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Author Topic: allow me a moment of frustration
Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted December 05, 2009 13:48      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There's nothing anyone can do about this (trust me. I just need to vent.

I somehow slid through a crack and ended up with a post-doc at the top-tier physics institute three doors down from my former department. Seriously. This is, like, a Nobel laureate farm. And one of the reasons it is a Nobel farm is they have fantastic support staff, including a world-class machine shop staffed with excellent machinists who made various parts of my instrument. This machine shop is also open to students, some of whom aren't so excellent (though there was one who actually ended up deciding that rather than getting a PhD in physics he'd like to be a machinist and now works in the machine shop). This machine shop is also located directly above the room my instrument is in. And my instrument is very sensitive to acoustic noise.

This is all kinds of less than ideal and when they're working especially hard, it shows up in my data. These last couple weeks have been bad for some reason. I'm lucky in the sense that my signal is big enough to get past the extra noise, but I was hoping that today I could get some nice quiet data because it's the weekend. Right?

Wrong. Some student is up there right now, running a machine so hard I can not only hear it, I can frickin' feel it. And it's screwing me up big time. Seriously. I can't do shit while that thing upstairs is running.

The worst part is, the student up there working is probably thinking the same thing I am: it's a Saturday afternoon, it's all quiet and lonely and I can get some work done!

[Mad] [Mad] [Mad]

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted December 05, 2009 14:29      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Find the electrical circuit-breaker for the machine shop [evil]

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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littlefish
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Icon 1 posted December 05, 2009 15:10      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well that's a bit crappy. I'd go have a word, and find out if/when they'll stop.

If not, sod off home and cut your losses.

If it carries on, move your instrument to a lab in the basement.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted December 05, 2009 15:39      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
We are in the basement.

There is, however, a sub-basement, where our AFM is. Thing is, other people also use that sub-basement space and there isn't enough space for us. We were lucky to get that corner for the AFM. The optical traps are much bigger.

I've been analyzing data, since I'm behind on that anyway. :/

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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Grummash

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Icon 1 posted December 05, 2009 16:24      Profile for Grummash     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Xanthine - ok,you said no-none can help, and you said you just want to vent....but here is a small vibe of support, if it brings any comfort....

speak to your tutor/mentor/adviser...surely you have the right to work in peace?

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...and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes...

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted December 05, 2009 16:37      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
____ POOP, There are anti-vibration pads for machines, yours and upstairs. How ever it also appears that your equipment needs Ear-muffs. There are electrical circuits that in effect nullify the noise, that is going to require a sound engineer to develop a sensor circuit that will be the inverse of the sound, it can be done but may be quite expensive.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted December 06, 2009 00:11      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
there is always third shift (midnight to 8) [Razz] [evil]


I worked as a third shift(midnight to 10 or noon) chemist five years ago. I always got all my work done plus 50% the work of anouther chemist working third shift. I was the only chemist in the labs on third shift out of 20 chemists.

I took naps, watched simpsons, and still got more work done than the day shift chemists just 'cause i was all alone and bored.

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"If they're not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?"

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted December 06, 2009 00:42      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TheMoMan:
____ POOP, There are anti-vibration pads for machines, yours and upstairs. How ever it also appears that your equipment needs Ear-muffs. There are electrical circuits that in effect nullify the noise, that is going to require a sound engineer to develop a sensor circuit that will be the inverse of the sound, it can be done but may be quite expensive.

I'll have to look at exactly what they've got going on upstairs. My machine is, in essence, a glorified microscope. All the optical components (ie, the business end) are bolted onto a floating optical table (when I lean on it, it farts nitrogen) with pads and we have an active stabilization system for data collection as well. It works sort of like nose-cancelling headphones, but with lasers. However, when whatever it is gets going up there...*sigh*. It's a known problem. This is why it's usually considered beneficial to work on the weekend. For someone to be up there making that much of a racket on a Saturday is just...weird.

kreziserb was flabbergasted when I whined to him. He built his own parts in grad school (and sometimes machines stuff for his company, just because he can) and says the machines shouldn't be that loud. I think that whoever was up there today was doing something wild or something stupid. I heard heavy objects hitting the ground at one point.

People in the lab do take the third shift, Ashitaka. It's something we try to avoid for obvious reasons, but it has been done in the past and will be done in the future, but really, I shouldn't have to do that for these experiments. Really, it should be round about impossible to drown my signal in noise. Today, though, that happened.

I think the problem right now is, all the labs get a machine shop allowance to burn through each year. Use it or lose it and the year is ending. So everyone who didn't use up their shop allowance earlier this year is burning it up now.

Meh. Detecting movement on the nanometer scale is rough. Vibrations throw things off, changes in temperature throw things off, changes in laser intensities throw things off, air bubbles in the immersion oil are disasterous, and, oh by the way, if your oil's gone off or you aren't using just the right amount, things will be off. We never turn off the lights in the instrument lab. It changes the temperature so much we can pick it up in our data (as I discovered a few weeks back). And these are fluorescent lights too! When I first joined up, I thought my new labmates were just about the most anal-retentive people you could ever hope to meet. But they're not. They really aren't. It's just the experiments really are that sensitive.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted December 06, 2009 02:33      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
____ Sooooooo, You have one hell of a seismograph?

____ That sucks really, Some time look at the lens on the Speedometer in your car. now think about the polish that we had to put into the mold that made that lens, same problem. We had a special building for lens mold polishing. Four foot thick concrete floor, temp control & humidity control we did not try to control Baro.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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littlefish
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Icon 1 posted December 06, 2009 05:32      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I saw a TV programme the other day where they went to NPL (like NIST), where they make and store standards. They had an air table on another air table. I be that was pretty stable.

I hope the people upstairs have got whatever they were up to done.

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted December 06, 2009 06:29      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
____ Even air tables can conduct sound, poop.

____ However Xan. you have given me an idea on building a seismograph. Suspend a mirror from three threads, shine a laser at it and put a photomultiplier tube at the reflection, that should tell me if the ground is shaking. Thanks for the input.

--------------------
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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zorgon
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Icon 13 posted December 07, 2009 09:14      Profile for zorgon     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I work on ships, so I totally sympathize. I can't imagine a situation where an AFM would ever work on a ship, however [Wink]

See if you can get the department to spring for a better vibration-isolation table. Kinda doubt that will help, though -- you should get them to move you. Good luck!

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Xanthine

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Icon 8 posted December 07, 2009 13:02      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It would be nice if they'd let us move. Too bad we're sort of low on the totem pole. I suppose we should just feel lucky we have basement space. Everyone wants space in the basement because it is quieter. The special people even get space in the basement that's not under a machine shop.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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littlefish
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Icon 1 posted December 07, 2009 14:00      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Wherever I've ver worked, the people with the most sensitive stuff get the basement - optical tweezers, very sensitive balances etc. I've never really had to deal with anything like that. I had a spectrometer that should have been able to routinely make a measurement, but kept failing because people looked like they might walk near it. (Step scan FTIR) It was a quick and dirty experiment, and if we realy wanted it to work we would have bought a proper table to sit it on. It was an an old wooden one. I'd still like to do step scan, but so does everyone with a posh FTIR. It's cool, but tricky.

And remember - it could be worse, you could be writing papers!

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted December 07, 2009 14:21      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
the top-tier physics institute...
...a Nobel laureate farm...

Too bad we're sort of low on the totem pole.

I see nothing's changed in academia. [ohwell]

--------------------
If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted December 07, 2009 15:36      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
TFD, the totem pole situation is both better and worse than you realize, but I'm not comfortable going into detail in an open forum. Our space for now is what it is. Most of the time, it's okay. But when they go at it hard, it's a bad place to be.

Supposedly, we're getting an addition or something built and maybe then we'll be able to move. Of course, moving has its own drawbacks because then we'll have to take everything apart and re-align all the optics and that'll just be painful.

quote:
Originally posted by littlefish:

And remember - it could be worse, you could be writing papers!

ROTFLMAO!! Noisy Saturday aside, I'm about halfway to a cute little paper.

Papers are the currency of science, but writing them is even worse than paying taxes.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted December 09, 2009 02:13      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
_____ There is nothing worse than having to fight your equipment, just to get your job done. Xan from your description of the noises, some one was using a single point tool in a milling machine (fly cutter) at our shop using that tool could get you thirty days off.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5848 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted December 09, 2009 09:51      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is academia so I don't know what the rules are or how they're enforced. I do know that this sort of crap happens in the after-hours when students and post-docs get on the machines. The pros are, well, pros. Presumably if you break something or do something very dangerous you'd lose your shop privileges, but it's just as likely people who misbehave up there simply get chewed out, and if you've ever spent more than a couple years in grad school, getting chewed out just sort of becomes one of life's little routines.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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