This weekend my parents came down, and we spent the weekend being tourists. We went to Chinatown to see some of the Chinese New Year decorations, had a tour round the Globe theatre, and explored Primrose Hill. There is so much to do in London that it’s always really easy to entertain visitors!
Real life dragons!
Real life fish doughnut things!
Happy Chinese New Year! (Even if our fortune cookies did all say ‘exchange at the Casino for a free key ring’. The translation of that is obviously ‘your lab work will not go well for you’)
Last week was pretty busy as I was ill, writing my extended essay and lab report, it was pancake day, my housemate’s birthday, a Great Gatsby party on Wednesday, and Oscar, one of my old housemates came back from Germany where he is taking a year abroad to see everyone.
Often people will say they don’t understand my blogs, so this one is split into three bits (imitating nature as we shall see) depending on how much physics you care to know.
Bit one: the standard model
The standard model is a theory about our best knowledge of particle physics to date, and it includes a toolkit of particles with which you can build a universe from. Each of these particles has different properties, but there are lots of patterns and links between them (just like the periodic table in chemistry).
There are two types of particles overall- the ones that make up stuff– the matter particles, and the ones that make the stuff do stuff– the ones that carry the forces.
Since I want to do science communication, there aren’t that many long-term internships that I am actually interested in, at least not compared to people who want to be various shades of banker. My boyfriend wants to work in insurance though, so I’ve seen two pretty different sides to applications for internships and work experience.
Both have their pros and cons—science communication is a very diverse field so it can be hard to find places that take interns, whereas it is easy to find a list of insurance companies with open summer schemes, but the applications for these are normally completely noxious.
Tonight I went to a talk by the Physics department’s artist-in-residence Geraldine Cox. I’d somehow never been to one of her talks or exhibits before, though I had seen some of her paintings around Blackett.
I was actually kind of sceptical about her work at the start of the talk, because although I love poetry and plays and novels and all those kind of English-y ‘arty’ things, I am not really comfortable with ‘art’ in general—paintings and sculptures and such. My knowledge of art amounts to knowing that Monet might have been able to see UV light after he had surgery for his cataracts, and that that might have made his later paintings more blue, and also that Turner did some good sea.
To start with, here is a picture of a strange quark holding a glass of champagne:
This is my second week back at Imperial after Christmas, and this term is looking set to be a brilliant one. For a start, I have only one lecture course this term, as all my options happened to be last term. This lecture course is called ‘Physics of the Universe’ and is about particle physics and astroparticle physics, and the lecturer is a completely inspiring man who literally flies out from CERN to teach us, and who you can just tell absolutely adores his job.
Only one day, one tutorial and one lecture to go before Christmas holidays! We had our house dinner yesterday, which was awesome, but this blog is on something a bit different…
Basically, I was trying to listen to a lecture on matter reacting to magnetic fields, when I noticed a great tweet by symmetry mag showing their paper snowflakes in the shape of famous scientists. They look amazing, but are pretty intricate, and I don’t have a craft knife—also I was pretty sure I could make them even more nerdy, so I decided to come up with my own science inspired snowflakes.
The last couple of weeks have been… interesting. To start with the negatives, mice have invaded my house. They have chewed though the sink (!) and broken it, as well as tore up the bin in the bathroom and woken me up in the night with their horrible scratchy mouse feet partying in my bedroom. Our landlord has ordered us some electronic mouse repellers which I am slightly sceptical about so I have ordered in addition a whole host of things designed to get rid of mice.
I would like to do an experiment to see which ones work as they have so many mixed reviews, but the fact they are in my bedroom adds a level of urgency and drives out all thoughts of being a good scientist, so I will be deploying all methods at once!
I’ve been taking part in a Bloomberg journalism class over the past couple of weekends, and this week the homework was to write a blog about our real passion: what we would still spend our time doing if we had all the money we wanted. As you might have suspected, mine is science, so this seemed like an ideal blog for me to post here as well…
Super-energetic super-massive black holes spinning billions of light years apart, from across opposite ends of the universe, seem to have somehow aligned themselves. Time freezes as your spaceship approaches such a black hole.
So, the other day I had my first comprehensive tutorial. I’ve mentioned them before—they are the two three hour papers on the last three years of Physics that strike fear into everyone’s hearts. Since the start of term I’d heard people discussing their revision plans for them, which is always a terrifying conversation to overhear, especially when you haven’t even looked at a paper!
Comprehensives are actually supposed to be a selling point of an Imperial Physics degree I think, because they are all about whether you actually can do Physics not just remember stuff for a one-off exam. Of course, that’s what makes them scary—I think to some extent everyone thinks that their good exam results are a very improbable fluke—or maybe that’s just me… 😛
Anyway, the paper we looked at in my first tutorial was actually much less scary then I expected.
This week’s blog is actually about Imperial third year…I’ve been writing so much about other stuff this term that anyone reading this thinking of applying to here is probably under the impression that we don’t do any work at all!
Third year Physics consists of three core courses: ‘Light and Matter’, ‘Physics of the Universe’ and ‘Fluid Dynamics’. I am doing LM this term—so far it is a continuation of Atomic Physics from last year—an in-depth look at what goes on inside real atoms and how they interact with light. It has two more parts about light and magnetic fields interacting with solids, which look like a continuation of Solid State.