Good morning!
I forgot it takes forever to get from Charles de Gaulle airport, north of Paris, to the lab in Orsay, south of Paris... Normally I prefer to fly Norwegian to the Orly airport, which is just between the city and the lab, but this time Air France was the only company with reasonable flight times. Anyway, by the time I finally arrived at the lab, I was starving, and had to get something to eat. Then there was catching up to do, and suddenly it was 10:30 PM and I had to go to sleep because I had signed up for the morning/day shift today. I´ve been at the lab since 7 AM, and heavy doses of chocolate and coffee are needed 😉
(Didn´t have time to put on my make up this morning btw., so I look a little...hmmm...don´t really know...:P )


So I told you yesterday that I was embarrassed, and that I would tell you about it - was planning on doing it last night, but now you know how come that didn´t happen. I will tell you now instead:
Last Friday I was on the radio, and one of the things I was talking about was the amount of radioactivity that was present at earth 3.5 billion years ago (when life started). So I was talking about the half-lives of thorium-232, uranium-238 and uranium-235. 
Thorium-232 has a half-life of 14 billion years, so the amount of thorium here on earth is more or less the same as it was 3.5 billion years ago. The half-life of uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years, so around half of what was here 3.5 years ago is gone.
So far, so good...
But then I talked about uranium-235, which has a half-life of "only" 700 million years. This means that 3.5 billion years is more or less the same as 5 half-lives of uranium-235. Then I did the mistake: I said that since 5 half-lives of this uranium isotope has gone by, there is one fifth of it left - in other words, 3.5 billion years ago there was 5 times as much uranium-235 on earth, as it is today.
WRONG! 5 half-lives doesn´t meen that there was five times more :/ *feeling stupid*
1 half-life of something means that after that time half of it is gone. Two half-lives means that 3 quarters is gone, three half-lives means 7/8 is gone, four half-lives means 15/16 is gone, and five half-lives means 31/32 is gone - 1/32 is left. 1/32 is around the same as 3%, and 3.5 billion years ago there was 32 times more uranium-235 on earth...!
My excuse is that I was really stressed the day before, and something did NOT feel right (e.g. I didn´t get the right percentage of uranium-235 to have fission and a chain reaction going on in nature - and now I know why 😛 ); but this was a "rookie mistake" - and I shouldn´t have done it 🙁

Hope you can forgive me <3 <3 <3

Tomorrow is an important nuclear anniversary - anyone that can guess what it is? I will tell you tomorrow 🙂


New week, new possibilities, new plan.
But first; an important nuclear jubileum today. One of my favourite elements was discovered - or, chemically identified - on this day, 74 years ago 😀 Glenn T. Seaborg, Edwin McMillan, Joseph W. Kennedy, and Arthur Wahl bombarded uranium with deuterons and identified PLUTONIUM (element number 94).
Plutonium is of course known for being used in nuclear weapons and reactors, but it´s also used in artificial pacemakers for hearts, and to power units in space probes <3
This week is about an exciting fission experiment at the lab in Orsay, outside of Paris, and what I call the "bridge chapter" in my thesis - I have to make a "bridge" between basic nuclear experiments and full core reactor simulations. This is what I see as the most challenging part of my thesis so far (and that´s probably the reson why I´ve been postponing to write for a very long time).
I think it´ll bee a good week, but the next 24 hours are critical ones (a little bit too much to do in too little time)...


It felt horrible, but I did it: I sent my extremely preliminary thesis outline to supervisor-Sunniva!
So now I just have to write the **** thing 😛 
Well, first work a little bit more on the outline, discuss with Sunniva, then write, that is... 🙂
Maybe I´ll show you when I´ve worked a little bit more on it - if you want me to? Maybe you´ll even have some good comments for me <3<3<3

It was actually good for me to have a plan last week, so I´ll continue to share my PhD plan/goal(s) of the week:

I worked more than 50 hours last week, but I didn´t get all the way to where I wanted, which was to make an outline for my thesis. Of course I do have an outline now, but it´s far from finished, and nothing I can show anyone yet - so my main goal this week is to finish and discuss it with supervisor-Sunniva (I will show her what I got, no matter how I feel about it on Wednesday, like my plan says 😉 ).
I also need to prepare the trip for Paris (experiment) next week, but the main goal is (I´m repeating, I know): OUTLINE OUTLINE OUTLINE - THESIS OUTLINE! (Yes, i think it´s difficult, and I don´t know where to start - so I change my mind all the time, and, yes, I feel insecure and stupid, and I actually started crying just before I was going to bed on Friday - had been drinking, though - but I felt like "this is something I just can´t do" :P)
Anyway; I feel much better now (I can do it!), and I just want to wish all of you a great start a new week!
PS: I want it to be hard too, because when you (I?!?) manage to do something really difficult, it´s so much more worth it  - so let´s just do this <3


...sort of...
I have to work on it - but I´m going with the "a not so detailed plan is better than no plan" 😉
So now I´ve told you, and then it´s so much worse if I fail; I have one month to write the first draft of my thesis, and in less than 11 months I have to submit the entire thing!
Of course I should make a better plan as soon as possible, but today was the day when I suddenly got that feeling that I just had to do it - had to get my thoughts out 😉 When I make an updated thing I´ll show you again.
Guess there are a lot of people with plans and deadlines out there; for example all high school students who are finishing high school this spring and applying for the universities - good luck to all of you!

It´s been a long day, and now I´m really tired, and just want to go to bed...but it´s also been a good, interesting and inspiring day, so before I go to sleep I just have to share some pictures 🙂
Thank you so much for all the nice comments I got on Twitter, btw!

Ole Petter Ottersen
me - in action 😉
Jørn Hurum 🙂
Jill Walker Rettberg and me after the conference
...and then I was home, and it felt great ...

I guess some (many?) believe I don´t get nervous before I give talks, since I do it "all the time" - and I don´t think I normally seem very nervous...well, I do get nervous. I´m nervous right now. Nervous about my talk tomorrow - feel like I have nothing smart to say. Nothing to contribute to the conference.
It´s probably "healthy" to feel like this from time to time, but it´s NOT fun :/
Of course, the rational part of me tell me it´s not entirely true that I have nothing, but, well, feelings...:P The best thing I can do right now is probably to go to sleep; so that´s exactly what I´m planning on doing in just five minutes 😉
Wish me luck, please <3

Einstein versus Chadwick.
E=mc2 versus the neutron.
1905 versus 1932.

I´m trying to decide on which paper I should present in the Article club in two weeks. I´ve "claimed" both Einsteins "Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy-content?" (energy equals mass times the speed of light squared) and Chadwicks "Possible existence of a neutron" (the discovery of the neutron). Both papers are short and sweet (except I don´t believe they really are sweet, they just look like it 😉 ), both really basic and important for my field of science...
Which paper is cooler? 
I must admit I get the feeling I like Chadwicks paper a liiiiitle bit more than Einsteins - but I´m not sure yet.
Which paper is YOUR favourite?