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.
It’s been an interesting second week. My second course for this term (Nuclear and Particle Physics) has begun and feels like we have already had much much more than a week of it… It’s one of those courses that quickly sail through lots of results from equations we can’t derive or understand or do and hmm. I’m not it’s biggest fan so far (although it has been useful in telling me how much of special relativity I need to revise from last year). I think the ‘nuclear’ section might contain a bit more information that is more accessible– we shall see.
This week we have had our options talks for third and fourth year. Choosing is a lot trickier than I’d thought- there are many more interesting options than I can pick, and possible essay titles to think of and projects to decide on…
I can do a Horizons (humanities or business course) next year for credit which I am really looking forward to as the courses I have done the past two years have been excellent and communicating science especially really helped me put a lot of what I have been learning in a wider context
I am thinking about doing an extended essay building on what I did last year (luckily I got on well with my lecturer and she has very kindly offered to supervise me) so now I just have to think of a title….hmmmm.
It’s the start of summer term! Summer terms are weird—they very so wildly between courses that there is always someone to be found stressing about their imminent exams. Maths, for example in second year has exams in two weeks, no new courses and then a group project—I have exams in five weeks, two new courses and after that am completely free, and Chemists (poor, poor over-worked beings) have three new courses a—reduced—eight hours a week of labs and exams scattered here there and everywhere. Oh well. It’s always nice knowing that someone is working harder than you!
For the rest of the blog I thought I would write a little bit about open-access Science Journals.
I am now one week into my Easter Holidays, and deep into revising quantum mechanics. Those of you who are hoping to study Physics at university are probably a bit confused by my constant moaning about it. Quantum, after all is a strange and enticing subject, the topic of many interesting popular science books and promises to provide deep insights into the counterintuitive and fundamental nature of everything. 😮 I can empathise. I too was super excited to learn about quantum, but it turned out not to be really what I was expecting, especially last year when learning all the names and equations without really getting into it left me completely baffled.
Happy last week of Imperial term! Aside from my lab report deadline on Friday, a lab interview and some assessed problems that I almost forgot existed somehow (although we have them every week) the end of term for me has been pretty free of the language exams and hideous coursework deadlines that a lot of my friends have been plagued with.
It’s quite sad to say goodbye to E&M and Sun Stars and Planets, though I am not sure I can say quite the same for Solid State. Next term promises Optics and Particle Physics, both of which I am a little bit hesitant about declaring my love for yet, but hopefully Optics will be a continuation of E&M properties of lenses and things (maybe?)
Appropriately for such a sunny day, this is a good news blog 😛
Good news i)
We retook the film from our experiment the other day, and now have excellent results! Here is a picture of our second-best film (my partner has the other one!):
The top wide grey stripes contain the lines from Lithium and necessarily a bit of Carbon as that was what the electrodes are made out of. The smaller lines in the middle of these are from Mercury, which we will use as a reference to help identify the important Lithium spectra, and finally, the bottom row of greyish blurs are the pure Carbon emission spectra.
Three weeks ‘til the end of term but the excitement just continues at Imperial! My room has reached peak mess now, to the point where a jam-packed surprise awaits me inside every drawer. On the up side there have been some days of actual proper, real sunshine, so I’ve had time to brush off my tennis finesse (by which I mean trying not to catch the ball when it is hit to me because I think it’s gone out…. ahhh).
I realise I’ve not actually explained what thrilling lab cycle I am currently in the middle of (not that much sarcasm by the way, it actually is pretty exciting).
The last week has been fun—one of my friends from home came down on Tuesday and we went to see Taylor Swift in the O2! One of the best things about living in London is that you don’t have to force people to come and see you—they come themselves for the attractions and then can sleep on your floor. Taylor, as I now affectionately call her, was brilliant—a very professional performer and though she did talk some rubbish in between her music and dancing she was so compelling about it that I was completely swept along.
Tubing there was easy—straight from labs to North Greenwich tube station, but unfortunately by the time we were heading home the infamous tube strike of last Tuesday/Wednesday had begun so we and a million other confused pop fans were stranded at the O2.