A Grad Student Milestone

I have started collecting my materials and papers into a dissertation draft, and today came up with a pleasant surprise. I visited the web site of the AIAA, an organization that publishes some of the journals I’ve submitted to, to take a look at some of the information on one of my papers. When I searched for my name, one of the hits returned was not one of my papers. Nor was it even one of my research group’s papers. It was from another author!

Naturally, I downloaded the paper straightaway. It appeared in the Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics this month, and is on the subject of satellite formations held together by actively controlled electromagnets. Right in the second paragraph was a reference to my work with my advisor at Cornell:

And, sure enough, reference [3] is to, as it turns out, my first conference paper on this project!

(As an aside, by now I’ve done much better work than that paper – and as I edit my dissertation material, I keep thinking, ugh, how could I have written some of that stuff! – but I won’t be picky, because I understand how long the publication process can take!)

To my knowledge, this is my first outside-my-group citation. That’s a grad school milestone!

For those of you not familiar with science and engineering papers, let me explain a little. Even if this is only a sentence in the literature review, it’s still pretty important. It shows that the authors included my work within the scope of the field; it’s a sort of measure of acceptance into the community. This citation is especially cool because the MIT group that published this paper has been working on electromagnetically controlled satellite formations for a number of years, and we’ve seen our work as complimentary to theirs in a number of ways. It’s nice to see the recognition, and to see our work mentioned in the same section as other related research projects. (And I did some work out of one of Schaub’s textbooks recently.)

All right! Now I guess it’s time to try and get back to the grad studentry…

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