I couldn’t call myself a mathematician if I didn’t celebrate Pi Day. Let’s take a moment to appreciate this mathematical constant for… staying constant. Today’s hero came by a hair’s breadth of being changed to 3.2.
Since ancient times mathematicians had been trying to “square the circle”, so given a circle construct a square with the same area, using just a compass and straightedge. Unfortunately for all these fame-seeking mathematicians and amateurs, in 1882 the task was proven impossible. And the culprit was… π.
To square the circle we’d have to construct a square root of π. However, a German mathematician Carl Louis Ferdinand von Lindemann proved that π is a transcendental number, which means it’s not a root of any polynomial with rational coefficients.
The other day, one of my classmates came up to me with a rather interesting question. He was wondering whether student bloggers were able to say bad things or criticize Imperial in any way.
And the truth is that yes, we can. I guess we simply don’t do it because we want to spread positivity within our readers. However, he made me realize it was time to share our not-so-pink reality. After all, prospective students need to know what they are getting themselves into.
The downside of Imperial’s internationality
Although diversity is one of the qualities we are most proud of, it does drag along a small issue: background inequality.
Choosing a PhD supervisor is one of the most important decisions you must make before you start grad school. A bad one can turn three or four years of your life into a nightmare, while a good one will make the experience bearable, if not enjoyable (at times).
I often get asked for advice on how to approach this decision. Today I’ll share what I did and what factors mattered to me most. However, bear in mind that everyone has different needs and deal-breakers, so please don’t blindly apply all my advice!
I started looking for a supervisor quite early, over half a year before beginning my PhD.
Growing up I don’t think I was actually aware of the gender gap in STEM. Having gone to an all girls school, I grew up in this idealistic bubble where I thought I could do anything and be anything I wanted. I am glad for this bubble as it didn’t hold me back from trying to be the best at Science, Maths and Computing. However in yr10 this bubble was popped. No it wasn’t popped by some boy saying he was better than me or a teacher telling me girls couldn’t be engineers.
It is ironic, if nothing else, when people expect calm down to somehow solve, nay, cure someone’s anxiety, but won’t accept that climate change is real. How naïve it is to believe that a person with depression could simply “stop being sad” and go on about with their day? You cannot recover from anxiety by just staying calm. You cannot recover from depression by just being positive. You cannot recover from anorexia nervosa by just eating more. If mental illnesses were that easy & simple to cure, we wouldn’t be struggling in the first place. I remember reading in Wonder, by R.J.
As we all know, Imperial is one of the world’s top universities, with an internationally recognised reputation. Would you say that this reputation is obtained by having students chilling out? You guessed right, it isn’t.
If you are a student here, you will already know what the overload of work is like. If you aren’t a student yet, do not worry, you will find out.
So, when you have a computing exam coming up, three tutorial sheets to be done, a few lectures to Panopto, two labs to write and a life to live, you better organise yourself.
Here are a few tips that may help you to be the most productive you can possibly be:
Your whole year is already timetabled, the least you could do is check how does your week looks like.
Rewind almost five months ago. Our first session of the course was in full swing and we were tasked with writing a list of words we associate with science. We began with the words familiar to us from scientific practice: experiment, process, evidence, research… But as soon as we had exhausted these words and their synonyms, we discovered new words: funding, insecurity, power, hierarchical…It became clear to us that we had delved deeper into what we felt scientific culture was like.
We are now a week away from finals, and revision is at it’s peak. But before we headed off into this revision hole the faculty made sure that we were all feeling confident about our practical skills. This is really key, as so much emphasis is put on by students about written exams when really we need to also be preparing to practically be a doctor!
We have great clinical skills teams across each of our different hospital sites here at Imperial. I was based at West Middlesex Hospital for my final placement and we had a session to ensure we were safe to administer IV drugs and take blood culture samples properly.
How have I already reached halfway through my time at Imperial?
As we hit the middle of February there was only one thing I could really think about, coming to half way through my degree. All undergraduate Imperial students studying engineering and most science students are on 4 year programmes, however, breaking tradition, I have decided to only do the 3 year BSc. A lot of this is due to my focus away from research and towards industry as the 4th year of the maths degree leans towards research.
During my year and half here I have definitely made some incredible friends from all over the world, learnt so much – not only academically but also practically and also had some of my best memories.
You’re a student. You don’t have enough time! Or money?
I recently went on a weekend trip to Dublin, Ireland with friends and it was amazing. The weather was decent for mid-February, atmosphere was chilled and loads of cool sights to see all within walking distance of the city centre.
I thought I’d share my experiences travelling and give a couple tips that you may (hopefully?!) find useful.
This usually determines whether you’ll actually end up going abroad or not. Flights can be notoriously expensive, but the key is to be more flexible with your dates and book way in advance.