Thursday, July 30, 2009

Synopsis of My Learnings and Some Anecdotes

Author: Dipesh Dey


1. How to plan research work well ahead of time before onset of actual experiments, with a publication in sight.

2. How to ripen sand, i.e. grow biofilms on it.

3. How to collect river water and store it in airtight manner best avoiding possibilities of bacterial growth in it.

4. How to use Total Organic Carbon analyzer.

5. How to test ATPs of sand with biofilms on it.

6. How to characterize the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) matrix of water samples, in terms of humic-like, protein-like substances, using Flourescent Excitation/Emission Matrix (FEEM) instrument.

7. How to obtain FEEM spectra without using FEEM instrument, but rather a combination of simple spectrophotometer and a Matlab code.

8. A bit of: How to determine descriptors using analytical softwares like Hyperchem, Chem3D and Dragon.

9. A bit of: QSAR modeling (Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship) to predict biodegradability of a chemical structure and find removal of pharmaceutically active compounds from water/wastewater without conducting experiments in the lab.

10. How to work in a different atmosphere with different infrastructure-based organizational practices.

11. Why research papers coming out of Holland in peer-reviewed journals have too many authors in 99% cases!

12. A lot more, but nothing official about it.


1. Some Dutch doctoral students like to have Indian snacks with Dutch beer! It reduces their graduation time, they believe.

2. How to take portrait photograph of a stranger Dutch woman on a Dutch street if you can't speak Dutch - be direct in approaching her with your camera lifted to your mouth level, strike an innocent Garfield expression with your eyes, wait a second to let her smile, click; else, please don't ask, let her go, she is really busy!

3. Ripley's Believe It or Not! A Ph.D. student gets a stipend of 5,000 USD/month and a Post-doc 10,000 USD/month, with tuition, medical expenditure and accommodation fully free, in King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia (where Dr. Gary Amy is the new Director of Dept. of Water Desalination & Reuse)!!!! A Lecturer with a Ph.D. and 1 year of Post-doc experience, serving in UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft, the Netherlands, earns lesser!!! Sun Kyu (Andrew) Maeng adds, "Believe it!"

4. Where would you go for a family weekend outing if you lived in Delft in the Medieval period? There's a house in Delft, known as "the lunatics' house", close to the bottle-neck shaped house. In the 16th century the house used to be the venue of a club of highly intelligent people, who always looked crazy by appearance and never socialized. Common people used to buy tickets to sit in a glass-covered room in the house (the-then laughter room), to view them doing weird things and break into laughter. What's the use of that building now?....Its a students' hostel!!! (learnt from the guide of Delft canal trip.)

5. A Dutch roadsign beside a canal in Koornmarkt, reads, "Niet plassen in het kanaal van water"!!!! Use google translator for the meaning in English! I guess the roadsign glows in a dark night! (showed and translated to me by co-traveler Alcina, a language teacher in a Dutch school).

Tip for new IRES student:
Plan your 2.5 months well....1 month, sleep well, 1 month work very very hard, rest 2 weeks in the end, wonder what Dr. Yeh expected of you!!!

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