23rd February 2018 10am to 1pm – the specifics of my last Imperial undergraduate exam. MY LAST EVER ONE. Writing this now, I can’t quite believe it’s all over.
This exam season was no different to others (apart from the fact this exam counted for more than my entire first year – or something ridiculous like that). Many hours were spent in the library, working and procrastination in equal measure. For me, I always studied in St Mary’s library in Paddington as it was 5 minutes from home and, in my opinion, it’s the nicest library Imperial has – think old wooden beams and a studious vibe.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon in the Houses of Parliament- more specifically a building linked to the Houses of Parliament called Portcullis house. (It really is physically linked by an underground walkway for MPs.) The reason I was there was for an event called the Voice of the Future organised by the Royal Society of Biology.
I say ‘event’ because it was a strange set up. The whole thing was meant to be like a select committee– it took place in the actual rooms where select committees are held. Lots of scientific organisations sent young representatives to ask questions of an array of different politicians.
For my last research interfaces task (yes it is finally over now) I had to write a short ‘article’ style thing on my Masters project. I thought I’d share it with you here and then tell you about some of the realities of it that I didn’t write about…
Listening to the sea
It’s not often you find a whole new scientific discipline in the rubbish. That’s what W. Steven Holbrook effectively did back in 2003 when he noticed that there was meaning in the noise people searching for oil were throwing away.
For decades people had been taking ships out into the centre of the ocean and firing high pressure bubbles of air into the water to create sound waves searching for oil beneath the ocean floor.
I would like to preface this blog by saying I enjoy my degree. Three and a half years in and I still love physics, still like Imperial. I know the department are trying to give us a well-rounded education by making all its fourth year students take a compulsory business course.
Yesterday this was our timetable:
This block of time was the end-of-course RI presentations and party!
Except it isn’t the end of the course. There are still two tasks to complete.
The presentations got off on the wrong foot really, because we’d all just got our twenty page business proposals back, and there was, let’s say, some slight controversy over the marks, which seemed to be a large spread, with many people feeling hard-done by.
Happy 2016! I hope everyone had an interesting and vaguely relaxing break.
I was actually wrong in my last blog to say that nothing particularly interesting would happen before the end of term—I ended up helping out in the Science Museum lates for Tim Peake’s launch. Some people from Astrophysics had a pop-up planetarium and an infrared camera and I entertained (and scienced) the people waiting for it by showing them how to make a spectroscope out of a DVD. (It actually works surprisingly well.)
Two years ago I won an Imperial Essay competition and part of the prize was a trip to CERN.
It’s nearly the end of term and I don’t really have that much to report on! General Relativity is still crazy interesting, Quantum Information is still confusing and my Masters project and business course are still going well.
Last week we had our flat Christmas dinner and by some miracle all my old housemates were free to attend. It has been really nice to manage to keep the tradition going and still have a successful gigantic dinner even though our kitchen is tiny, everyone is so busy with deadlines and exams and we only at the last minute remembered that one of our housemates was a vegetarian!
This week I thought I’d write a quick blog about my experiences as an Independent Visitor. I’ve described what this is in other blogs, but since I’ve been matched with my young person for over six months now, I just want to give a quick summary of some of my experiences so far.
Being an IV means you are matched with one child or young person who is no longer in contact with their family. The idea is that you can form a friendship with them that has been chosen by both of you and is ‘independent’ of the many other adults in their lives who encounter the young person as part of their job.
I’m not really sure where to begin with what is going on at the moment so I’m just going to make a list.
I was deliberating whether I should blog about the more negative aspects of this term at all, but I think I will, because it wouldn’t be fair to pretend like everything’s always marvellous at Imperial!
Actually I’ll make two lists: good things and bad things.
Bad things about this term
-I’ve decided to drop quantum field theory even though it’s one of the courses I have been really excited about studying ever since first year. It is heavily linked to another course that I don’t have enough space to take for a start, I find the lecturer very confusing, and it seems like we won’t actually get to do any of the interesting features of quantum field theory and will just end up deriving very basic results.
Mechanics was the first bit of physics I ever really liked—the idea of being able to memorise a few basic laws and then apply them to untangle and solve different situations is a nice one, even if it was only ever endless particles on massless springs and balls rolling down smooth slopes and all the usual rubbish.
However, where do Newton’s laws actually come from? Why does F = ma? I didn’t think it was even valid to ask that these questions until my mechanics lecturer in first year casually mentioned that you could derive all that stuff. Until then I thought that was just the way things were, and you could measure it (more balls rolling down more slopes) and that was good enough.
Summer is finally over. It’s been a long time since I’ve been at uni, and it feels even longer!
My summer was full of beaches, pancakes, relaxation, jumping in streams, and I even played quidditch!
As I’ve mentioned, I’m doing a masters project this year, but somehow my timetable seems fuller than ever with lectures and even a sort of business course (again [!]), so between that and applying for jobs, this year is going to be intense!
This is really just a short blog to say hi, that I will be blogging again this year and of course welcome to all the new students!