The Account of a Lifetime

December 10, 2009

Spectre of the Past: 05/06-10/06

Filed under: Bebo blog,Reflections — xisor @ 11:56 am


That stupid bloody phone. Set it for 8 and 8.30 this morning. Woke up at 8. Fine, half an hour to lie in. Wake up at 9.50…


So, I phone for a taxi whilst in mid-air leaping from bed and getting dressed. 15 min for a taxi. That’s no use!

Phone the uni and ask what to do, they recommend running like hell to the sports centre…only 20-30 minutes across town! So, on my way, I phone Maths to see if they have suggestions: they say the same- Go to the Sports Centre(where the exam was on by the way) ASAP.

Halfway along the street I remember a shortcut to the Sports Centre via Alan and Dave’s house, so I leg it like I’m being chased by man eating bananas.

Get to the Sports Centre at about 10.15. Invigilator says “Sorry, no-ones allowed in after 10[Half an hour in], only allowed out now”. Fair enough. So I phone Maths again, and I’m told to hurry back to Maths[fortunately only ~5 min from the Sports Centre] and speak to Dr Neukirch, the exam coordinator.

So I do. Get in to Maths, and am told I’m to be kept out of sight as the Lord’s Lieutenant is coming to tour the department. :\ How wonderful. Fortunately, they still let me sit the exam, albeit in a tutorial room in the Maths Department. So, I get taken down to get the paper by Dr Bell, who curiously sounds like the third Chuckle Brother [a pretty decent lecturer and quite a friendly/nice guy too], and am left to my fate.

So, I sit down, look at the paper. Ah, lovely predictable maths exams, nice question on Taylor Series


It was a bloody fourier series question! Ah, caught out at not only the first hurdle(getting to the exam on time), but also the first question. Still, I think I did okay in it overall. Probably not enough for the Masters entry, but depending on how I did in Physics and Discrete[which my bet is on “Terrible”] I may still get through.

Looks like the exams are ready to kick me up the arse again. Here’s hoping they’re okay, but I really doubt they will be.

Anyways, now to the Union for a pint or three…


3/06/06: Back in Cowdentopia again

Well, I’m back in Cowdenbeath for now. It’s quite fun actually, forgot I had two crates of beer sitting in the kitchen since Hogmanay (I went a bit overboard when my dad told me to buy something to drink in case anyone came round to the house! Ended up going to the Ballroom anyway…)

Anyhow, it’s actually nice to be back! House is cleaner and the water tastes nicer here than in St Andrews. I’m dead serious, the water at our house in St As tastes like…well…bad tasting water…

Anyhow, I just found a few choice items that make my time here somewhat better:

1- My Lightsaber. I’d been meaning to use in in “Assassins” in St Andrews, but couldn’t afford the bus back to Cowdenbeath. Instead I had to settle with a fair amount of various-sized water pistols and blaster bought on the cheap from Woolworths in St As. A good thing, actually. I won, and it’s alot easier to shoot someone with a water pistol than to ‘hack’ (bump) them to pieces with a toy lightsaber…

2- My Fez. I really missed that at exam time in St As, so I’ve taken to wearing it around the house now that I’m back. I forgot how much I liked the thing.

3- Aforementioned Two Crates of Beer. It doesn’t need explaining.

4- Knights of the Old Republic 1 & 2, and Rome. Something to keep me awake at night. I’m sure I’ve got Doom3 that Gav lent me somewhere about too. Nothing like squandering money when you’re supposed to be searching for a job!

That’s all for now…I think.

05/06/06: The Impossible Planet


Absolutely fantastic.

Seriously, watch it on BBC3 tomorrow if you missed it tonight. Doctor Who now accounts for the two best three quarters of an hour I’ve seen on TV, or even just seen, for…close to ever!

I’m loving the Cthulhu-style tentacled Ood. Very cool, very sinister.

That’s all for now.

(BTW, the other episode that was the other ‘best’ was “The Girl in the Fireplace”, which was also absolutely amazing)

08/06/06: Yeah!

Ah well, ’twas a pleasant surprise this morning! Exam results. Logging on in extreme trepidation knowing that I had
1- turned up an hour late for an exam
2- done only one night’s studying for an exam
3- had underworked the majority of the semester (to change next semester)

I was, to say the least, shitting my breeks.

It appears didn’t do too badly!

Discrete Maths(1 night’s revision): 12.0(above entry requirement to Honours which is an 11.0)
MT2001 Mathematics(1 hour late): 15.0 (meeting exact entry requirement to all Masters courses!)
PH2012 Physics 2B: 15.8 (well exceeding Masters entry requirements)

All in all, a vast improvement on last semester(I was doing 90 credits this semester, compared to the 60 recommended, Discrete was my extra [unnecessary] subject)! Although my last semesters results may let me down(13.7 in Physics), I’m hoping the extra subjects should carry me into my *ideal* course of:

MPhys: Theoretical Physics with Mathematics

We’ll see over the next few weeks though! <crosses fingers>

Anywhos. Hope everyone is well,

02/07/06: All Ahead Full!

Ah well, looks like my grades cut the…grade…:S


Yeah, I’m into the MPhys program, so for the next three years I *should* be working towards the full Master of Physics: Theoretical Physics and Mathematics, which should be fun. Not only that, but my mission, should I choose to accept it, could also be that of a three year Master of Maths…which’d also be interesting, but not in the same way as Theoretical Physics, as it’d involve maths and only maths, and even I can’t say I’d enjoy that for three years.

Interestingly I’ve heard no complaint from my Adviser, as yet, on wanting to do the extra courses in Astronomy and Astrophysics, so I could yet be moving towards attempting a proper degree in something close to cosmology! But it’s unlikely, as I’m unlikely to survive, academically speaking, through third year, let alone all the way to fifth year and graduate.

Still, I’ve clear horizons for now…

As a total aside:


Someone had to say it.


26/09/06: Yay! Term Time!

That kind of thinking won’t last…

Anyhow, for now, I’m happy to be back at Uni, having started lectures only just today. I’m not doing the major component in Mathematics anymore, simply MPhys Theoretical Physics…too many timetable clashes!

So, having lost almost all maths-related-hope except for Geometry and Topology and my arch nemesis Colin Campbell’s course in Linear Mathematics, I’m not much of a Mathematician anymore…or that’s what they think!

Anyhow, it is indeed a pleasure to be be back. Having had a bit of a think, it seems a bit of a shame to be at St Andrews and not taking advantage of the opportunity to be taught about Lasers by some of the folks who actually built/pioneered/invented a few of them! So, to remedy this, I’m looking at taking the fourth year Module ‘Laser Physics 1’, taught by the great Professor Wilson Sibbet tomorrow and perhaps from now on in…in my third year.

Still, courses so far aren’t fantastic, so something to get my teeth into’d be good.

Laser Physics 1
Thermal and Statistical Physics
Quantum Mechanics 1
Vector Calculus
Linear Mathematics
Mathematics for Physicists
Transferrable Skills for Physicists (BRUCE!).

An okay semester to be honest. I’m a bit gutted to be losing out on the Fundamentals of Pure Mathematics and the Complex Analysis Modules, but I’m sure I can recover them at some point, or just learn about them further down the road anyway.

Also, I’ve moved into the new residence: Andrew Melville Hall. A rather notorious building given it’s generally considered horrible to look at. Not too bad on the inside, even if it is my first bedroom to have five walls!

Pleasant company too, as my friends Alex (who’s just died his hair blue, is a mathematician and sounds fairly ridiculous) and Emma (Welsh English students[Welsh national studying English Lit] who get’s taxis as often as she can) are here so I’m not all alone amongst the first years. I wouldn’t have been anyway, as there’s plenty returning students about, but that’s all beside the point.

I also almost interupted someone’s conversation at dinner to correct their Temporal Mechanics (“It’d be better if we wiped it from history…”), but thought better of it!

Still, got to go to the Cinema in a bit…could be a toss up on whether it’s The Queen or Children of Men I go to see. Should be fun(ish) either way…

Hope alls well for anyone who passes this rather remote and barren place of teh intrawebz.


31/10/06: 16 Hours in the Lab!

Now, over the last two days (ie Sunday & Monday, and sortof Tuesday now) I’m into my 16th hour in the Physics Computer Lab working away at a little presentation…”The Most Important Physicist, and why”, not only does it actually contribute towards my degree mark (miniscule, but still…), but it’s got to be approaching twenty minutes long.

I believe the phrase I’m looking for is abominable physics. I never want to read about Dirac, Fermi, Feynman or Schrodinger within the next year. Nor Einstein, Heisenberg, Maxwell or Boltzmann. But, alas, I’m doomed to this path as, foolishly “It was the life I chose…”

The effect of being disenfranchised with the entire history of physics should wear off once I’ve distanced myself from this marathon study of the damn thing.

Well, at anyrate, I should be approaching enough material. All I’ve got to do now is:
1- Learn the talk for Wednesday
2- Have fun on Haloween tomorrow
3- Finish(start) a Quantum Mechanics (or is it Maths for Physicists?) tutorial for tomorrow
4- Attend the former Iranian President’s lecture tomorrow evening
5- Find out what happened to my groundbreakingly fantastic package that was supposed to be here on Friday
6- Prepare for my Linear Maths test on Thursday

Yes: It will be a fun few days.

Now, where was I.

Ah, yes.
Ernest Rutherford
Pioneer of orbital atomic theory
Gold foild scattering
First successful alchemist
Proposed Neutrons and Attractive Nuclear Force

What fun…


Absolutely fantastic.

Seriously, watch it on BBC3 tomorrow if you missed it tonight. Doctor Who now accounts for the two best three quarters of an hour I’ve seen on TV, or even just seen, for…close to ever!

I’m loving the Cthulhu-style tentacled Ood. Very cool, very sinister.

That’s all for now.

(BTW, the other episode that was the other ‘best’ was “The Girl in the Fireplace”, which was also absolutely amazing)


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