It’s December!

One week to the end of term… and still quantum goes on.

I’m sorry our lecturer who is lovely and the notes are amazing, but gosh it goes on and on and on and on. And just, confusion. Operators. Lots more dimensions than there should be. I never liked classical angular momentum, for goodness sake.

The last couple of weeks have been really busy. For a start it was my housemate Oscar’s musical revue with Musical Theatre Society in which he sang and danced very professionally. Afterwards the cast came back to our house for a very musically talented after-party.

Last Tuesday Alex’s parents very (very) kindly took us to see the new Jeeves and Wooster play that is on in the Duke of York’s theatre at the moment. It was brilliant! I am a huge fan of Jeeves and Wooster and their adaptation of the story was hilarious. It involved just the three actors playing many roles, as Bertie recounted the story with the help of his brainy gentleman’s personal gentleman Jeeves.

On the Thursday Alex and I then went to see ‘The Poetry of Madness’, a spoken word poetry performance that was at Imperial. The set-up was not at all what we had expected, being little tables with candles on them and the poets walking between them. Some of the poetry was interesting, and I’m glad I went for the experience, even if we didn’t think that they had quite managed to really express the topic in the best way possible.

Unfortunately doing all this stuff meant that I missed the Science Challenge Launch. Science Challenge is an essay and video competition that the Imperial Science Union launch every year with questions set by four judges. The launch was fun last year even though I didn’t find any of the questions that inspiring (they were mostly biology based). This year there are a couple I am interested in- one about the nature of time by one of our Physics professors, and one about writing  a letter to the judge’s child about an area of science.

I am writing an essay in Physics at the moment though, that I should probably finish first! It could be on any area of Physics that you wanted- people are doing some really interesting topics like gravitational waves and how we can physically describe quantum systems. I was going to do Perpetual Motion Machines until a lecture in Statistical Physics about how life can be defined as lowering its own entropy (something I will hopefully be able to explain better after writing some more of the essay).

Entropy and the second law of thermodynamics has interested me since I started reading popular science books, but despite being such a beguiling idea (everything increases in disorder until the ultimate state of disorder has been achieved oooh) I’ve never come across a satisfactory explanation that doesn’t involve equations. (How do you define disorder? Why are some states more statistically unlikely?) The thermodynamics and statistics of Physics course this term have been my favourite courses and I am enjoying going over them and seeing if I can explain the second law well enough to myself.

The essay and a persuasive speech for Horizons (on synthetic meat) are two of the last things I have to do this term. I’ve just finished my second lab report, which is a relief. As you can probably tell, I have a love-hate relationship with labs, but most people are much more familiar with the hate side! They definitely are the deepest understanding I get of concepts the first time through, and I always hand in my lab-report feeling like I’ve learnt a lot and wishing I could start from scratch and do it all again with glorious hindsight, but the amount I feel I have yet to grasp feels so much larger! The deadlines are difficult as well. I finish the last lab session on a Tuesday and my report is due in by Friday.

Controversially (see Liam’s previous blog on this), I would probably rather have this admittedly extremely tight deadline, than have the report take over my weekend. As someone interested in journalism, writing under a deadline is also something I feel like I should be improving on also.

Last Wednesday Alex and I went ice-skating on the rink outside the Natural History museum, so this week I have a picture that is not of food!


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