put the mixture in a basin of cold water and beat until cool.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Mix in the coffee. Remove from heat and beat in the butter a bit at a time to make a smooth cream.
  3. Beat the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
  4. Beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks are formed. Add the tb sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
  5. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture in fourths.
  6. Pour the mousse into a dish or individual serving cups and refrigerate for several hours prior to serving.

There are two places where I might make a mistake, so I'll warn you about them now. The first is that I hate heating the egg yolk mixture. If I stand in the kitchen and wait, I will grow impatient and fail to sufficiently heat the eggs. This does not harm the taste of the mousse, but should there be salmonella in the eggs, they won't be killed. Fortunatley, this has never happened. If I go and do something else while the eggs heat, I wait too long and they burn/scramble. One must be patient and stir frequently, even though it's a pain. The second mistake is being overzealous in the final folding. This mousse, properly made, has a delightful airy texture (not related to Airy functions). Overzealous folding will ruin the texture and you will have something that resembles more a pudding than a real mousse.

Otherwise, there is nothing to it. Enjoy!

Finally, I feel compelled to pimp Dreamwidth one more time. If you are reading this on Livejournal, I strongly encourage you to check it out. My Dreamwidth page is here. I have several Dreamwidth invitation codes, so please let me know if you (or somebody you know) wants one.

on 2009-05-24 03:09 am (UTC)
marius_silverwolf: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] marius_silverwolf
Congratulations on the progress thus far. I like your approach of revisiting the introduction after fleshing out the substantive portions. It's how I've had to approach most of my major papers in the past. It keeps me less limited in how I explain and elaborate throughout the paper.


shirou: (Default)

November 2011


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