When I finished my 4th year of university, I had really had enough. For years I was doing what needed to be done, and upon completion I was (and I still am) very happy that I had achieved my goals of not failing any units and of graduating with first class honors. But I wasn't feeling as though there had been any true, meaningful value to what I had been doing for the past 48 months.
To be honest, I felt like thick sailor's ropes had finally been cut from my wrists after handing in my final thesis paper!
I am a very sentimental person, and so in the spirit of integrating a past episode of my life, I thought that uploading my thesis and looking at it again, after years, would be helpful for me to reflect on the good, the bad and how these years formed me into someone new. Indeed it has brought up a lot of memories which I had secluded to the shadows of unimportance. Looking back, I see a lot my positive characteristics shining through throughout, and I have a lot to be grateful for to my past self and his actions! After the road's end, I was ready to finally make a positive impact on the world, and I began fully doing my honest best directly after graduation. Today I feel as though I have better integrated my profession and my larger life goals, but I'm glad that I was a young person with ideals who truly pursued them, and who stuck to his guns through adversity.
The actual thesis itself, just below, is not the most scintillating read for a layman browser of the internet. It's highly technical of course. In retrospect I can probably give a very good summary of my study in a paragraph.
Basically the brakes from your car and motorbike release all kinds of nasty, tiny, sharp and toxic dust particles into the air - which do all kinds of damage in your lungs when billions of people all around the world inevitably inhale them. My paper looked into previous studies, and I conducted a sample-collection experiment to determine what type of particles my car's brakes were emitting. Overall I found that indeed some pretty unhealthy dust was being released, but my sample size of one car isn't enough to draw any wider conclusions. My contribution to the literature on this topic would simply be further confirmation that the brake dust released from our daily commute is more harmful to our lungs than most people realize - but also the damage isn't in the 'drastic change is imperative' area when considering the other sources of harmful pollution out there, and the fact that car manufacturers have steadily moved away from the known most-toxic materials in their brakes (as they should continue doing).
[pdf-embedder url="http://www.gerhardfourie.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Thesis-Final.pdf" title="Thesis Final"]