Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Dog and Pony Show

You don't have to work (or be in grad school) for too long before you start getting asked to help with a dog-and-pony show. Being a service organization, we tend to more than most. That doesn't necessarily follow, does it? Let me try and clarify. Most of our work is short term (3 months or less) projects. Some of the projects will immediately lead to another, but most often not. Instead, there is a future project down the road. So we need to keep ourselves in their minds, and also look for new clients. The economic downturn has decreased the size of the projects and upped the time between.

Today's presentation was a doosey. Four of us gave 30 minutes background talks, followed by four 30 minute hands-on working sessions. Thank goodness I can just type this and not have to talk anymore. My voice is gone, my introversion character is rapidly rebelling and I need time to myself to decompress. Thank goodness the Twins game (#163 out of 162) is on in an hour. That and a beer or two.

I always have mixed emotions talking about rheology. I absolutely love the subject and can go on way too long, but the problem is that it is a very complicated and difficult subject. I keep thinking of that Einstein quote, about how if you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it. Some aspects of rheology can be explained simply, but a lot can't. And I don't think it's just me. I've yet to see an sub-undergraduate level explanation of time-temperature superposition.

Regardless, the day was certainly worthwhile - most people do not think of rheology, only gettin as far as viscosity. Looking behind the first curtain to see the storage and loss modulus is so informative (but for eternal enlightment, one must go the through the wall and seek the relaxation spectra!) Lots of good questions, which caused the schedule to lapse. Not a problem and that clearly showed we were getting somewhere. That doesn't pay the bills however, so we will soon see if we really hit the target.

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