However good the lecturer, there’s only so much science you can learn through the process of being talked at in a lecture theatre. If you really want to get a sense of what research involves, you need to get into a laboratory. Some of our students have been doing just that recently, with considerable enjoyment and success.
First, as you may have heard, a team of Life Science and Bioengineering undergraduates has just won the European final of the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition and will be heading to MIT next month to compete on the world stage. Their winning project aimed to re-engineer E.coli bacteria to tackle the problems of desertification and poor crop growth in dry climates.
Many thanks to the Imperial College BiochemSoc for arranging a very pleasant BBQ for the freshers yesterday.
The organisers were understandably flustered by the failure of Asda to meet their promised delivery time (I wouldn’t like to be reading the students’ feedback on that one…), but although the food was late the mood remained buoyant as students and several members of staff chatted amiably in Princes Gardens.
Most people I talked to seemed to have enjoyed their first week at university — some rather too much! — and to be looking forward to getting stuck into the course. I hope that’s true for everyone.
At the very start of the academic year it may seem odd to mention what will happen at the end of your time at Imperial: all being well you will graduate and move into the next stage of your life.
In the USA, the graduation ceremony is actually called ‘commencement’, perhaps in recognition of the fact that the end of your degree is in fact a beginning. Traditionally, high-powered universities will invite a high-powered individual to give the commencement address. They are supposed to provide words of wisdom for the young graduands.
One of the most famous commencement addresses in recent years was given in 2005 at Stanford University in California by Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, who died at the relatively young age of 56 last week.