As 5pm came around students from all years of the degree gathered at the nearest pub in the tradition of celebrating the end of second term exams, and although fourth years are no longer subjected to such things it was still apt as a send off for Easter! The week also saw the end of the fourth year presentations, which I’m pleased to say went well all round, so there was plenty of reason to celebrate. With projects taking centre stage, however, the lines between terms feel continually blurred, and everyone in my year seems to be staying over Easter either to continue experiments or begin writing up. Months of staring at lasers appears to be slowly paying off for me in my project, but it can be difficult to know when to stop getting results and start writing. With the Advanced Study presentations now out of the way, hopefully a week or two should clear the fog of the piles and piles of data!
In between modules something that’s been gathering steam is the Natural Sciences Newsletter. For the past few years this has been circulated and designed by staff, but starting this year students are taking a progressively more active role in submitting and editing content. I think this is a great idea as it gives a larger platform for students of the degree to advertise academic events and celebrate achievements, such as events put on by the Interdisciplinary Science Society, or activities done by students beyond the degree programme. It also gives students a greater insight into how staff are popularising problem-based learning and the interdisciplinary nature of the course through outreach events and conferences, as this aspect of higher education isn’t always that visible to undergraduates. I volunteered to be part of the editing team and was tasked with writing a small piece on some exciting developments in interdisciplinary research. I chose to write about astrobiology, since it’s a great example of how disciplines are combining, and with NASA’s Dawn probe arriving at Ceres, an ocean now postulated to be on Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede, and further evidence of the origin of life having it’s roots in an RNA world, there’s been a lot of developments in recent weeks! The aim of the newsletter is really to celebrate achievements by students and staff and the importance of interdisciplinary science, and advertise this to those interested in the degree. It’s a great thing to be a part of and I’ll let you know when the first issue comes out!