Archive | March, 2011

Today: What I Have Learnt…

28 Mar

… From my Physics Degree.

Here is a list of 10 things that need to be known if you will pass a physics degree…

  1. Vectors, dot products and cross products. You can’t have a force without direction! Well you can, you’re just not going to get anywhere.
  2. The universe of homogeneous and isotropic. Forget this and you WILL FAIL anything for do with cosmology
  3. Integration. Mathematical tool, if in doubt, integrate the dam thing between zero and infinity then blag your results.
  4. Errors, Everything has errors, if you’re unsure on an answer say “within statistical error” and you should get away with anything else
  5. Units, the pain of everyones lives. Forget the units and you lose the marks. Unless it’s natural units, which equal 1….
  6. Everything is a spherical body made up of an infinite number of spherical shells… Now you can model EVERYTHING.
  7. light = particles = waves. No-one really knows why, to be honest not alot of people care. just accept this fact and move on…
  8. Conservation laws, If in doubt, do the following: Conservation of energy, then conservation of momentum (linear and perpendicular… VECTORS PEOPLE), Cons of Angular momentum, inertia, charge, mass… use which ever ones apply. This list is not exhaustive.
  9. Stirling’s approximation. Apply it everywhere. when you eventually know what it is…
  10. The most important thing of all. No matter what level you are at, what you are being taught, it’s all WRONG. There is always a better theory ‘just around the corner’.

However the Gravitational waves people have been saying that they are ‘just around the corner from discovering a grav wave’ for the past 6 or 7 years…. Bad example…

Today: Monday!

21 Mar

Project day is here again. and hopefully by the end of it i will have scaled my spectrometers adjuster to a wavelength! SCORE!

Today: More Women in Science

5 Mar
Image of Stargate: Continuum cast at Arctic sh...

Image via Wikipedia

I am currently sat in Week 6’s Discover! Club’s activity, which is adding a blog post commenting on what has been discussed in this presentation about how women are portrayed in Science.

As a woman in science I feel I could write about myself here, so engaging my ego as much as possible i think i will.

I’m a total science-crime-fighting-drama person (with a swing towards Grey’s Anatomy as well…. Patrick Dempsey = YUM!), we were talking today about how women can be portrayed in these drama’s. Personally I was (and still secretly am) a Stargate fan, I watch the series more than the poor excuse of a film, enjoying the primitive adventures they travel on whilst travelling through an interstellar transportation device called a Stargate.

Now actually studying for a physics degree i find it quite satisfying pointing out the mistakes, continuity errors and general scientific rif-raf that has been presented to me over 10 seasons of SG1, 5 seasons of Atlantis and the 2 series of universe.

Back on point.

There is a character in stargate that i can quite unashameably say is one of the main reasons i decided to study Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University. That character is successfully portrayed by Amanda Tapping, and she pretty much plays my heroine. Dr Lt. Col. Samantha Carter:

Strong, emotional, clever beyond anyones dreams, can shoot things, gets with the hot guys, BRILLIANT.

It’s any wonder why i wanted to model myself on her!

I do think it depends on what you watch as to how the women are portrayed. Also some of the writers, I have noticed that whenever it is a female author of that episode, the women seem to be very domineering, intimidating, bitchy and very pretentious, compared to when the men write about them. Where it’s the other extreme (generalizing here boys)

The girls i am working with are all UK yr 9’s. 14 year olds, choosing their GCSE choices and probably spend a little bit more time watching TV than they should. They are easily influenced by the people they meet in their life, even though they wouldn’t admit it even when under torture (at least if there were any boys around). And probably even more affected by who they see on the TV.

Thankfully TV is alot more forgiving nowadays and the portrayal of female scientits is becoming alot more positive, than that nerdy girl in the corner.

The girls seem to be taking to the challenge quite well, listening around anyway -noticed that this is like a running commentary? LIVE BLOGGING PEOPLE! – o dear. I’m not sure about their takes on the subject at hand, but they certainly know who they want to write about, people from the BBC’s Coast – Dr Alice Roberts, People from Scrubs, other scientific things…. (i really need an Ipad or soemthing that i can walk around and actually see what people are doing) All for different reasons, why they look up to them, Why they don’t, whyt hey think they’re famous….

The posts are going to be uploaded to: http://morewomeninscience.blogspot.com

So have a read if you want.

The revellations may not end up in another book, but it may give people an insight that 14 year old girls may actually be affected by what’s shown on TV. But more postively than we give the directors credit for.

Hopefully it’ll inspire them to take up a passion for something that was dreamt up in a writers dream!