Monday, June 21, 2010

Master Musing

I'm busily working on my third Master Muse tutorial. I find these projects to be worthwhile because they prompt me to take on challenges that I would otherwise probably not attempt. True, there are always those ideas that sound interesting. I'd like to try that material/technique/tool...someday. Well, for some of those techniques or materials or tools, the someday bumps up much sooner because of the Master Muse challenges.

One of the things that drew me to science as a career was the problem solving involved. Scientists are inherently people who like offroading without a map. The whole process is so akin to art:

  1. Come up with an intriguing idea.
  2. Set up the experiment (in science that part often takes much longer).
  3. Analyze what did and didn't work.
  4. Set up the next variation of the experiment.
  5. Repeat until the question is answered or the question changes.

So it's no surprise that my experiments for the Master Muse challenges always seem to involve multiple iterations. I'm never satisfied after the first experiment. I always have a hitch or two. I'm moseying along nicely, taking photos of every step of the process and writing up exactly what I did, when something goes amiss. Oops, back up and change the last five steps. Continue on. Aha! Brainstorm! It would be so much better/easier/faster if I'd just done it this other way. Second version ensues. Rats! That doesn't look the way I envisioned it. Punt. Sleep on it. Get a snack. Pace (wheel) around the house, procrastinating. Deadline approaches; must do something. Third version finally works, visually and technically.

So far it seems the third variation is truly the charm. The photo is a hint of variation one, aborted.