April 27, 2005

Tenacious Tuesday

Well, today hasn't exactly gone as planned.

It was all going so well this morning, too. I was on campus for 9am, into the library (after a brief detour via the MC), and armed with a flask of tea to boot. Although, this flask was empty by 11 – I guess I always need a bit of a boost in the mornings. What's more, I was actually understanding the subject I was revising, a rare event indeed these days.

It all went wrong of course, when I bumped into Jizz, who happens to be one of my 3rd year lab partners. As it happened, he was off to meet my other partner, Oli, where we were all supposed to be trying to finish our report. So off we went.

Unfortunately, this session consisted of bashing our heads off a brick wall. Lets explain: We've done the experiment, but our results are just wrong. But that's not the problem, results are wrong all the time in experiments. The problem is we literally can't find a reason why. We've checked all the sources of error, tried to think of anything that can account for the discrepancies. No joy. It makes no sense. To give you an idea of the sort of thing we're talking about, one of our measurements was of slit spacings in a collimator. Experimentally we get 3.7, when we should get 3 (that's in mm). We could account for this if say…the tube was 0.5 meters longer than we measured it! For a 2m tube you can consider this unlikely…

…and most of the errors are like that. Oh dear. And our handy computer simulation not only disagrees with our experimental results, but with the theoretical ones too! And it's all due on on Friday. So the point where Lesley walked into the lab to borrow the lecture notes from one of my courses didn't really catch me in the best of moods (sorry Les!).

Following that was the termly MAP meeting at 5, time for a Costcutter dinner (following on from a Costcutter lunch, no less) and back to the library to make up for all the time I wasted in the afternoon in the lab. By this point I think I had rather overdosed on caffeine, but still, I got some work done.

So it's now just gone midnight and I really should have been in bed a while ago – but that would require a bit more common sense.

Before I go then, here are the answers to the trivia questions I posed a few days ago:

1) The largest constituency in the UK is Ross, Skye and Lochaber, in Scotland. It's current incumbent is the liberal democrat leader Charles Kennedy (well done Dave!). It's perhaps worth noting that this is technically a new constituency because all the boundaries in Scotland have been changed – there are now fewer total scottish seats).

2) The answer is indeed Ant Edwards (sorry Ant). If you listen very closely to the Highlights CD when it's made, you may be able to hear it :-)

3) The conservative party in fact won one seat in Scotland in the 2001 general election, an improvement of one over the 1997 result. The seat was Galloway, and it was won by 74 votes.

4) Suite No. 2 in F was composed in 1911, but not publicly performed until about 10 years later. Or so says he programme note anyway.

5) Well done again, Dave, Mark Oaten did indeed win his seat originally by a whole 2 votes. His opponent refused to accept the result, so the election had to be re-run. This time Oaten won by about 20,000 votes.

6) And finally, I currently own 4 music society Tshirts. 2 wind orchestra, and 2 brass band. Though I look forward to swelling my collection to 5 with the tour tshirt.

Right, now it's time for bed :-)

- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. I have a solution to your error with the computer simulation. Hit the computer. I find that normally works.

    In fact, I managed to keep my computer running for a month just by hitting it. The power supply was making a funny noise and the only way I found I could stop it was by taking the side of the case off and whacking it. It worked for a while, but in the end I decided to invest in a new one.

    I suggest you and Jizz try the same until you get your simulation working. If not, complain to the University that their computers are no good and you want new ones. That is the best solution I can offer, having just got back in from Top B semi-drunk at 1:30am. Good luck!

    03 May 2005, 01:38

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