One of the absolute highlights of my time at Imperial has been taking part in M3T, a module offered in the Mathematics department that is titled “Communicating Mathematics”. This project module basically involves spending 1 day a week in a secondary school during term 2 of your final year. Since the secondary school I attended is very nearby to Imperial, I was lucky to do this project there.
During my first 2 or 3 visits I spent most of my time just observing lessons. During the term I would be focusing on 3 groups of students, Yr9 middle set, bottom set Yr11 preparing for GCSEs and a Yr12 Further Maths class.
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.
I recently used a R script from Keith McNulty to analyse my Facebook data. I was curious to know how much I had been posting for the past 10 years, but I also wanted to know much information Facebook had about me.
I was able to download over 4,000 days of data and more than 30,000 posts. These posts were mine, but also from friends that were posting on my timeline.
In the process, I learned these three points:
1. I have 1000’s of posts per year
I remember when I initially joined Facebook, my friends I would basically communicate and organise everything by posting publicly on our walls (no sense of privacy!).
The MSci project is, in some ways, a culmination of years’ worth of studying, in which you apply all the skills you’ve slowly acquired during the past few years of toil. With Imperial participating in such a vast range of research, it offers a similarly broad spectrum when it comes to choosing a topic for your final year project. As a sample of this variety, I thought I’d write a (short!) background of the area that tempted me. Enjoy!