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).
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.
The last week has been fun—one of my friends from home came down on Tuesday and we went to see Taylor Swift in the O2! One of the best things about living in London is that you don’t have to force people to come and see you—they come themselves for the attractions and then can sleep on your floor. Taylor, as I now affectionately call her, was brilliant—a very professional performer and though she did talk some rubbish in between her music and dancing she was so compelling about it that I was completely swept along.
Tubing there was easy—straight from labs to North Greenwich tube station, but unfortunately by the time we were heading home the infamous tube strike of last Tuesday/Wednesday had begun so we and a million other confused pop fans were stranded at the O2.
I just realised I haven’t told you anything about my lectures this term! So much for this being an informative and insightful blog about life at Imperial…
We are now almost three weeks in, and the structure of the term is starting to reveal itself. Firstly I have Wednesdays and Friday mornings off, which makes my week very on-off intense, with nine ‘til six on a Monday and nine ‘til five on a Tuesday and then a day of pure pure rest. I have fewer lecture courses than last term to add to the relaxation—Sun, Stars and Planets, Electromagnetism and Atomic Physics, which you should read as interesting, awesome and evil respectively.
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.
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).
Last week over! It was a pretty busy one- I finally got my essay in, after changing my mind about its ending five hundred times, saw The Hobbit 2, made some mince pies and went to see Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People, which is a science-comedy show. It was actually pretty disappointing- a lot of the acts were a bit terrible, although the ones that were funny were hilarious.
Beautiful mince decoration…
On Thursday we made a house Christmas dinner, with two chickens, stuffing, Yorkshires, gravy, sprouts and everything. It was a great end to the term, and required a lot of team peeling and chopping.
One week to the end of term… and still quantum goes on.
I’m sorry our lecturer who is lovely and the notes are amazing, but gosh it goes on and on and on and on. And just, confusion. Operators. Lots more dimensions than there should be. I never liked classical angular momentum, for goodness sake.
The last couple of weeks have been really busy. For a start it was my housemate Oscar’s musical revue with Musical Theatre Society in which he sang and danced very professionally. Afterwards the cast came back to our house for a very musically talented after-party.
Last Tuesday Alex’s parents very (very) kindly took us to see the new Jeeves and Wooster play that is on in the Duke of York’s theatre at the moment.
Since I started this blog quite late in the term, I thought I’d update you on some of the things you have missed!
In second year Physics, labs are divided up into four week cycles, so before writing this blog I’d already completed my first lab cycle which was computing. In first year computing was almost universally dreaded, expect by a lucky few who had programmed before. We use the computing language Python, and I would say for anyone who has a Physics offer from Imperial, that it is really worth having a look at beforehand.
There’s no need to stress about learning how to do certain things in it because you will be taught the specifics, but I think the reason that I and so many other people found it difficult was just that it was so unfamiliar.
Top tip for starting conversations at the start of a new year: type ‘tell me a joke’ into Wolfram Alpha. Oh Wolfram. How you amuse me and help me integrate things that should never be integrated.
Hi, potential readers of this blog. I’m Emma, a second year physicist- as you’ve probably gathered, who is hopefully going to be blogging here for the next year. I thought I’d start by telling you a bit about the start of my term.
This year I am renting a house with four other lovely people from halls last year, so I started the term carting down boxes of stuff that (now almost at the end of term) I still haven’t unpacked one of.