The gravity of the situation


Who would have thought that after the discovery of gravity, just like Columbus discovered America even though people already inhabited the continent, we would be applying the principal in the realm of the hydrological sciences. The fundamental change in mass movement in the subsurface alludes to the total water storage change and in turn has an impact on the water balance of a catchment/basin/aquifer/soil body.

When one delves into the literature regarding the topic of gravity, we find that it has evolved as a research topic mainly covered by geomatics professionals in the past, to an area of interest for hydrologists today. Classical geophysical literature also highlights applications to prospecting for ore bodies, but that is of no interest to people studying advanced courses in plumbing. I mention this due to the fact that I have received phone calls to fix geysers of people I know who thought I studied plumbing instead of hydrogeology. I still fail to understand this link, but it makes me never lose hope in life throwing me a curve ball.

The principle related to mass storage change was the point of departure for a PhD thesis. I embarked on the struggle and whilst travelling to Europe for training realised that many other research scientists have already completed their dissertations on the exact same topic. This was a cause for concern and all panic stations were alerted and were in full control of my already worried mind. The question arose.....How do you do something new that somebody else already done in a different way?
After shifting to open source software for the entire project, as if my life was not difficult enough already, and travelling all over the world to find enlightenment, because I realised I needed it, I reached my Eureka moment whilst standing in the middle of nowhere with a cigarette in my mouth and looking at clay, not kaolonite for the pedalogists but something else. This was coupled with the readings, ramblings and rants of many Professors and actually meant that I had to change my outlook and challenge the status quo, please don’t tell my psychologist or my mother, they will not be happy. The realisation that something was staring you in the face all this time and all you need was a gear change can be frustrating yet liberating. This is why the gravity of the situation, no pun intended, was overwhelming. The aforementioned fact coupled with the statement by my project leader related to no funding being available put my backside in gear and led to the completion of the treatise in 3 years. It is amazing what money, or the lack thereof can achieve.

What I am saying is ....do the PhD, not for your mother to have bragging rights or your for your family to ask you strange questions, but for yourself and for you to realise that you can push your limits beyond what is humanly possible.  Ok Ok maybe it is humanly possible, but it is still a great achievement and can be done by anyone who has the will, determination, patience and consistency in their work ethic.  Choose a topic you have an interest and passion for, otherwise it will weigh you down and overcoming it will be even more of a challenge

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