Last week my second paper got accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics! This is basically what I have been working on for the last year (among some other smaller things, and observing). I like it much better than my first paper, as the star investigated here turned out to be incomparably much more interesting than the subject of that one, and because I have used a very wide range of scientific tools to unravel all the possible details. I am really happy about these results, even if they do not mean much for the public, and even if there are only a few people getting excited about what I have accomplished. The manuscript is already in the hands of the publisher, but as usual, you can find the paper on arxiv.org already. From now on (OK, already since I have finished the paper in January) I am working on data from the Kepler satellite. As far as I am allowed to tell you, things are looking very interesting ;)
But not the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ;) Anyway, I always publish in Astronomy and Astrophysics… Sorry for the bad astronomical joke… (If you can call this a joke…) But as I had no posts recently on the blog, I have to admit there is no better title for this entry. And this might get more and more common in the future, as my motivation for blogging is lower and lower these days.
Starting with a reference to A&A was not completely accidental, as I spent November and the beginning of December working hard to finish my second first-author paper, which I will submit to the mentioned journal in January. I spent several evenings at the Institute to meet my internal deadlines, but it was not that difficult (the stress is on the relative difficulty, I am not complaining that I had not enough pressure or tasks to deal with), as November is the low season in cycling (which means that I basically did not ride at all), so I had nothing else to do. Now the paper is basically 99% finished, and my supervisors – and me too – are very happy with the work I have done. We still need to wait for the final comments from the rest of my co-authors (I have already received two very positive ones with only minor comments to consider), but then it should not take more than a week of work before I can really submit after the Holidays. So I expect to have a second paper by the time I turn 27. Damn, I am getting old…
No matter how much work I have, I do not work on the weekends, this is one of my principles. This way I could join my friends to Bredene (where we played board games, had a great walk along the nice coast of Belgium across high grass and sand dunes in the wind – unluckily I expected crappy weather so I had only my phone with me to take pictures with, instead of my DSLR -, and we went to the concert of the Symfonisch Orkest van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel in which Ilse plays the French horn), help Tijl in building his terrace, play FIFA12 online (sometimes I rock, sometimes I suck, it really depends on how much I can concentrate, so now I do not play it anymore after midnight), and watch Rules of Engagement (thanks to Clio’s suggestion), which is really great (and especially Season 5 is hilarious).
After I was done with the paper, I had time to do other things too. First of all I took part in our programming battle at work (no results yet – update from January, 2012: I won 2 out of the 4 categories, the precision, and the length (so the shortness) -, but it was a nice task to solve, and I did it using python of course), then – maybe I had a bit too much time in my hands – I have written a small code to do N-body simulations in 3D. It was something I always wanted to try, and it was even useful, because I finally managed to figure out how to do 3D plotting in python, and how to do numerical integration using different methods. So it was not a waste of time at the end. (See video and description on Youtube.)
In December I restarted training on the indoor trainer (this is already the beginning of the next cycling season), and the AstroTeam went to the Velodrome in Gent again, now in our custom cycling kit, as a real team. I was a bit annoyed by the fact that I had forgotten my helmet at home, so I had to rent a crappy one, but besides this small mishappening, it was a great evening. I did three twenty minute sessions, and in the last one (which was the best of all) while I was riding with a fast group (at approximately 40-45 km/h), high, near the top of the curve, the guy in front of me crashed (after touching the rear wheel of the biker in front of him), and although I had already accepted the seemingly inevitable, that I would unavoidably crash into him or his bike turned across the slope in front of me, I passed him by centimetres as he slipped down the steep banks quick enough… I was a little bit shocked. I have never been this close to a real, classical bike crash. It was really something you normally see on the TV.
Now I am back in Hungary for the holidays, so I might have time to write about other (hopefully more interesting) things during these two weeks.
After months of work, uncountable iterations, and one round of revisions, the first scientific article in which I am involved as a first author is now accepted for publication in an international journal (Astronomy and Astrophysics)! It is not yet printed (that will take probably some additional months, but we do not really care about that anymore, in the age of the internet…), but the accepted version – before the language editing – can be found on arxiv.org already. I know this is not the most interesting paper ever, but I can assure you, that the star I am working on now will be a much bigger shot ;) Just wait for it… Anyway, as this is a very important step along the road which leads to a PhD degree, we have a tradition at the Institute, that one who publishes his/her first first-author paper, gives a reception to celebrate this event. So on Thursday afternoon, I served my colleagues with cakes, chips, 1 kg of Leonidas pralines (this will be a a tradition on my receptions ;D), champagne and wines. Among which there were two bottles of Royal Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos from 2006 (Tokaj is the region, Aszú is the type, the number of “puttony” is a measure of sweetness), a special Hungarian sweet dessert wine from the list of the World’s Top 100 wines of 2010. And at the end, we also opened a bottle of Pálinka (with honey and sour cherries). As far as I can tell, everyone was very happy with the reception ;)