Second year done!
I finished exams today! It has been a very long two weeks…
A couple of days before they started my parents came down for a stress-break lunch on the river and we went to a talk on dark matter at the Royal Institution which you may remember from another blog is my new favourite place.
The speaker (http://gianfrancobertone.net/about/) was great and presented some very compelling evidence for dark matter over other theories that seek to explain the odd behaviour of stars and galaxies, as well as being endearingly honest about the uncertainties in the field and frankly how much he didn’t like the necessity of dark matter at all. I will have to have a look at his research because I have a couple of questions for him but was far too shy to go down to him afterwards.
He also showed the most awesome video simulation of the formation of the universe. You might have seen this kind of 3D spider-web type simulations before with dark matter forming tentacles and regular matter congregating around it, but this is a whole new level of cool because it shows stars puffing up and exploding like dandelions and seeding the the universe around it with fresh heavy elements.
The link is http://www.illustris-project.org/media/ – the simulation I am talking about it the first video but there are plenty of others!
The talk was presented by Ben Miller (comedian of Armstrong and Miller fame) which was what I think convinced my parents that it would be a fun as well as physics talk but did end up being mostly physics!
The only other thing I have done apart from drudging to and from exams is visit the butterfly tent in the natural history museum which was so much fun! It is basically a heated tent (though it was actually cooler than outside on the ridiculously hot day I visited) with hundreds of butterflies flapping around and you can also see them cracking out of their chrysalises and straightening out their wings.
I would talk about how my exams went, but I never really know if they went well or not! There were a few surprises- solid state was probably my best one (despite that I found the course hideously confusing at the time and didn’t even go to the second half of lectures) and quantum was so bad. That may not sound like a surprise, but by the time of the exam I had done all the the problem sheets like three times and could spot a Hermitian operator with my eyes closed. The paper however, only seemed to care whether or not I could remember three really specific results from lectures that we never saw practice questions on… Anyway. I’m completely over that now of course! Exams done.
All I have to do now is plan the summer and work on my ridiculously low alcohol tolerance at the moment…. 😛