Archive for the ‘Anecdotes’ Category

Greetings all our Real Science Experience minions,

As you will know if you have been here from the start or if you have checked out out info page, we have been conducting this blog as part of a group assignment for a subject teaching us all about how to communicate science to both our colleagues and the public.

Last Thursday we presented to our class, our mentors and our assessors what we’ve done and how effective our task was.

In under two months we’ve accumulated 2780 hits, as well as getting some really valuable insight into how you, the readers of this blog, engaged with us through both your insightful comments and activity on the blog.

Our blog was received really well by everyone: they were impressed not only with the blog itself, but with the readership we have gained in such a small time. So, from all four of us here at The Real Science Experience: thank you! We absolutely could not have done it without you! Sincerely. We would have looked pretty silly reporting that we had no comments and minimal hits. We don’t know our grade yet, but the written feedback we got later was similarly positive.

One question we got asked by many was; would we continue this blog?

We think that should be up to you guys!

You’ve given us the impression that this has really helped some of you, so we feel compelled to continue. But we’ll only do it if the interest is there. So let us know! If you can’t be bothered commenting, we’ve made it really easy for you:

Of course, we’d love to hear from you in the comments, too.

You might be wondering how we celebrated the end of our projects after a semester of hard work. With pizza and cake, of course! Check out some of our pictures from our final seminar!

Two other groups presenting their projects

Cutting cake

Back in my day, we didn’t have this fancy Melbourne Model whatchamacall it. We also had to walk 30 miles to get from one lecture to the next. In the snow. Without shoes on. Backwards.

I’m an old school undergrad. Or, at least, that’s what we call ourselves to pretend we’re all young and hip (perhaps half the problem is referring to ourselves as ‘hip’).

I completed my Bachelor Degree under the old model. So I profess my ignorance to many of the intricacies of the Melbourne Model. But one thing I remember was the controversy. I remember a lot of the ‘old school’ people complaining about the breadth component. It took me a while before I bothered to find out what breadth was.

Each year, a student is required to take two breadth subjects; this means a subject from a faculty besides your own (or inter-disciplinary).

“What?” I hear you say. “I’m here to do a Science degree, not to take non-science subjects!” At least, this is what I heard the masses complaining about a few years ago.

To take a Science degree, in fact any degree, with the notion that you should only take those subjects is – I feel – to miss out on a truly amazing opportunity.

Under my degree, we didn’t have any such requirements. But in first year, I took two History and Philosophy of Science [HPS] subjects. It was perhaps the best decision I ever made. One subject in particular was perhaps the best subject I did in my degree, taught by one of the most revered lecturers at The University of Melbourne. He retired that year, and the turn out to his last Science, Philosophy and History lecturer was phenomenal: people were crowding the hallway to hear it.

I was amazed. I was inspired. I had to find out more.

So I continued taking HPS subjects: I believed that in order to use science, to be a scientist and to move forward within science, I ought to know where we’d come from.

But more than that, I loved the classes. So much I ended up co-majoring in HPS. Like any faculty, a few of the subjects were so-so. But many of them were the most rewarding subjects I ever had the pleasure of taking. HPS was called the hidden secret of The University of Melbourne. I quickly understood why.

What’s more, it was something entirely different from my other classes. The assessment was different, too. Essays rather than exams. Tutorials of philosophising, rather than calculations. It made my brain tick in an entirely different manner. Not to mention that, without HPS, my essay writing skills would have atrophied by the time they were finally called upon again in my 3rd year Science subjects.

It changed me as a scientist. It’s amazing how many misconceptions I hear on a daily basis about science and science history from scientists and non-scientists alike – even academics. I can recount several occasions when I was sitting in a lecture silently glad for what HPS gave me as I listened to some incorrect account of the Trial of Galileo, or of Darwin’s apparent ‘eureka’ moments. Without it, I wouldn’t have the knowledge, nor the skills to critically analyse what I was exposed to.

Breadth may or may not teach you any subject matter that you think you will use in your career. But it will teach you to think in a whole new manner. It will expose you to another way of learning and another way of thinking. Something that you will use in whatever career you pursue.

So whether you go to Melbourne University or not, I urge you to take that bull by the horns. There’s plenty of time to specialise in post-grad. Embrace the opportunity for all it’s worth: take subjects that sound fun, that interest you purely for the subject matter, not because it’s a prerequisite to something else.

It may just be one of the best things you ever do in your undergraduate life.

Like any fulltime commitment be it school, work or in my case uni, there is always a bunch of must -attend annual events. For uni students this well-known time to ‘let off some steam’ would be the numerous club hosted and organised balls and functions that occur during the year. With something for everyone, from the formal Commerce Ball with obligatory full suit attire to the more relaxed and colloquial costume driven Engineering Ball. The latter of which I attended before the Easter Break. In a few words it was awesome, something to definitely check out as a first year.

It was quite a sight to behold, entering the San Remo Ballroom to see costumes of every description, pirates and convicts to toga-clad ancient Greek men and women. Honestly, some of the costumes were  top notch with the costume of the night going to the individual with the full parrot suit on the pirates table (he got free drinks and crackers as a prize :)) and the winning table being awarded to the hessian bag-wearing-chain-gang slavery table complete with multi-billionaire master.

Like any uni social event once everyone had arrived, some 500 of us costume-wearing uni students, the food served, the first round (of many) drinks finished and music cranked up it really was a good night. Not only  is it a awesome opportunity to forget the numerous study hours and assignments due but also a great chance to meet heaps more people that you will inevitably see again on campus.

However, this was only part of the night the after party was still yet to come, but I will let you discover those extra details for yourselves…

Some of the engineering girls in Ancient Greece theme

Members of the ‘Glam Rock’ table

More members of the Glam Rock table a bit later on….after the first round of drinks and strutting their stuff on the dancefloor

Some of the awesome costuming, introducing the Cavemen

Orientation Week

Posted: April 13, 2011 in Anecdotes
Tags: , , ,

Are you thinking of studying science at Melbourne University next semester? Yay, then you will take part in the orientation week! So what happens at O-Week? I was new to this University this semester and this is my experience:

The first days you will get to know a lot of new people, learn how to find your way around campus and prepare yourself for the study by sorting things out (e.g., enrolling in subjects and making sure that your timetable doesn’t clash). When you have enrolled you are able to pick up your student diary and card. There are heaps of people who can help you if you have any problems or questions!

When you get your student card you’re officially a student and have time to be a part of all the fun things going on around Campus. There are competitions, free pancakes and barbecues, pub crawls and different clubs and societies that you can join.

Here are a couple of pictures from O-Week this semester:

Mathematics and Statistics Society

Clubs and societies

Slurpee competition

– Josefin