Month: October 2016 (Page 1 of 2)

Conferences – what for do we participate in them?

I have two different pictures of the reasons what for people go for the conferences – Polish one and let’s call it “international” one. 

Bellow the photo from the international conference which I attended this week (of course I blurred it because I didn’t asked people if I can publish their faces)

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Secret notebook – about research project development 

After my first year of the PhD studies I was with my Friend on a Summer School. One day we went to a museum and he had bought as a souvenir little, green notebook with an eye (if I good remember). He told me that he would note there his brilliant ideas 🙂 

Few months later we were together on a conference. He had his little, green notebook and he made some notes there, when speakers told something interesting, inspiring, important… 

Few months later I come up with an idea of my PhD project (version 3.0). I thought that if I had wanted to treat this project seriously and I had wanted to develop it I should have a notebook where I could write my ideas and notes and comments of people with whom I talked about my research project. Below the first page of that “secret notebook” – “PhD thesis. Concept 3.0”:

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“Side projects” dilemma 

What do I call a “side project”? As I taught my students in Bremen – always define the used terms in the beginning of your paper to be sure that you and your readers think about the same things. The “side project” for me is everything what we do and what is not directly connected with our PhD project, for example:

  • Your supervisor asked you to wrote some paper for his/ her conference
  • A colleague from your department is a book editor and asked you to write a book chapter
  • Your professor asked you to be a book chapter co-author
  • Your colleague from studies asked you to work on some parts of his/her research project
  • Someone invited you to joint research and a paper writing afterwards
  • You applied for a scholarship abroad with other research project than your final PhD project
  • You found some interesting volunteering opportunities
  • Your Professor asked you to assist her/his courses
  • You received financial grant for a summer school (10 days somewhere)

Topics of papers/ research / activities can be related with your PhD research but not necessarily.

Take a part or not take a part in the “side project”?

It is hard question to answer.

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I attended a small, village, primary school in 90s. One of our courses in a third grade was called “handwork”. There I had learned crocheting for the first time. My mum is very good at crocheting so I was practicing with her.
Last time I had a crochet hook in my hands in 2011. I was on an internship in a kindergarten and teachers there wanted to prepare some Easter decorations so I made chickens like this:


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Ups I did it again! – About importance of the breaks

As I and my Husband say – “It is easier to give advices, than to apply your own advices” 

During a work on the joint paper I forgot about an important aspect of my new work system – breaks after every 90 minutes of the work. Or maybe it is better to say that I ignored it. Because I had my tree planted for 90 minutes and I was counting time in my teamwork, so I exactly knew when 90 minutes passed. 

And what? And nothing.

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Jorge’s cake (a.k.a. Swedish wet chocolate cake) 

Story behind

I learned how to bake this cake from my Friend in Bremen, who learned it from his friend from Sweden. He was talking about this cake a lot of times, and I decided to learn it, and bake it for my Husband birthday. A few days before his birthday my Friend had baked the cake again with his friends. He had invited me for a “quick course of baking” (as I wrote before, I am not too much “baking person”). I had taken my notebook, and I wrote down a list of ingredients, and I was observing whole “baking process”. The original cake was very sweet, and not cocoa (in original recipe is 500ml of sugar and 120ml of cocoa). I came back to home happy that it is so so so easy cake 😀 that evening my Husband mentioned during our conversation – “Don’t buy this sweets anymore, they are too sweet for me”. I was devastated by this news, I was thinking – “I cannot bake the chocolate cake anymore, it is too sweet. What can I do? I don’t know any other cake.” In the end I found very easy recipe for an apple cake, because my Husband is a fan of the apple cake 😀 But Jorge’s cake has stayed with me forever. I bake it for all my guests 😀 Because it is the easiest and the quickest cake to prepare in the world. And it always successful 😀 Enjoy 😀

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When enough is enough? – about a literature review

It is a question which I still don’t know how to answer….
I have this tendency, and I am not sure if it is because curiosity or perfectionism, that I want to include in my writing (no matter if it is a thesis or a paper) almost all literature which exists in a particular topic. I am totally crazy with “original sources” (my students from Bremen know something about that ;)), that is why I always try to go to this very old books, and papers, and read them by myself than “cite someone who cite someone”, and rely on what other people wrote about this or that work. In the end I spend hours going from one book to another, from a reference list in one article to dozens of new pdf. downloaded, and it is like a ”never-ending story”….

And I always ask myself the question – when enough is enough?

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Reflections after one week with the new work system 

Our daily schedule looks great in the paper, so how it went during the first week…


Room for improvement

  • 90 minutes of work
  • 15 minutes breaks
  • Housework division
  • Messaging apps “off time” until 17.00
  • Sleeping hours
  • Working hours
  • Internet “off time” one hour before sleep
  • Mail use
  • 15 minutes evening meditation
  • Evening exercises

I „planted a tree” for every 90 minutes of work, and then I had my 15 minutes break. I was focused on work during this 90 minutes, and 15 minutes I devoted for a real break. What does the “real break” mean? It means to stand up from my computer, and:

  • go to do kitchen and make raspberry or camomile tea. I love this raspberry tea from Herbapol, it is the only one which I know, which contains 60% of raspberry fruits inside, hibiscus flowers, and rosa canina. So it is real raspberry tea not only flavoured black tea 😛 I always take it with me for my scholarships 😀


  • go to the leaving room to take a look on a world outside, and relax my eyes from short-distance looking, and to think about nothing, observe nature


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Pumpkin soup (Vegan)


For 2-3 people

Time of preparation – about 1 hour


  1. put some amount of rapeseed oil (maybe 2-3 table spoons) to a pot

2. put chopped 3 cloves of a garlic and 1/2 of a red onion and 1/2 of a white onion -size as on the photo – green cup is a “reference point” 😉


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Cooking – bo, nie samym doktoratem człowiek żyje ;)

“Man shall not live by PhD alone” – paraphrasing Bible quote “Man shall not live by bread alone”

Cooking is something what I love doing and enjoy effects of it 😀 When I was in Bremen and I spent a lot of time in an office, ate in Mensa, and my Husband ate at home by his own, I had special “cooking day” with my Husband. Even my Professor knew that I went out earlier that day – right after our joint lectures 😉 It was a day when we were cooking together and enjoying self-prepared food 🙂

In a kitchen I am more artist than engineer, probably that is why I am good in cooking. but not in baking, where you need to be more precise with measurements. Most of my dishes are effect of free creation as my “Pumpkin soup” this week or “Seafood pasta” when I was visiting my friend in Bremen – I go to the kitchen, or to a grocery with a general idea  what I want to cook, and then particular ingredients just come to my mind as a burst of inspiration. There are only two things which I always make according to a recipe – Béchamel sauce and Jorge’s cake (it is a separate story about the cake).

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