2017 review - kinda late

Yet another run-of-the-mill, year-in-review post, only one that’s almost one month late?

Yup, I’ve got you covered.

Now, now that we have the objections dealt with, let’s move on. The highlights and lessons of 2017:

1. Becoming a father

Not mine, but he/she’s got the right spirit.

Yes, kind of something of a highlight of the year. Or my life, for that matter.

The little bundle of joy also explains why this post is so late. You see, I started the second patch of my paternity leave a few days ago, and tried to wrap everything work-related up beforehand. So, things got a bit hectic with all the teaching and paper-finishing and associated hassle.

Talking about paternity leaves, becoming a father also made me realize how awesome a country Finland is after all. For babies, and for everybody else. For instance, we’ve long had one of the (if not the) lowest infant mortality rates in the entire world, largely thanks to the efforts of one brilliant doctor.

Also, birthing said babies at a hospital costs next to nothing. In our case, less than 200 euros/dollars, including a three-day stay in the hospital for all three of us. That’s the beauty of tax-funded healthcare for you. (Notice that I didn’t use the term free – I don’t want any semi-coherent rambling about lunches and harsh mistresses in the comments section.)  If that doesn’t fit your worldview, get a better one.

2. Getting my degree

All about the hat.

I already wrote about getting my doctoral degree here, and here.

Thanks to this level-up, I’m now working as a post-doc rather than a doctoral candidate.

But well, apart from the title not much has changed. I’m instructing my colleagues in a more official capacity, and are kinda expected to teach more, but that’s largely it.

It also means I could (probably, not 100% certain about the officialities yet) apply for some project funding. Which, being related to money brings my to my third point.

3. Starting a business


In mid-2017, I founded my consulting company SMEKlab. (Like my FEA library SMEKlib, SMEKlab Ltd the company is named after SähköMEKaniikka, the Finnish word for electromechanics. Combines what I do and where I come from and all that.)

So far, it’s has been strictly part-time, with my day hours still spent in the university. Nevertheless, I’ve learned a lot. And learning is awesome.

For example , it’s made me realize and re-realize what a wide and diverse field electromechanics is. Indeed, I’ve been able to work with really great people on really interesting projects like electric aircraft motors, IoT and fault diagnostics, and energy storage.

I mean, I did know that electromechanics wasn’t only about 50 Hz induction motors for fans and pumps, alright. Not that there’s anything wrong at that, for the matter. But, seeing first-hand some reeeally different applications, all with their own quirks and challenges, has really opened my eyes.

Furthermore, it’s also made me understand some things about design and modelling itself.

First and foremost: FEA is not the end-all solution. Computing takes time, model-building takes even more time (hugely so, usually), and the whole process contributes little to your fundamental understanding of the problem at hand.

For that purpose, old-school back-of-the-envelope (literally, in my case, more often than not) calculations rule. Those get you on the right order-of-magnitude, and force you to actually understand what it is you’re trying to do.

Most of the time. But they are not the end-all, either. They are, in the end, quite limited, and thus miss lots of phenomena – occasionally really important ones. That’s where FEA steps in to fill the blanks. And sometimes, analytical approaches don’t exist yet, in which case numerical analysis might be the faster course of action after all.

Conclusion

…I don’t have one.

But if you happen to e.g. know someone who might be interested to work together, please refer them to me.


-Antti


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Late 2017 Review

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