Today I started a new lab cycle on Charges and Fields. There are two experiments in it— Millikan’s famous oil drop experiment to measure the fundamental charge of the electron and measuring the Earth’s magnetic field. Both of them are quite simple ideas (observing how oil drops are deflected in a capacitor and watching the deflection of a current carrying wire respectively) but they are both difficult to carry out accurately and get good results. Also they are done in the dark.
I am doing the floating magic oil drop one. I have a vaporiser to squeeze in a spray of oil droplets between the capacitor plates, a power supply to adjust their motion and a microscope to squint in at the tiny tiny little floating dots.
First weekend back after a long first week at Imperial! I’m actually exceptionally lucky to have reading weeks at the moment before my exams at the beginning of Feb so it’s been a reasonably gentle but also quite full on ease back in to uni life. Social life is obviously a really important part of your university experience and I did worry before I came to Imperial that I’d spend my weekends locked in to my room either studying or staring at the wall because I had no friends. Luckily I don’t do either of those (at least not every weekend haha) so this is a post to dispel any myths that you’ve heard about the Imperial social life.
Life has reached a sort of crazy equilibrium in the last week as I’ve started to truly grasp how much my course expects me to know for my exams (and I thought the twenty amino acids would be a lot…) and at the same time had some of the better nights out (and in) I can claim at Imperial. Unfortunately (and very aptly), in the beautiful world of bioenergetics, equilibrium means death. And so we beat on, biochemists against the biochemistry, borne back ceaselessly down the marking scale.
There was a surreal moment this week when we were told a practical we’d done ages ago (I hadn’t remembered doing it and certainly didn’t want it back) had been ‘marked and returned to our pigeonholes’.
I was absolutely delighted to have been given a place on the Netball (and Football) tour at the very last minute. This exciting sporting highlight was cleverly named Fetball Tour and was held in Bristol this year.
The coach journey entailed books being read aloud on the bus, medical students practising their history taking skills and all round pleasantness. Some of us were even able to do some acting on the bus- I found the plays very thought provoking. We were assigned groups which we would stick with during the weekend. I was delighted with my group and my pink accessories we wore!
If you’re reading this blog you are probably at least vaguely interested in science. However, you are also more than likely of the view that real science is done at high levels by people who are very clever and very well trained (and who you might one day hope to become one of).
These days though, citizen science projects are becoming more widespread, meaning that anyone can take part in a little bit of science for themselves. You might have seen on the BBC’s Stargazing Live programmes recently, that volunteers were asked to head online to help spot gravitational lenses from a bank of astronomical pictures.
What award goes to the designers of door knockers?
A no bell prize!
A cracking cracker joke there : )
Since I am back in London tomorrow, here is a rather belated Christmas holidays blog. It is mostly just an excuse to include some photos (my blogs are usually so word-heavy!)
Like most people’s Christmases it involved much seeing of relatives various, lots of food and, of course, raging about the new Jeeves and Wooster book by the evil Sebastian Faulks. The Physics department have been kind this year, so I got to watch my sister revising for her first set of Biology exams while I was free(eeeeeeee).
Hello! To help you recover from all the New Year’s festivities and to and to procrastinate from the Physics that I am meant to be doing for my course, I thought that today I would write a blog that hopefully explains a Physics mystery. (Cue dramatic music…)
If you’ve read my other blogs, you will know that entropy has been bugging me for a long time, because I can’t think of a satisfactory way to explain it. Even after writing a whole essay basically on that subject, I am not quite sure that I have nailed it. However, thinking about it, there are other concepts that I would struggle to explain, but am sure that I understand well enough, for example energy.
The age old question. How does one acquire friends at university? It was definitely what I worried about the most before I came to Imperial and everyone tells you not to worry and that friendships will just happen but THAT IS NOT HELPFUL. That is obviously the last thing you want to hear when you’re already worried about moving to the busiest city in the UK, possibly thousands of miles away from home, to live with strangers, adjust to being totally independent and also, y’know, obtain a decent degree from an internationally renowned university. So here I’m going to do my best to advise you about the friend-making process at university:
HAPPY 2014! For many of you, this is going to be a year fraught with stress, revising, the occasional tear and maybe an Imperial interview! I’d really like to be able to offer interview tips but I’m a jammy dodger who didn’t have to interview so I’d suggest checking out a few of the other bloggers, as I know some of them have posted about interview technique. The whole process of applying, interviewing and waiting with baited breath for your offer is stressful, drawn out and time consuming but hang in there – your offers will come, and when you’re preparing to go back to London this time next year after your first Imperial Christmas holiday, you’ll look back on this time and wonder why you were so worried in the first place.
I haven’t blogged all year so I thought I would have a bit of a catch up (that was definitely funnier in my head). The oven in ground floor kitchen has been fixed! Wahey! In other “new year news” that only I probably care about, my last (“Beyoncé-minded”) post got me up to a total of over 2,500 page views. Shout out to my mum for refreshing the page a few thousand times. A great cup of tea is heading your way.
Of course, a lot of those views were probably accidental clicks. Apologies to those of you that have stumbled onto my blog by accident and are a few seconds away from clicking the “x” button on your top right.