March 13, 2005

Questions…and revision

Yesterday, Lu asked me if I could invite any 7 people to a dinner party, living or dead, who would they be?

Tough question I thought. But here's what I came up with:

  • Richard Feynman
  • Garry Kasparov
  • Gustav Holst
  • James Clerk Maxwell
  • Nelson Mandella
  • David Hume
  • Lucinda Critchley

Now one of these people isn't all that famous outside of the University of Warwick, but still, there were no conditions :-)
So why these people? Well, Feynman I guess because he was one of the few guys who really understood physics, how things were meant to work. He's a bit of a legend, and his teaching had a reputation for being the best. Kasparov? Well, possibly the greatest ever world chess champion to date – having just retired from professional chess, he's achieved just about everything!
Holst? Well, anyone who writes such good music should get an invitation in my book. Maxwell, well he's Scottish, so nuff said really :-)
I suppose, like most people I have a fair amount of respect for Mandella, hence his invitation. But David Hume? Not the person I'd put down originally, but a philosopher, no less, and Scottish too so, er, nuff said :-)
And Lucinda? Why, who else but our new Social Sec to keep all the conversation ticking over! :-)


Well it's Sunday, and it's time to start revision, sadly. Will it be the joys of understanding Synergetics, or the wonders of Statistical Physics? Perhaps it's time to explore some Stellar Structures, or delve into the world of Ferroics. Or even, do the unthinkable and read about Plasma Physics? Quantum Physics? Laser Physics? The opportunities are endless…

…but as long as I have tea it'll be fine :-)

March 11, 2005

Another Term gone…

…just where does the time go?

It doesn't seem all that long ago that I was a first year, just heading back home for the easter vacation, exams only a dim worry on the horizon. I must say, those were the days! Now revision is the firm basis of my entire easter vacation, since as I've discovered since the 1st year it's the only way I can actually pass my physics degree! If only it didn't have so much…well…physics, in it.

But anyway, another term gone, and the end of lectures for another year. My friends on the 3 year course have finished lectures for good – a scary thought.

March 08, 2005

Teething Tuesday


Photocopiers aside, I went to see the Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performance of Verdi's Requiem tonight. Very impressively performed – but I don't think I'd see it twice! It was slightly too epic for my liking – not my cup of tea :-)


…remains depressingly low this week. It seems to be that week 10 feeling where I just can't be bothered to put the work in. Roll on easter (woo, revision, but at least I can manage my own time there). I guess not having an end of term deadline doesn't really help.

Will be taking a trip home to Edinburgh during the easter vacation. Hurrah! Haven't been back in quite a while now, so it'll be good to see family and friends again – plus I've missed good old scottish weather!

Anyway, must get on and do some work before bed.

March 07, 2005

Photocopier Heaven

Aye, I was wondering this morning, in my inimitable Scottish manner, why it is that I seem to find myself always loitering in the Music Centre Office. And then I realised. It's because I love the photocopier.

And not just in the way that you might normally say 'I love badgers,' I actually love photocopiers. Their beautiful grey sheen, their sleek curves, the subtle hum as they sit, waiting to pounce on any music that they are offered by way of sacrifice, the marvellous roar as they come to life, lights flashing, beeping as they devour the paper that is fed into them and spewing out vast tracts of paper, beautifully crafted with a delightful copy of the original – what is there not to get excited about?




All donations of photocopiers very welcome. Hmmm.

BTW - Note to self. Next time Owen suggests not leaving myself logged in to a computer, I really must pay more attention.

March 06, 2005

Water Water, everywhere

Follow-up to Another week gone from Andy's Intrigue

On a completely unrelated note, not only does our bathroom still leak into the kitchen, this evening the washing machine decided to spill it's content of water all over the floor (the seal on the door having become loose). Annoying, but nothing a handy mop and a spare 20 minutes or so couldn't cure!

Managed to get some Quantum revision done today. Thank goodness for that, I needed to actually make a start sooner rather than later…

Another week gone

Hmm, well another week at Warwick gone by, and it's Area Contest day for the Brass Band. Good luck to them all – they've certainly been practicing hard, and deserve to do well! (though I'm quite glad to have been able to stay in bed this morning rather than go to Burton on Trent).

So, plan for the rest of the weekend? Do some more work on my final lab report, do a bit of revision for the Easter exams (Quantum or Solid State most likely), maybe slip into the MC and practice my euphonium.

Come to think of it, I did practice my Euph yesterday. Jeez, was I bad. Rusty doesn't even begin to describe it. Instead of splitting high notes, some of them just didn't come out at all! I suppose this is what happens when you haven't been doing much playing in Wind Orchestra, and you're not in the contest band for Brasssoc – plus symphonic brass are not rehearsing at the moment.

As an aside, I should point out how substandard my euphonium actually is. It has about a quarter of the value of the music centre euphonium, and it shows. In particular, top B-flat is incredibly difficult to play – a C or D tends to come out instead! Grr…it could well be a problem with my technique, but I have no trouble getting it on the MC euph. Of course, in the hands of a better player this wouldn't really be an issue :-)

But anyway…


Have you ever noticed that good amateur recordings tend to have a bit more spice to them than a lot of professional recordings? Take a CD I have of Peter Graham music, by the Royal Norwegian Navy band. It's all very good and well played, but the music often feels a bit sterile, without much "soul". You can't tell whether the players are enjoying it, which really makes a performance of music if you ask me. Similar from some recordings you hear of top brass bands like YBS or Black Dyke.
However, take good amateurs like the RNCM wind orchestra (who have recorded just about everything), and it's usually a much more exciting listen. A bit strange perhaps, but maybe the fact that the orchestra is working harder, and isn't necessarily note perfect, but is enjoying the performance, makes a lot of difference.

Right, time to go and do some work.

March 04, 2005


This isn't actually Andy, it just looks like it…

Andy, when you notice this, write out 50 times:

In future, I will not be so silly as to leave myself logged into Owen's computer and then leave to pack a van.

Next time, it could be a whole lot worse :o)

March 03, 2005

Lazy Labs continued…

Follow-up to Lazy Labs from Andy's Intrigue

Ok, two cups of tea and several hours later, and I've made it home. I thought I'd give you an illustration of what the Stern-Gerlach apparatus actually looks like:

As you can see, it's basically a big long tube of metal. Exciting? Ok, not really. The silver atoms are fired from the left hand side, and the magnets that provide the field gradient are in the middle of the tube, and a slide is at the right hand end to capture the result. The big pumps underneath both ends are to evacuate the tube before you run the experiment. Unfortunately, it takes hours to get a good enough vacuum!

Anyway, enough of that :-)

Did I mention that I drink tea? I do. 'Tis very nice…also quite useful for counteracting lack of sleep, I find. Just as well.

Unfortunately, our bathroom at home leaks. This has the irritating consequence of flooding the kitchen. Ok, not very good! Hence the shower and bath are currently out of order, on pain of death (or at least, drowning is a vague possibility). That's why me and James are currently at home, waiting for someone to come round and assess the problem.

They said they'd be here "after 6". Well, it's gone 9:30 now. Somehow I'm not too optimistic. It could be another morning of showering in the sports centre at 08:30! Grr!

In fact, nothing in our house works properly. In no particular order:

  • The toaster is broken
  • The internet connection doesn't work properly
  • The phone connector is loose and falls out the socket if you tug it
  • Several of the lights blow far more often than they should. Generally we've stopped replacing them
  • One of the lampshades is smashed.
  • The bathroom leaks (oops, I already mentioned that!)

But apart from that, it's great :-)

Anyway, must get on and do something productive. Don't forget; concert tomorrow. Bring all your friends along :-)

Lazy Labs

Extra Lectures

The physics department has an irritating habit of scheduling extra lectures for the 3rd years. Even more annoying is their fixation with the 10:00am slot on a Thursday, which is supposed to be our only free hour from 9 til 6 (well, apart from lunch, which is usually spent discussing the lab!) Such has been the case for the last 4 weeks! Today it was a revision lecture for Solid State Physics I. (Just wait for Solid State Physics II next year – even more exciting!)

Despite this, lab has been very lazy today. Nobody has a deadline coming up, so most of the lab is hanging around blatantly not doing any work. Including us (hence the fact that I'm blogging in the computer room next door). Besides, we've finished the experimental part of the Stern-Gerlach, now we just need to do a computer model and write the report.

Was going to moan about one of my lecture courses, but that can wait until after a cup of tea and my lecture…

March 02, 2005

More Snow? Oh dear

Just looked out my window to see it's snowing rather heavily. Oh dear. Ok, normally I like snow. It's just that I'm leaving to walk onto campus in about 5 minutes!
To be fair though, my plan for the day was to be on campus at 9, to get a few things done before my lectures start at 10. Oops :-)

Oh well, a little snow shan't stop a Scotsman :-)

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