EGU Blogs

Some 2014 Ph.D Goal Setting

For my first post of the new year I thought it might be a good idea to make some resolutions, especially since everyone else is doing it. Part of doing graduate work is setting goals, ignoring those goals until the week before, and then working 22 hour days to achieve them. Ian, (my supervisor), if you’re reading this I swear that is just a joke!

Source –  “Piled Higher and Deeper” by Jorge Cham.

In all seriousness though I am hoping that 2014 will be a big year for me. My ultimate goal is to have hopefully defended by this time next year or at the very least submitted my thesis. Of course, I am falling into the obvious trap pictured below by publicly announcing my intent to finish within a year.

Source – “Piled Higher and Deeper” by Jorge Cham.

However, I think that if I set reasonable goals and work really damn hard I can get this thesis done. Hopefully, no major issues occur in the lab or elsewhere that delay things. The easiest way to accomplish this Herculean task is to break it down into somewhat more bite-sized chunks and tackle those one at a time. Trying to think of this as a whole will not help me accomplish anything. Luckily for me uOttawa accepts thesis’s? theses? that are composed of a collection of separate articles, which is the format that I’ll be using.

2014 Goals

– Finish paper on combustion technique – this is nearly done, just have to respond to the journal reviewer comments.

– Continue writing Fukushima paper. Getting there…..this one is not writing itself at the moment, but I am making slow progress every day. If you were at Goldschmidt 2013 you heard this talk.

– Finish all lab work related to iodine and 129I transfer in the Wolf Creek watershed and synthesize data – this is also nearly done, just a few more samples to run on the AMS. Of course the data synthesis and some statistical analysis will take some time.

– Write paper on Wolf creek watershed, make figures, etc.

– Data synthesis and writing of large scale Yukon watersheds project. Got a paper to write here now that I have all the data. Of course there is lots of work to do still on figure making and data analysis as well.

– Learn about noble gas extraction and fissionogenic xenon isotopes…also learn more about stats.

– Start combustion extractions of iodine in Bruce deep geologic repository site core and analyze on AMS and ICP-MS.

– Go to England and analyze xenon isotopes in Lancaster???? Not sure if this is happening yet. Fingers crossed!

–  Synthesise data and write paper on fissionogenic isotopes in ancient groundwater.

– Go to a conference, be it AMS13 in France, GSA in Vancouver, etc….or maybe go to two.

– Get some writing done at the cottage this summer!!!! Very important.

– Staple all this crap together and turn it in.

– Defend! Oh god, I hope this one happens in 2014!

I am flip-flopping between the last two panels at the moment! (Source) – “Piled Higher and Deeper” by Jorge Cham.

Wish me luck, oh yeah, I have to do some blogging here and there as well. On that vein, I would love to have a few more guest posts, since as you can see I am going to be busy this coming year. So if you read this, and are interested in sharing your research, please contact me in the comments or on twitter and we can arrange something.


Matt Herod is a Ph.D Candidate in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada. His research focuses on the geochemistry of iodine and the radioactive isotope iodine-129. His work involves characterizing the cycle and sources of 129I in the Canadian Arctic and applying this to long term radioactive waste disposal and the effect of Fukushima fallout. His project includes field work and lab work at the André E. Lalonde 3MV AMS Laboratory. Matt blogs about any topic in geology that interests him, and attempts to make these topics understandable to everyone. Tweets as @GeoHerod.