The great thing is that ichthyosaurs are so awesome: no one feels bad about spending all their time thinking about them. That’s what I’ve spent my last four years doing. It will also be what I spend a large part of the next three years doing.
Certainly that doesn’t mean that ichthyosaurs are the only interesting thing out there: having the joy of being in such a large research group, there are so many people doing so many different things in palaeontology. I’m looking forward to the next three years and also the trials and treats they will bring.
All of that is a prelude to the announcement that that PhD that I started in 2011 is now at its end, in the first instance: there remain only the corrections and eventual publishing (hopefully) to deal with. And in the meantime, I’ve only gone and wrangled myself a job! much to my parents amusement, surprise, and pleasure.
The joy of not having a PhD is that there is no burdening deadline rapidly approaching where everything becomes do-or-die; no letters threatening to kick me off the course should I not submit by such and such a date (ahem); no late nights worrying about all those things that you could do, haven’t done, should have done, want to do … people say that doing a PhD is one of the most stressful things you can do in life. Thankfully, I’ve spoken to various postdocs who say that finding grant money afterwards is much worse, so I have that to look forward to.
But the great thing about doing a postdoc – and, particularly from my point of view, doing the postdoc that I’m doing – is that what I am doing next is a continuation and extension: as part of the continuing JESBI (Jurassic Environment of Strawberry Bank, Ilminster; I don’t know whether it still has that name) project I’ll be doing more ichthyosaurs anatomy, adding in some marine crocodilians, then extending to do function studies with a slew of numerical, engineering-based techniques; all in the spirit of onwards and upwards. This is alongside the
venerable esteemed coalition of Matt Williams (Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute); Mike Benton, Emily Rayfield, and Jakob Vinther (Bristol); Matt Friedman and PhD student (Oxford), and Andrew Ross (National Museum of Scotland).
Rather conveniently, this has been summed up recently be several of the above in an article, webpage, and was also presented at the Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting earlier this week. This is simply an introduction and notice of changes – this post doesn’t actually say that much.
The important thing is: watch this space…