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The anatomy of a graduate student's desk

The anatomy of a graduate student's desk
May 22, 2019 545 views

Pulvis et raginae (The Dust Queen) is a subspecies of Loessulum Fanaticus, The European Loess Enthusiast. Most of you, however, may be more familiar with the common name – The Kaja Fenn. The Kaja is not a native subspecies to the UK shores, originating from the distant Polish coast. This species has adapted to the local environment with ease and is fully integrated with local ecosystems. In just a single generation, the Kaja is already consuming huge quantities of Marmite and using phrases like “Bob’s your uncle.’ In addition to Marmite, its main energy source is coffee; a single Kaja can consume as many as 6-7 cups a day. The Kaja thrives in a wide range of habitats; the warm darkness of the luminescence lab, the loess sections of the Danube river, LA-ICP-MS labs, and in a rowing boat. The Kaja is often heard before being seen, the characteristic call “bloody feldspars” echoing around the luminescence lab and startling the other scientists. The Kaja is very inquisitive and adventurous by nature, especially when loess, geochronology, or geochemistry is involved. The Kaja has been known to scale cliffs on ropes and ladders, and even wrestle with a snake in the endless pursuit of loess samples. The Kaja is hot headed and impulsive, though only becomes dangerous if someone threatens access to food and coffee.

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  1. Postcards from friends all around the world
  2. An orchid I am desperately trying not to kill… her name is Malcolmena
  3. Rock garden, generously supported by the Anglo-Polish Rock Exchange Program (APREP)
  4. Sad gallbladder (if you haven’t seen the Awkward Yeti comic strip you are missing out)
  5. Bottle of Croatian liqueur for those dark days
  6. Some samples that urgently need analysing
  7. “I like my coffee black, like my soul” coffee mug – it was love at first sight
  8. A pile of papers I have been meaning to read ASAP for the last year and a half
  9. Some samples someone sent me, which I should probably analyse
  10. Tough Mudder Finisher headband – I put it on when I need to feel like I can
  11. Our omnipresent overlord, Facebook
  12. Family photos
  13. Graphs, always making graphs. There is no science without graphs
  14. International Chronology Chart, because I am really bad at remembering the timing of geologic periods
  15. Remembering to keep this brain hydrated is very important
  16. Every geographer will know how important a pencil case is. And this is the best pencil case on the market – “Pen Orgy. In Here Tonight. Pencils Welcome Too.”
  17. Wedding photos – remind me of happy times
  18. Keys to my dark world, aka the Luminescence Lab
  19. Past PhD thesis I said I will read when I have some spare time…
  20. The world on the other side of the looking-glass

This story was published on August 23, 2018, on the blog Evidently Scientifical (available here) and has been republished here with permission.

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