The Crunch

Well… A crunch anyway. Perhaps not the crunch…

So feedback on my report was pretty good. All the critique I was hoping for, anyway; I certainly wasn’t expecting everything to be spot on first time (that would be miraculous). Still, all in all, I think things are going well. I certainly intend to take on all of the advice I’m given. As Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of Giants”. It would certainly be nice to see further, and this world offers no shortage of giants, upon whose shoulders one can stand.

So the things for me to concentrate on are:

    On Circumstellar Shells

  • Be cautious about what terminology I use. Some terms are widely used, while other terms are used rather less frequently
  • Consider the major differences in the extended structure of AGB stars, and how they differ from main sequence stars
  • Make my points clearer: regarding what I mean and how it relates

    On PAH Formation

  • Make better reference to existing reviewed mechanisms
  • Include better citation/discussion of McCall, Frenklach and Fiegelsen, Cherchneff and Barker, etc

    On small molecules

  • Use higher level approaches to problems (mapping contours, etc)


  • Make a clearer distinction within the discourse between literature, trivia and conjecture
  • General grammatical things; capital L for Lorentzian, those damn apostrophes, etc

So what’s next?
Well, my work on PAH formation and the concepts behind my work on small molecules are good. They need to be elaborated upon, but that’s certainly not a problem. I think picking up IDL (and dropping Fortran) for my modelling work would probably do me a world of good. Plus, there are plenty of people I can ask for help if I have troubles with IDL!

Plan of Action:

  • Learn IDL (shouldn’t be too difficult) and make some better models
  • Expand work on C2 to include rotational contours
  • Continue PAH formation work (including investigating molecular geometries and potential energy surfaces)
  • Learn how to use time dependent DFT calculations and apply them to my work
  • Get some quantitative results, dammit!


  • Investigate relative stability of PAHs with size/morphology
  • Consider circumstellar hydrodynamics
  • Read up about chemical reaction network theory and see how it might apply

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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4 Responses to The Crunch

  1. invaderxan says:

    Three molecular gastronomy things to make sure you get: Sodium alginate, calcium chloride, syringe. The rest is all down to imagination! :D

    An engraved lighter. That’s really sweet. :)
    A zippo, I trust? I like the second quote, personally.
    Well I’d be happy with those, so if that’s your benchmark, I reckon your boyfriend will too!
    By the by, if he hasn’t already, tell him to stop by Do More Poi sometime…

  2. Okay, so I am going to get him some fun molecular gastronomy chemicals.
    I’ve also been thinking of giving him an engraved lighter (The spinning stuff is out of my price range, and he’d be more into making his own.) I think it would be sweet (I hope) I’m thinking of going with “You must set yourself on fire” or “Laziness. Impatience. Hubris.” as the quote on it. The second on is a programming reference.
    Do you think that sounds good?

  3. invaderxan says:

    Oh, not weird at all. :)
    Let me see…
    As molecular gastronomy goes, El Bulli sell a range of really interesting ingredients. I’m not entirely sure where you might buy them though. You can even buy sodium alginate (for sphereification) and suchlike. For books on molecular gastronomy, some authors to look for include Hervé This, Ferran Adrià and Heston Blumenthal.
    As a firespinner (and self-confessed pyromaniac), these things make me go all tingly! Even if they’re kinda scary. Or there’s always these
    As for comics, I can’t speak for everyone, but… the Batman Knightfall Saga is awesome. As are the Hellboy comics. Personally, I’d love to own the collection of Sin City. Another one, Ultimate Spiderman is quite a good re-imagining of the original concept.
    Oh, and for something kinda comic book-like, Cowboy Bebop is easily my favourite anime series of all time!
    Hope that’s some help! :D
    (Though feel free to ask me anything else if you think it’ll be useful…)

  4. Hey,
    This might sounds little weird, but I wanted to ask your advice on something. My birthday just happened, and my boyfriend gave me the most amazing gifts. His birthday is coming up pretty soon, and I’d like to come up with a couple things that he’d really like. You have a lot of similar interests (fire spinning, molecular gastronomy, comics) and I was wondering if you have any ideas for gifts. Pretty much think of him as you with astronomy = bioinformatics.

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