Getting started in Stavanger

 

Well, it is already soon September, and I am ready to embark upon my Ph.D. work here in the city of dark matter. Indeed it is — I have heard they have a big industry where they mine dark matter from underneath the sea bed here. They call it “oil”. The platforms they use are huge (pic. to the left)! So I am not at all sure why physicists are still asking whether dark matter exists or not… 😉

Nature?
Nature?

I have already been working for two weeks by now. There is so much I don’t know, and I have had to read up. Especially on some mathematical tools. Right now I am learning something called the Cartan formalism (Not to be confused with Dashman and the cartoon-formalism!) where something called the orthonormal approach is essential. Though it might not sound like a page turner, it is really quite fun when you finally understand it and see that you can calculate stuff with it. I am finally learning the tools I have wanted to know for quite some time, but never found the time and motivation to read. Today I reproduced the Einstein equations describing space outside a spherically symmetric black hole, and also the equations for a homogeneous, isotropic universe, which has the Big Bang as starting point. Those are text-book examples, but perfect for practice. As soon as I master them I may start applying the tools on new ideas.

I am hoping to be able to blog a bit more seriously about what I am really doing now. Time will show, however, if that really is going to happen, or if it is just another good and empty hope. Surely the life as a Ph. D. student is not a laid back one, so there might be more important stuff that I need to consider doing before blogging. Like drawing cartoons (cf. illustration) or going on conferences. Yes, I am going on a conference already next week!

Sometimes the maths get at me.
Sometimes the maths get at me.

“Cosmology and the Quantum vacuum” is the topic, and it happens to take place in Benasque in Spain. Ah… the struggles of a Ph. D. student… have to get up at 4 am  in the morning to catch the plane to Spain… 😉 My supervisor just let me know that he is going to present our work on viscous cosmology, so I better read up a bit again on what we did. You never know what they will ask. Exciting, though!

Anyways… from the physics side of things it seems that I will work on something related to modified theories of gravity during my studies here in Stavanger. If you have any questions about it, please contact me in a year’s time, and I will let you know what them say… .

At campus: I haven't figured out the meaning of this one yet.
At campus: I haven’t figured out the meaning of this one yet.

After a few years where I have been wondering, pondering and struggling both with questions of faith related character, and with questions concerning what direction my life is to take, I am glad to finally have gotten this opportunity. Actually I am going to work with exactly what I wanted. And I am reunited with my brothers and sister in law, who are also in town. Actually it turns out that the position that I am filling was some sort of a misunderstanding (but I won’t complain about that 🙂 )! The Lord has been good.

I am praying that the time here in Stavanger will do my soul well — seen from the reference frame of eternity.

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