Hello 🙂 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.
Happy Easter everyone! I have just got back from skiing last week with my family in France which was brilliant fun 🙂 🙂 It is almost the end of the skiing season now, but we were high up in a resort called Val Thorens, which is full of ugly buildings but great skiing! We had beautiful sunshine on every day except for the last, plenty of snow and I managed to keep the small French ski-school child sat next to me successfully on the chair-lift . It also has the highest zip wire in the world which was frustratingly closed every time I tried to jump on.
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?) and of course after an Easter of revision I will definitely be up to speed with Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Physics and all the nasty things that are sure to be lurking under the fun sounding surface of Particle Physics…
But enough about compulsory Physics!
Yesterday evening I went along to the Science Challenge final in the Cabinet War Rooms. It was a lovely event with lots of free drinks and tasty little foods in bowls, and a great chance to meet some of the other people who had entered the challenge too. The venue was also cool —the Cabinet War Rooms are the underground bunkers where Churchill and other World War Two characters pushed planes around on maps, planned the war and sheltered from air raids.
If you haven’t read my previous blogs this was the final of an essay competition open to Imperial and school students, though there was a video section too, which I am quite interested in attempting next year.
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).
This is a bit of a disjointed blog catching you up on a few odds and ends. Some more interesting Physics will be coming soon—I have decided that I am going to try and write a blog summary of some of the courses we are doing— after all, if I can explain them coherently then I must understand them, right?
Last week I started my last lab cycle of second year! That is a slightly terrifying thought. Also I finally have a lab partner again! I am fairly confident she won’t read this blog so will say that she is lovely and if you look away for ten seconds starts working out uncertainties, which is probably the best quality you can hope for in a lab partner (damn those uncertainties).
Hey : )
I finally finished my lab report!
Only one more experiment to go this year and I am hopefully getting a lab partner again! I said I would tell you my final value of e so here goes: (1.93 ± 0.13) x10^-19C, within which you may notice, the currently accepted value does not fall. Oh well. Hurray for unknown sources of systematic error (potentially the oil droplets acting as a dielectric in the capacitor and changing the value of E?). My estimates of the Earth’s magnetic field were better I promise…
Now that that’s over it’s party time! And by party I mean making use of South Kensington’s proximity to sushi, Nutella pancakes and dinosaurs.