mandag 30. november 2015

Surprised and inspired

Today's been quite a good start of a new week; I was at the university at half past eight this morning, and left at half past seven. I din't get through my entire to do list, but then again, I never do (maybe I need to rethink my way of making lists? ;) ). I did do quite a lot, though, and I'm (almost) ready for my talk at Arbeidslivskonferansen tomorrow (don't know what to wear yet, and I have to make a couple of notes - but I'm close), and I worked on my article, and started reading a new article from an experiment we did at our cyclotron, on uranium-238.

There are two words that sort of sum up my day today: the first is Surprised and the second is Inspired. 
Inspired is what I become from reading that article about uranium-238 - it's simply just so well-written (so far - I haven't read all of it, but I'm hoping the rest of it will continue as the beginning of it), and explains everything in a great way, and I actually love some of the sentences:
"To shed light into this puzzling observation... 
This has never been done before and is the aim of the present work... 
Britt and Cramer noticed that (...) the fission cross sections obtained via the surrogate reaction was significantly lower than the corresponding neutron-induced cross section. They attributed it to the breakup of the deuteron. Deuteron breakup is actually a rather complex process..."
I can't explain exactly what it is, but it inspires me to continue my work, and to try to make my own article as well-written and interesting as I can possibly manage.

The Google poetry came to be since I had to read a little bit about deuteron breakup - and I still have to read more about this tricky thing...(why can't the d**n deuteron just stick together?!?)

my kind of (Google) poetry <3

Surprised is what I become when people who themselves know A LOT about science (but don't work in a climate science related field themselves) don't believe in human induce climate change, for reasons like "CO2 is just small part of the greenhouse gases". I don't work with a climate science related field either, but I know two things: 
1) The scientist that I do know, that work with issues related to climate, tell me there isn't any doubt about human induced climate change, and
2) Based on the very silly misconceptions people (also other scientist that don't work in the field of nuclear physics) often make about, for example, thorium based nuclear power plants, I have seen how easy it is to know so much about something that you may think you understand the entire picture; but then it turns out there is some small effect from something you don't know about without having worked in the field for a long time - some effect that completely changes the picture. Since that's the way it is in my field of science, I'm pretty sure it can be exactly like this in other fields as well, and I think it's a little bit arrogant to think that because you know everything about one field, you probably know enough about any other field to say that this field is just BS...

And I think this is the only thing I should say about climate and stuff... Now I'm going to fix Alexandra's christmas calendar, and then I have to decide what to wear for my talk tomorrow, and then I have to make notes so that I'm sure I won't forget anything during the talk.

Kiss kiss <3

lørdag 28. november 2015

Pink! Part 2

Dear everyone, and happy Saturday - hope you're all enjoying the weekend!
I attended this years first christmas party yesterday, and after a very busy week I was so exhausted I had to leave the party at midnight (and I worked hard to stay that long) - guess that's kind of the price you pay when you try to work hard, play hard. 
The great thing about leaving such a party that early, is that you wake up feeling fantastic the day after ;) So far today I've been hanging out with Anders (finally!); we stayed forever in bed, and then we went to Colonal Mustard at Alexander Kiellands plass and had brunch, and now he's at the university (working with quantum field theory), and I'm at Espresso House at Majorstuen (preparing for my talks next week - I'm giving a completely new talk on Tuesday, so there is some preparing to do). 
A pretty ok Saturday, I'd say <3

Here are a couple of snaps from last nights party:

- me and Jo -

- just me, and my glass of wine, and my iphone, and the christmas tree... -


I know yesterday was supposed to be Friday Facts day, and I'm truly sorry there were no facts (or no blogging what so ever :/ ) yesterday - or the week before that! I promise Friday Facts will be back next week, and while you wait I want to give you part 2 of my sister, Carina's guest blog about my favourite colour - PINK! (Part 1 is HERE):

What is a colour?

When light hits something, the energy from the light makes some of the atoms excited. In those atoms an electron jump from it's own ("normal") electron shell (a, in the picture below), to an outer shell (b, in the picture below). The energy, however, isn't enough to keep the electron in the outer electron shell, so it jumps back to it's own, original shell (c, in the picture below). When it jumps back in, energy is released as a lightwave (called a photon). 
In the back of our eyes we have cones that react to these emitted wavelengths. An object might absorb some colours, and those colours are the colours you won't see emitted. White is a mix of all colours, this is what we see when all colours are absorbed, but none are emitted and caught by the cones. Black is the absence of colour, this is what we see if no colours are absorbed, but all are emitted and caught by the cones.  It's just that there isn't any wavelength for pink... 


PS: I was reminded by someone leaving a comment today, that I haven't told the story about how the neutrino got its name yet - as I promised earlier. I had actually forgot that I wanted to tell this story, so I was happy to be reminded, and I'm planning on telling the story in the week to come :) 
Also, don't forget about Question of the month; I'm collecting questions continuously, so if you have a good one, maybe your question will be next...

onsdag 25. november 2015

On my team, everyone can join! #teamsunnivarose

The title really says it all...But to make it (super) clear: since I wrote about #teamsunnivarose I've received a lot of really cool snaps (not so many picture on Instagram - maybe we could do better there, and really "show off"? :O ) from some great students (and others). Thank you so much, you make me happy and motivated every time! 
It would be so cool, though, if even more people would join the the team, since there's room for more - let's motivate each other :)

Just believe me: 




Here are a couple of the snaps (sunnivarose) and instas (@sunnivarose) I've posted lately:

Let's be proud, and let's not be afraid to show :)
Everyone can join #teamsunnivarose, and everyone's welcome <3


I'm on my way to Stavanger now, where I'll be talking about why choosing science tomorrow :)

Tomorrow evening I'll be going back home to Oslo, and that'll be good, since I really miss Anders now (yup; haven't seen him since Monday, and I'm already crying myself to sleep...ok, not all of that is true, but you get the picture :P ) - falling asleep next to someone you love is the best, and safest, feeling in the world <3

tirsdag 24. november 2015

Experimental setup. Check!

My main goal last week was to finish the part about the experimental setup for my next paper (article), and even though there will always be changes, I can still say that I more or less achieved my goal :D I still have to look at the comments and corrections that I got from Sunniva Supervisor, but that's not a very big job.
My next goal, or milestone, is to finish the part about the experimental results. I'm supposed to do this by the end of next week, and even though that should be enough time, I'm a little bit more uncertain about this one... To finish the results part, I also have to have all the results (which I don't), and since I'm spending this week on "tour" and next week I'm also giving two talks, there isn't that much time left to work on data analysis - but I just have to manage, spending the weekend, or something, I guess <3

(picture from

mandag 23. november 2015

#whatiwore on Friday

On Friday I started the day with a lecture for a bunch of physics teachers that were spending half of last week at the institute, to learn even more than they already do.
I must admit I always get a little bit nervous before I'm talking to teachers, since I have such a great respect for the job that they do, and the knowledge they possess; when it comes to "old" physics teachers I'm certain that I have almost nothing "to bring to the table" (except my very own research, which I'm probably the best at...). So when I'm giving talks to these people it always feels a little bit like I'm back in high-school, and that this is my final, oral exam ;)

In spite of my nervousness, I was still on "my field"; nuclear power and thorium - I know I know this, right, and therefore Friday's talk is one example of those occasions where I feel like I can be maximum girly: that means a combination of heels + dress + long hair + accessories <3 (The more secure I am about what I'm talking about, the more I can sort of "girly up" my outfit.)

I never know what to wear before I have tried on several outfits (which is also the reason why my suitcase is way heavier than it logically should have been, now that I'm on a little "tour", visiting schools around Norway; I visited one school today, where I gave two talks, there will be another school tomorrow, and yet another on Wednesday - on Thursday I'll be talking in Stavanger, and I can tell you for sure there are more than three outfits in my suitcase, since I can never know in advance what I want to wear on a particular day), but on Friday I ended up with a simple, quite short, light pink shift dress, that I bought when I visited Paris last year with my mother. I really like the length of the sleeves - just below the elbows - makes it perfect for this season.

With my glasses, that I have already become quite fond of, I feel like I can be even more girly (than without them; hello pink, and big "diamonds"!) - it's just like the glasses neutralize some of the girlyness ;) But when my hair is down, like here, I go a little bit back on the accessories when it comes to size, since it can be a little "competition" between all the hair and big ear rings (for example), and I just don't want that.

- I love to accessorise; not too much, but definitely not too little (rather too much ;) ) -

Only problem (or maybe I should call it challenge? ;) ) this time of the year is that it's cold, and all I really  want to wear is wool and soft clothes, layer on layer. Well, I guess you have to "suffer" a little bit...

- the dress, from my Paris trip with my mother exactly one year ago -

- my dearest Oslo, waking up in the background <3 -

torsdag 19. november 2015

Guest blog: Pink - part 1

Hi there people! Thursday already, and past ten already? Guess I should have gone to bed by now, since I'm getting up at six tomorrow (I have to, to get everything ready - look presentable before the talk I'm giving at nine, get Alexandra ready for kindergarden, and get her to kindergarden...should I do an outfit-post tomorrow, maybe, since I'm giving a lecture I could make a #scienceoutfitoftheday-post?), but I just sat down - literally, so I'm not through my to dos yet...:/

- me and my sister -

Anyway, to night I want to present you to my sister - Carina.
Carina is 25 years old, and studies biology at the university here in Oslo. She has two kids and one guy. She has giant snails in a terrarium, a rat in a cage that she's seriously allergic to, and she also just got a hedgehog that will spend the winter with her (biologists!).
She is really into science and scepticism, but still loves Harry Potter so much that's she's patiently waiting for a letter from Hogwarts telling her she's been admitted to the school. Carina's biggest dream is to own an elephant - preferably an African type - and she also has a blog, HERE (in Norwegian).

- me, and Carina, and our mother; at my birthday this year (Alexandra took the photo <3) -
- me and my sister getting ready in old Rose-castle - 

Carina knows how much I love pink, and therefore she has written a little something about pink (ok, I'm not sure it's completely true, but at least maybe she's been inspired by my crazy love for pink).


Part 1: Pink as a girly colour
Pink is a well known, and for many loved, colour. Actually there are few other colours that get as much attention as pink; both positive and negative.

Before the 40's, pink was primary a colour used on boys. In the 20's girls were supposed to be dressed in blue, because that was seen as a soothing colour, and girls should be cute, and calm. Now almost every girl is dressed in pink. 
There's just one thing though; pink does not exist. This is not a philosophical postulation of sex or gender, but a comment on visible lightwaves.


onsdag 18. november 2015

Question of the month: Is it hard?

Finally time for another QOTM, and this time I want to (try to) answer something I'm asked quite often, in different wrapping each time. What this question really boils down to is:
Is it hard to study physics?
I get this question, as I said, in different wrappings and contexts from different people, and I've decided to answer the different aspects about this question, that I can think of. I have divided my answer into three categories below - grades, family, and age.

But before I start to go more into the details regarding grades, family, or age (maybe you don't want to read all of it), I'll start with  a short answer. Yes it's hard - you'll have to work a lot. For some it's harder than others (of course). You have to work continuously.
Like anything you want to become really good at, it takes WORK ("5% talent, 95% effort"). Nothing comes for free....
It really helps to be motivated, because then your hard work is for some goal - whatever that is. For me it was when I realised there was something called applied physics; and my grades and my mood changed from blah to great :)

When I started the FAM-program (the physics program here at the University of Oslo), I came straight from high school. I had all the math, physics, and chemistry possible, and my grades were good (don't remember exactly, but they were a mixture of 6 and 5). I was 19 years old, and studying physics was going to be "easy"...
It didn't go particularly well (it went ok, but not exactly great - not like people were thinking Man, she's like awesome, I'm sure she'll do a PhD some day). But I had the resources, so why didn't it work?
I wasn't really motivated, I think, didn't put in the work - maybe I was a little bit immature in some aspects. Also, it's hard to "start a new life", which is really what happens when you start university. It can be a big change and a challenge in your life, being 18/19 years old, moving away from home, supposed to be independent and "grown-up"...

I know people who were the straight opposite of me when we first started; didn't have any math or physics from high school (the requirements were different before compared to what they are today - more science and math subjects are required to get admission to the physics program today), and they have just sped through the bachelor and then the master studies, and ended up finishing a PhD, even earlier "normal".
Their recipe? Work, work, work. 
The recipe to manage to put in all this work? Motivation, and an ability to not give up.

The grades I got during my bachelor studies were just barely enough to get me admitted into the master's program in physics (in several research groups I probably wouldn't have been accepted, because they would have required better grades). I'm not saying this to "brag", but to explain that it's possible to "change", and even if you don't have the best grades today, you could get the best grades master's was a success ;) JUST. NEVER. GIVE. UP <3 And don't listen to those that are yelling it's sooo easy I understand everything, or the ones that go ooooh, I don't understand anything I'm so super stupid - oh, oops, I got an A - trust me, they're always there, and just close your ears. If that's impossible - avoid these people. 

1. You'll have to work hard no matter what kind of grades you had in high-school. 
2. Good grades from high school (in math and physics) probably helps, but if you don't WORK, they're worthless ;)
3. Don't make the mistake of believing that because you understand (maybe even you knew all of it from before) more or less everything they talk about during a lecture today, you can slack off - one lecture "off" and you'll have troubles catching up again. 

(Number three was the silly mistake I made my during first years as a student - yes, it took some time for me to get everything "straight" :P )

When you have a family (especially little kids) it's more difficult to spend all the time you might need to understand everything (it's more than a "9-5, 5 days a week"-job...). On the other hand, you're probably better at planning your time than most students - as a parent, you have to ;)

You can definitely study physics even if you have kid(s). It's like it is with everything; it takes planning (and you're good at that - or you will be). You can probably not be a part of all the student activities, but I still would recommend to try to take part in some of the stuff that's not related to the studies; since the studies themselves are challenging, and it's a good idea not to be "all by yourself" when you're starting to feel stupid.

Family is not a hindrance, as long as you and your partner are a team. (If you're alone with kids, it's definitely harder, like most things are, but if you're extremely focused and dedicated, and plan plan plan, it should still be possible!)

In my experience, all professors and teachers really want you, as a student, to succeed - and if you have "special needs", you often get them. IF... You're open and honest from the very beginning! That means that you can't come running one hour before you're supposed to hand in your home exam and say that you have kids, and they have been sick all fall and therefore it's been difficult to follow everything during the fall or whatever. You have to start planning your semester at the very beginning of the semester: Figure out when all exams are - get them into your calendar, get all assignments into your calendar, just get EVERYTHING into your calendar! If you see that there are times when difficulties may appear; talk to someone - like the professor (most of them are very nice and kind people), or a student advisor (yes, we have them, and they're all really nice!), or something... Let it be clear that you have planned everything as best you could, and that it really isn't your fault that you have problems with the deadline (if it happens - hopefully, since you planned everything from the very beginning, you'll manage it all) <3

1. Plan
2. Be open about your "situation" (whatever that is) from the very beginning
3. Be part of as much of the student activities as you can

It's never too late! I learnt this from my mother, who was actually studying at the university when I started. Of course, if you're starting a completely new (physics) education, and are thinking about doing a masters degree (and maybe even dreaming about more than that), it takes the time it takes - 5 years is the "normal" time from beginning of bachelor to end of master's degree (took me six years, and that's not completely crazy either), but as a rule of thumb, I'll say it's never too late :)

Some of the same pieces of advice goes towards age as it does with family - take part in as much as the "students- but not studies-related" stuff as you can. It doesn't at all help to feel like an outsider, when the assignments are piling up and you don't know what was taught on that and that lecture since you were sick (or maybe at home with a sick child - I hate when that happens) and it's dark almost all the time since it's late November - you need to be part of the group! Luckily, my experience with physicists (students and other) is that it's an extremely including group, so if you want to, you'll be part of the "team".

1. Age is just a number
2. Physicists are an inclusive group of people

So, remember: Yes it's hard to study physics, and YES, you can do it! :)
It's no shame in taking a course again - either if it's because you want to improve a grade, or it's because you actually failed/gave up the first time.

If I'm just to give one piece of advice: 
Work hard and believe in yourself!

Experimental setup

Today I sent away the "Experimental setup" part of the paper I'm working on to Sunniva (supervisor) - we're supposed to discuss the paper tomorrow, and my goal ("milestone") this week is that that part of the paper is done.
I feel like I'm moving forward, but it's with baby steps, and it stresses me a bit. However, I am moving forward...<3


I feel like I'm on a good track now, after I started #teamsunnivarose: I've been early at the office every day (before 9, or, like yesterday, 9:00 - but then I had already been for a walk, and passed the days Exercise goal :P), and even if I don't get through all my to dos, I think I'm doing better.

- love my Apple Watch <3 -

Here in Rose castle, it's quiet: Alexandra just fell asleep, and Anders hasn't left the university yet (#phdlife). I'm watching a ginormous pot of chili that I'm making, and trying to finish an opinion article Anders and I are writing, and the next Question of the month blogpost (which should already have been here, but I've been busy writing about the experimenatl setup of the Oslo cyclotron and the uranium-233 experiment :) ).

Ok, guess I just wanted to say Hi - so: Hiiiii *hand wave*!

tirsdag 17. november 2015


What happened in Paris on Friday is horrible.
I lived in Paris for seven months during my master studies, and today I have colleagues and friends there, and I go there quite often - either for "business", or just for vacation. The terror in Paris almost feels like terror "at home", and in many ways I still can't believe it happened.
I'm lucky all of my friends were safe. 
In all the sadness, I saw this beautiful film, with a little boy and his father having a conversation about the horrible events - see HERE (the picture is just a screenshot)
"Les méchants, c'est pas très gentil."

fredag 13. november 2015

Facts on a Friday - Radiation

Hi Friday, and welcome weekend!

I've finally come back home to the Rose-castle, and I'm here with Anders, a glass of red wine, and candles, and it's time for Friday Facts again! Today I've figured I have to tell you a little bit about radiation:
  1. radiation is really "just" energy that travels :)
  2. this energy can either be waves, or it can be particles
  3. in my field, radiation is normally alpha, beta, or gamma (but it can be other things too)
  4. alpha radiation and beta radiation are both examples of particle radiation
  5. alpha particles (or alpha radiation) are just helium nuclei - 2 protons and 2 neutrons, that is, and beta particles (or beta radiation) are just electrons
  6. gamma radiation is sort of like a very very intense "light" - so, waves
  7. the kind of radiation I work with (the radiation that comes from radioactive stuff) is called ionizing radiation - meaning that this kind of radiation can ionize the material it goes through; that is, it makes the atoms in the material lose its electrons, and that's not so nice :/
  8. in Norwegian it's often called "radioactive radiation" (radioaktiv stråling), which is not really correct, since neither alphas, betas or gammas are radioactive themselves (but they normally come from something that is radioactive, so a better word, in my opinion, is just "radioactivity") - this is maybe a very small thing to nag about, but it has just become my thing ;)
  9. you could actually make radioactive radiation - a ray (or a beam, which is what we normally call it) of, for example uranium (uranium is radioactive), or it could be neutrons (yup, free neutrons are actually radioactive, with a half life of almost 11 minutes)
  10. other kinds of radiation is for example visible light, ultraviolet radiation (the stuff that gives you a tan when you're in the sun), or infrared radiation :D
Another day I have to tell you the story about how the neutrino (which is also a kind of particle radiation) got its name - it's a super cute story <3, that I was told for the first time yesterday...but it'll have to be another day, because now I have a date with my man and some more wine and the latest episode of the Big Bang Theory.


Totally not related, but I got this picture in a tweet yesterday - I'm actually in a book now (I think it's a Norwegian book for high schools):

I have a title!

One of the results from three very good days here at Soria Moria (except my article number 2 is actually really starting to look like something, and I've had some great discussions with Sunniva Supervisor; not only about this article, but also the next one - that I'm so eager to start at :D ) is that I actually got my self a working title of my thesis...! (OMG)

I don't dare share it with you guys just yet - I need to sort of "feel" it for a while... But it has words like uncertainties, modelling, thorium, nuclear, and reactor in it <3
It actually feels really good just have an actual title for your thesis document ;)

PS: I managed to reach my goal to get up and start quite early every day this week, but I must admit I'll have to spend some time during the weekend to get through all the rest of my goals. I think I'll manage, though :)
You guys have been great too - it's so cool to get snaps from all you hard-working, goal-chasing people! Go #teamsunnivarose <3

torsdag 12. november 2015

References, figures, and references

...and figures.

And tables!


No, I'm joking, obviously, but my arms and my back hurt, and my head feels like it weighs a ton. And my eyes are dry and sore. And I'm going back and forth with respect to how to best represent my data and my results - and what to put in this article, and what to put in the next article (and I do remember, very well, that I was accused of self plagiarism one and a half year ago, and I'm of course very scared that someone will accuse me of something like this again, unless I'm extremely careful...:/)
I guess this is #phdlife <3

onsdag 11. november 2015

Starting the day with some fusion

This day started with fusion: at 07:55 I was at NRK, to be a guest at P13, Tidenes Morgen, to talk about fusion. Right after this I spent an hour on the phone, talking to a journalist in Vårt Land, about fusion (and what is sacred to me, and what I ask for forgiveness for, and such). The reason for this was, not surprisingly, the new fusion reactor in Germany - the Stellarator called Wendelstein 7-X, where they want to recreate what happens at the sun; you know, let tiny nuclei melt together to form heavier nuclei and energy at the same time (sort of the  holy grail of nuclear physics/energy).
Of course: before any of this, the sun rose, it was a beautiful morning, and I could see and feel the energy from fusion from our nearest star <3 To me, every day is fusion day :)

The rest of the day has been spent on my article... I started the seminar with a great talk/discussion with Sunniva Supervisor, and then the rest of the day has actually been quite good. There's still a lot of work to do, but I'm positive :) Now I just have to make my self a deadline for the different parts remaining to be done in this article, and then I just have to keep those deadlines, and then I'm done - and can continue with article number three and four, and then the actual thesis, and then I'm done. Easy :P


I must say: I love <3 getting your snaps - cool assignments, workout and chemistry, preparing for talks about colliding dark matter - love love love it! I really want to answer all of you, so let me say I'm so sorry if I don't manage!

Now it's nighty night here at Soria Moria; tomorrow I'm going to work A LOT (at least 7 hours, according to my plan form Monday) on the article. Sleep tight everyone!

tirsdag 10. november 2015

I need your help - Join my team!

As I mentioned yesterday I would like to do a sort of let's motivate each other thing, where we could share pictures on Instagram (I'm @sunnivarose) or Snap (I'm sunnivarose) or Twitter (@sunnivarose here too) - anything to cheer each other up, and to be proud of our selves. Can we use social media to cheer each other up? I think we can, and it would be so much fun:

  • If you're early at the office (or wherever you're working or studying), well the tell us :)
  • If you've made your self a fresh cup of coffee before you're starting repeating for your exam, then tell us :)
  • If you feel like you're stupid, since "everyone else" understand this except you (which of course isn't true anyway, but whatever), but you're not giving up, tell us
  • If you're having a 12 hour day at the university (or office or wherever), share it!
  • If you just learnt something new, be proud and shout out :)
  • If you finished something, or started something, let us know!

To do this, we need a tag, and since I want you on my motivation team, the tag is #teamsunnivarose - join my team, I need your help!

Here are a couple of snaps that I've made during this day and yesterday:


A little update on my plan this week so far:

Yesterday I was all up to date, and I was early at the office - as planned :D
Today hasn't exactly been the same success: I did manage to be early at the office, but I was also supposed to write for three hours (only done 1), work on the Strength Function part of the uranium analysis (maybe even finish it), plot a lot of stuff, and discuss with Sunniva Supervisor (who is in CERN - which I didn't know when I made the plan yesterday, so that one isn't on me). Then this day just took a totally different turn, and I have almost done nothing...however, it's only Tuesday, and I'm quite confident I'll manage to get through my plan of the week by the end of the week - maybe this is where we can help each other...?
When it come to my writing goal this week, I'm certainly not giving up: I WILL DO 20 HOURS! Tomorrow I'm going on a writing seminar that lasts to Friday, so that's why I'm so positive :) But before that I'm going on "Tidenes morgen" on P13, to talk about now it's dinner with Anders, and the some nuclear fusion reading <3

Have a beautiful evening, and GO TEAM!

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