I guess the title really says it all, but to be very specific: 
I'm done with all the figures and all the tables for the article!
What remains (TODO list of tomorrow):
  • read the neptunium-article, and find out how the results were interpreted 
  • place sentence about uncertainties in the analysis where it should be (aka. figure out where, which is the hard part - moving it is not)
  • check and fix all table and figure captions
  • read through everything and check that I'm referring to the right number of the figures and tables in the text
  • work on the discussion part and the abstract
  • send an e-mail to Fabio and ask about something from his master's thesis
  • fix a "Draft_FINAL" and send off to both Sunniva and Jon
  • clean desk
  • holiday

Now I'll make a #workingyourassoff Thai soup, and after we've eaten it's time for Anders and me to go to bed - tomorrow is the last day before two weeks with Alexandra, who has her last day ever in kindergarden <3

...and figures.

And tables!

No, I'm joking, obviously, but my arms and my back hurt, and my head feels like it weighs a ton. And my eyes are dry and sore. And I'm going back and forth with respect to how to best represent my data and my results - and what to put in this article, and what to put in the next article (and I do remember, very well, that I was accused of self plagiarism one and a half year ago, and I'm of course very scared that someone will accuse me of something like this again, unless I'm extremely careful...:/)
I guess this is #phdlife <3


Since I wrote about my feelings about programming on Thursday, I got some comments and questions about how and why; which can be totally ok, but also a little annoying if it's more like "why on earth are you so stupid you're trying to do anything in C++" (no one said exactly that, it's just an example of a not very constructive comment). Like my friend, Anders (not my boyfriend, but my friend who is a boy - haha), said: "With programming you can do everything! (Except for saying out load which language you are using without someone telling you it's wrong.)"
Telling me stuff like "you have to hate yourself for choosing C++" is not exactly helping me (or anyone really), right? I didn't wake up one day and say to my self "hey, I think I want to program C++ for no reason what so ever - just because I enjoy feeling stupid". I need C++. So it's a little bit like telling your kid who is doing his/her algebra homework "you must really enjoy feeling stupid since you're doing this algebra stuff - you should work on statistics instead".
I love getting constructive comments or critique, but some comments are just making me feel more stupid than before (like: not only am I not managing the programming stuff, I'm also an idiot for trying to learn what I am learning...).
So I thought, today I want to give you ten FACTS about experiments and data analysis here at the nuclear physics group in Oslo - which is the main reason why I need any knowledge of programming these days. This is probably the geekiest (and perhaps most "technical") facts post I've had so far...but sometimes you have to be a little geeky, right? 😉
  1. The material we want to study can be almost anything - for example uranium, gold, nickel, molybdenum, iron, dysprosium, thorium or plutonium (these are just some examples of what we have experimented with the last couple of years)
  2. We make a tiny foil - a target - from the material (almost the size of a small coin), and put this inside all of our detectors
  3. There are always at leas two types of detectors for the experiments: Sodium Iodide detectors (they measure gamma rays), and Silicon detectors (they measure particles)
  4. The Sodium Iodide detectors are called CACTUS (cause it really looks like a cactus) <3 
  5. Sometimes we use more detectors than the gamma detectors (CACTUS) and the particle detectors - for example fission detectors (we used that for my uranium experiment, since uranium-233 fissions like crazy 😛 )
  6. To study the nuclei in the material we bombard the target with tiny particles; protons, deuterons (a proton and a neutron), helium-3 (two protons and one neutron), or helium-4 (two protons and two neutrons - same as an alpha particle 😀 )
  7. When a particle hits a nucleus in our target material, the nucleus gets some extra energy (sort of like it gets heated); then a particle goes out (it can be the same that went in, or it can be another one), and the target nucleus cools again, by sending out gamma radiation
  8. The different detectors will detect the different kind of stuff that comes out from the reaction in the target: the gamma detectors detect the gammas, the particle detectors detect the particles (protons, deuterons, helium-3, or alphas), and the fission detectors detect fission - the detection of all these thing are what we talk about as our data
  9. Data from the experiments we are performing in Oslo (like my uranium experiment) is typically 10-100 Giga Bytes - so it's kind of a lot 
  10. To sort all of these data we need codes/programs that go through everything and checks if there for example was a particle and a gamma that came out of the target at the same time, or maybe it was a particle and a gamma and a fission product, and what were the energie
    s of all this; the particles and the gammas - on the lucky side I don't have write theses sorting codes from scratch, on the other side I have to try to understand someone else's code and logic, which is not always very easy (when I don't understand I'm always sure it's because I'm stupid :/ )
- CACTUS <3 -
The sorting codes, and everything else I'm working on is written in C++, and that's the reason why that's the language I'm working on.
Happy Monday to everyone!

My talk is tomorrow.
It's not finished yet.
I feel nervous, but also excited...
Nervous, because I wish I had come further than I have, and that I understood "everything". Excited, because I actually do have results, and they are nice, and they make sense. They make me believe that I will actually do this; not just the talk tomorrow, but I will finish my next paper (article/publication) in June (or maybe July - but hoping for June). After that I will start directly to analyse the second part of the uranium experiment, and hopefully it will be much "easier" since I have already done it once 😉 
I'm in my bed right now, working on the presentation for tomorrow, which is around 11. Think I will work for around 30 more minutes, and then go to sleep. I'd rather get up at 5 tomorrow morning, and finish it then.
Wish me luck <3

I'm so relieved right now...! It turns out I've (probably) done a good job when I've calibrated my gamma detectors - and now I'm actually getting real results.
It's preliminary, of course, but it's there - something I can actually show in my talk at the conference here in Oslo next week (that I've been so nervous and stressed about :/ ).
There is still tons of work to do, but I must admit I'm really happy and motivated for everything right now; nothing can stop me, and the rest of 2015 will be about analyzing data and writing papers...<3<3<3
Here are some happy pictures from yesterday (spending a day off with Alexandra) and todays celebration of 17th of May in kindergarden - just love Biørneblæs, the student marching band!

Happy weekend and 17th of May (for those of my readers that celebrate such things) and everything!


...in several ways...

Finished with the calibration of the gamma detectors (happyhappyhappy 🙂 ), but now I'm also "finished" mentally :/
Started this day by oversleeping (not the best start of a looong day), then I gave a talk about nuclear power and radiation at the biology department, and after that I've been working at Gry's office (she helps me A LOT <3) and my own office.
me, ready (sort of) for talking to the biology students - wearing one of my favourite dresses from HM, and of course heels  
After spending a couple of hours fine tuning my gamma detector calibration, I made this plot - showing gamma radiation from oxygen and beryllium. It looks like the peeks are only 20-30 kilo electronvolts "off", and I think that's ok (I'll ask someone with much more experience than me tomorrof, of course!).

So now I've started to look at time correction stuff - having "fun" with staring at these different graphs. If they look the same, I can tell you they're not, but it's definitely not easy to see which one is "best". At least not for me...
After a good night's sleep it will probably be clearer when I can discuss this with someone (Supervisor Sunniva? 😉 )  tomorrow - meaning; I've been at the University for 12 hours, and now it's time to go home <3

I admit it; I'm feeling stressed.
Our nuclear physics workshop/conference here in Oslo, where I'm supposed to give a talk (and show RESULTS) is only three weeks away, and my gamma detectors are not yet calibrated. Don't get me wrong: it's not like I'm giving up (I don't think I'm a quitter), but I know there is work to be done. I think I have to go through my plan, and check how I'm doing with my milestones/goals - I'll give you an update tomorrow <3

I think I could have worked faster, but I really really want to understand this - and make sure I make NO MISTAKES! So today I made this table, and the next step is to try to find the different gamma energies from the table and place them in the plot...hope my "prework" will pay off, and that tomorrow will be successful day 😉

So, in the calendar today there are gammas (gamma radiation) - I´m giving you an ALFNA matrix 😀 xD <3
The ALFNA matrix/plot is a sort of 3 dimensional plot where there is the excitation energy of some nucleus (we don´t know which one - and this is what we/I try to figure out) on the y-axis, and on the x-axis is the energy of the gamma(s) the nucleus sends out. The thing is that when a nucleus is hit by a particle, the nucleus is excited, or sort of heated - it gets some extra energy, and to get rid of that extra energy it sends out  gamma radiation. 
From earlier experiments that have been done (the bible is here) we know quite a lot about what kind of gammas (which energies) the different nuclei will emit when they are excited to this and that energy. In this particular ALFNA matrix we believe that we have oxygen-17 (there is always some oxygen 🙂 ) and beryllium-10 (the backing of the uranium foil/target is made from beryllium). The oxygen-17 peak for example, is supposed to emit a gamma ray with an energy of 870 kilo electron volts (keV), and here it is at around 1300 keV - which means that we are quite off, and everything needs to be calibrated (which is exactly what I´m working on now 😉 ).
So this is the plot I´ve been staring at today (together with my supervisor, Sunniva <3). 
...and I´m staring even more now (pretending to have a really huge brain) - looking like this 😛

Only 8ish days ´til Christmas now...and in todays calendar is another cross-section graph - this time it´s the cross-section/probability of neutron capture on uranium-233:

On the y-axis is the value of the cross-section (the higher the number, the higher the probability of a neutron being captured by the nucleus when hitting it), and on the x-axis is the energy of the neutron.
But there are several graphs here...and they all show different values for this cross-section - the truth is that we don´t exactly know what it is (my research is into this...) :/ The blue, turqoise and red lines are the "official numbers" (evaluated nuclear data), the different dots are actual measurements (some with HUGE error bars), and the green line is calculated with the default input parameters about the nucleus.
It´s quite an important cross-section for the thorium fuel cycle, since it tells us about the probability of a neutron being captured by uranium-233 instead of making it fission (which is what we want it to do) - so it would be nice to know it better 😉

In Berkeley it´s 3 PM December 10th, so it´s not too late with todays calendar graph 😉
In the calendar today is a very important and very preliminary plot - of the gamma ray strength function of uranium-234. Inside the heart is a little "bump" that is actually really important, and you will get a much better plot of this later (when the analysis is finished) - and also an explanation of what it is...but be patient, and remember that the advent season is about waiting 😉