A day in the life of a first year physics student

By YinYi Liu,

8.30

I get up and start the day with breakfast before going to classes. Going to university is my first time living independently, this means I have to wake up at a reasonable time and cook for myself every day. All first-year students can apply for accommodation on campus, my room is a single study ensuite room with a shared kitchen between six students. Living on the main campus is really convenient for going to school and library. It only takes 5 minutes for me to walk to the GO Jones physics building.

9.00

In the first semester, we have Professional Skills for Scientists Lab in the Bancroft Building. The class starts with a quiz aboutlast week’s lecture, whichreviewsthe new concepts introduced. This week, we continue working on the programming group project, which will take four weeks to complete. Programming is a new experience for me, I have found it’s very interesting and useful for data analysis. In this project, we analyse climate change by programming Matplotlib using python 3.6 to plot temperature anomalies data files into different graphs.

12:00

Classical physics is my first physics module, the lectures take place at the Graduate Center Peston Lecture Theatre. This week’s lecture is about waves in linear media, we look specifically into group velocities and the doppler effect. Many key ideas and concepts are introduced followed by mathematical derivation for group velocity equations.

Walking around campus, our house in the side of the canal.

13:00

After the morning classes, I go back to my room, cook myself lunch and take a short break. The student union café is also a great place to have a lunch break and meet with friends.

Before going to the lab session, I always take 5 minutes to read through the pre-lab report prepare for the experiment I am going to do.

After the morning classes, I go back to my room, cook myself lunch and take a short break. The student union café is also a great place to have a lunch break and meet with friends.

Before going to the lab session, I always take 5 minutes to read through the pre-lab report prepare for the experiment I am going to do.

14:00pm

Practical work in lab is an essential part to understand and illustrate basic concepts in physics. As a first-year I have six hours of labs each week at GO Jones laboratory. I am continuing with my first long experiment on thermal radiation this afternoon.

In this experiment, I have to decide exactly how the experiments will be setup, taking measurements, analysing the results to verify the inverse power law and Stefan-Boltzmann law. My favorite part so far is building the amplifier circuit. It was challenging when I first started out building the circuit with breadboards but there are always demonstrators on hand to help if I get stuck. The most important thing I learned from lab is to pay attention to errors and write everything down in the lab book. A physics degree is not only doing calculations, writing good reports and analysis are also an important part for physicists.

Our experiment: Leslie’s cube

17:00

Living and studying in London gives me the best opportunity to enjoy the wonderful Christmas time. I meet with my friends at Mile End station and take tube to the central London. Tonight I am going to Hyde park Winter Wonderland and the Christmas market.

Christmas lighting on Regent Street
A ferris wheel at the Winter wonderland visitor attraction
Winter wonderland

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