When I was an undergrad, I only got about 6 hours of sleep per night. I know that it isn’t healthy, but I was able to function very well. I needed 4 hours minimum to function.

It’s only been 2 years since I completed my undergraduate degree, but I need 6 hours minimum to function. Yesterday was a huge test of that. My advisor wanted me to look at 25 different fields in 235 frequency channels, in hopes of spotting a maser. For whatever reasons, we have not been successful in finding the number of masers that are supposed to be there, which is why he wanted me to take on this daunting task.

Since I’m pretty sure my readership doesn’t know much about the imaging process I do, here’s the quick and dirty version of it. The idea of the field is it look at different areas, in case you were wondering. So let’s say 0,0 (x and y coordinates) is center. For your visualization, I drew what a 3×3 box would be like.

In the picture I drew, there are nine fields. Each field represents a section of the sky. Field 1 would be (how I picked it) would be 0,0. Field 2 can be anything else, but I like to go in order, so it would be 1,0. The actual one I did was 5×5. What the program does is look at different fields. I determine if a maser is present in the field and if I want to clean the image. I give the computer a command, it attempts to clean it. Sometimes, I have to do this several times. Once I finish all the channels, I can run stats on the field.

This entire process took 8.5 hours with virtually no breaks. I started at 6:30 PM and ended up working until a bit after 3 AM. I was afraid AIPS or my computer would crash, so I didn’t pause it. I have to run some statistical stuff on it, but unfortunately, I spotted nothing in the other fields. In short, it was all essentially for nothing from what I can tell. I ended up consuming 6 cups of coffee that did not work, a lot of Doritos, udon noodles, and half a carton of grapefruit juice. My motor skills were kind of shot by the end

This morning I was very exhausted, but I had work with TAing. Luckily, it was an easy lab (electromagnetic induction), and it was one I genuinely like. I still long for the days where 5 hours of sleep was sufficient. THe lack of sleep is making today go by a little painfully. However, there is personal project work to be done (study for the physics GRE).

Sometimes projects like these really test your love of a topic.