I’m in a strange kind of limbo at the moment. I’m not being paid, since I can’t sign my new contract without being physically present in Spain. And, until the 30th of March, it was physically impossible to enter Spain unless you were a Spanish resident, since the borders were closed due to Covid restrictions. Due to Brexit, I also need a visa in order to be able to stay in Spain for more than ninety days and to legally work there. So, I have an appointment at the Spanish consulate in London on Friday to submit my visa application. I’m hoping for a quick decision so I can book a flight, get to Madrid, sign my contract and start working (and drawing a salary). But, until then, I’m in this strange, semi-working state.
I could have taken this time off completely, but with the UK in lockdown and everything shut, I know I would have quickly got bored in the face of a two or three month holiday with nothing to do and nowhere to go. So, I resolved to keep working, despite the lack of pay, albeit at a reduced pace. I’ve been attending journal clubs and mainly working on turning a chapter of my PhD thesis into a paper.
As a result, it was nice to take a full five days off over the Easter weekend. I finished reading three books: Island of Dreams by Dan Boothby (ok if you are interested in Gavin Maxwell, Scotland or otters), The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers (which I highly recommend!) and Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss (probably only useful if you’re a hostage negotiator or someone working in big business). It was a conscious decision to try and read more and I’m glad it paid off. I always forget how refreshed I feel after even just a couple of days off from work.
This morning I finished making my slides for my talk at Britgrav next week. I’m going to be presenting my work from a few months ago on how the distance duality relation can be constrained with standard sirens and how modified gravity effects can bias this type of analysis. I tend to use either Google Slides or LaTeX Beamer to make presentations, depending on the content and audience, but this time I decided to use Markdown in a Jupyter Notebook which I then converted to HTML.
This produces very clean looking slides, and it’s easy to write LaTeX commands too (unlike in Google Slides).
The process I followed to create the slides is very simple.
- Open a blank Jupyter notebook.
- Add a cell and convert it to Markdown (either
esc + m) or by using the drop down menu at the top of the notebook.
- Add your text, equation or image to the cell (images can be added via the
editmenu, though some HTML tags may be needed to render and/or resize the image).
- Choose a slide type in the drop down menu of the cell itself (slide, sub-slide, fragment, skip or notes).
- Save the notebook.
- In the terminal, run
jupyter nbconvert *.ipynb --to slides.
- Open the resulting
.htmlfile in a browser and use the arrow keys to navigate.
The same week that I’m giving this talk, I’m also presenting the H0 review paper by Di Valentino et al (we’re having a special H0 tension week, as someone else is going to present Efstathiou’s recent offering on the same topic) and the following week I’ve been invited to give a seminar at my old undergraduate institution, Aberystwyth University, which I’m really looking forward to.