Imperial Strikes Back: 2nd Year Physics GYGWatch
tbh that is true... like looking at the course structure at every single uni and everyones experience... Physics is the best subject innit . Like... if you aint studying Physics... whatcha studying?
It would be amazing if you were successful in making the University Challenge team for Imperial! I love University Challenge
How does the selection process work? Is it run by students like a society or does the university run it themselves? Sorry for the questions, I'm really intrigued! I'd love to go on when I go to uni but I'd probably be a dead weight for whichever team was unfortunate enough to have me
I would have loved to study physics at that level but maths is not my strong point. If I was more naturally adept at that sort of thing it would be a contender for me!
Letters are sent to the student unions of each university, and they can pick a team however they see fit. Generally if you want your uni to have the best chance of winning it helps to run some kind of selection process. At Imperial the tryouts are run by the Quiz Society, when I did it the first round was just 100 trivia questions in a written format, the second round was University Challenge format where we were judged on our performance and ability to work as a team. We'd be put into teams but also switched around quite a lot to give everyone a decent chance to prove themselves. Brandon came back to Imperial to help out with the tryouts which was pretty cool
First off - academic concerns
Basically I'm very rusty indeed with a lot of content. The most pressing topics that come to mind are vector calculus, Python and Fourier analysis.
I haven't received my timetable yet, but I do know that the modules on differential equations & electromagnetism, quantum physics and thermodynamics start this autumn.
It may surprise you to know that the steps to actually solving ODEs weren't covered in too much detail in first year; the favoured method of our lecturers was "let's try a trial solution of ". In fact this year we actually learn about particular integrals and complementary functions for 2nd order ODEs, but probably in a lot more depth than the Edexcel textbook gave. Vector calculus, well, not much point trying to learn EM without knowing it.
Fourier is going to come up in a lot of lab work and is also needed for solving DEs and god knows what else.
Computing skills in 2nd year involve a lot more simulations; in first year Python was mainly used for optimisation problems, data handling and maybe solving equations. The only kind of simulation I remember having to do were plotting a vector field with plt.quiver in a lab session... and I sucked at that. I thought doing a computational project last summer would improve my coding skills - maybe it would have if I actually did any significant amount of coding in it.
What to do about this?
I guess for VC I could go back to doing some old problem sheets. Just to get the methods back in my head. Same story for Fourier.
I'm less sure for Python, if my assumption about the content is correct then we'll be doing something fairly different to before and I don't really know what to expect. In terms of actual code structure we never did anything much more complicated than arrays, functions and loops.
I don't work well at home. It's not a place I associate with doing study in. I've tried to fix that by having one room in the house that I use strictly for leisure and one that I use strictly for study, but if I have to bring up the laptop then this system kind of falls apart. There's no printer where I am currently, but if I go to my other parent's (which I'm planning to during term time) then I can print work there and prevent myself from having to use my laptop.
Fortunately I live in London anyway so I can commute to university - even if it's just for labs once or twice a week. At the moment the Central Library is supposed to be open this term, but with social distancing in place. This reduces the capacity to about 40% at best. Now I would love to be able to go in regularly just to work there, but if they do end up running a booking system then that might not be feasible.
P.S: "suck less at Python" is such a mood. That's my goal too.
Hullo to fellow 2nd year physics student! Will be watching your thread but could you tag me as well please hehe :-) Best of luck, feel free to message me for any 2nd year physics crises to share your suffering.
P.S: "suck less at Python" is such a mood. That's my goal too.
will put you on the list
Keep me tagged ofc
Basically, a few things. My inbox on my uni email has been stirring back into life and I no longer have to shrug when asked about how the first term is going to work with coronavirus restrictions.
University coronavirus measures:
Only the measures in place for the first term have been announced with any certainty. All lectures will be online, pre-recorded, but we might organise some kind of viewing parties via Microsoft Teams or something just so we don't feel too lonely watching them.
Seminars - run with a quarter of the year at a time, with us split into groups of 4 or 5 - will be run remotely, I expect in the same way as they were done for Relativity in the summer. They're a bit of a pain and not nearly as enjoyable when done remotely, but with the numbers involved there's no other option really.
Academic tutorials - 4 or 5 students with a lecturer going over problems - will also be done remotely as they were in the summer. To me it didn't feel like we lost out on that much by having it be done remotely.
So what do you actually need to go into uni for?, it is sensible to ask.
Well... labs and pretty much nothing else. Labs are going to be run with social distancing, which means that we'll need more frequent lab sessions. It's looking like it'll be two 3-hour sessions a week on consecutive days. Doesn't sound great, but the only other option was to have 6 hours of labs in a single day. No thank you.
The library is expected to be open albeit with social distancing, unless London is subjected to a local lockdown. They've said that it'll have 30-40% capacity in that case. I know the struggles of trying to find a seat there at peak times when open at full capacity so I'm a bit worried about that. But my plan is to maximise my time spent at the campus, since I've had 6 months to realise that being stuck at home is a bit miserable.
We are the guinea pigs of this new course and a lot of the information on the website is a bit outdated, so I don't actually know the content of some of these modules. Differential Equations and Electromagnetism is the module I'm most concerned about, largely due to my pretty dismal score in VFEM last year so I have actually been doing a little bit of revision so that I'm not too rusty when the time comes to learn it. I'm not so worried about the other two main academic modules because at least it's new for everyone... right?
Societies haven't been totally inactive! I've signed up for the PhySoc "Mums and Dads" scheme (kind of like that mentoring thing every school ever has attempted to run), but this being physics, many new students can expect to have two dads.
There's been an inter-university quiz tournament running every Tuesday since the 18th of August that finished yesterday. The quiz is kind of like university challenge format but the style of question is a bit different. It's been very enjoyable, ended up wiith 3 wins and 4 losses. Best moment of the entire thing was when knowing the name of the colour of the Golden Gate bridge finally came in useful for me to answer a starter question in the first four seconds
For the society that I'm on the committee of, we had to put together a video introducing the society for the virtual fresher's fair and we've been discussing events. There's usually a pub crawl at the start of the year for this one but that almost definitely can't run now. Strange that under the current restrictions it's okay for more than six people from different households to be in a pub with no face coverings on, but not okay for them to be 2 metres apart outside...
Okay I think that's all there is to say. Might do another update once I get some knowledge about module details and my timetable. Until next time.
2 days a week at uni doesn't seem like much!