Monday, 2 May 2011

James: Physicists and Sport

Physicists and sport, not normally two things you would put together. However, Bristol has the precedent of an annual 5 a side football tournament for Physicists. Idea being it is a friendly competition between all the research groups within the school of physics. This year saw nine teams enter; Correlated Electron Systems, Quantum Photonics, Particle Physics, Astrophysics, three teams from the nanophysics and soft matter group, plus an all girls team and the reigning champions Interface Analysis Centre.

I was attending this year as the only new player in the IAC team. I must admit that I was expecting it to just be a bit of a laugh and no one to take it too seriously. However I was wrong, all laughs and smiles in the galleries but the moment of kick off and the competitive nature kicked in. It was also interesting to see that everyone was against the IAC, one of those things if we don’t win, we certainly don’t want them to win. In stark contrast the girls team ‘Girls Allowed’ where supported very vocally, especially when they scored two goals against Quantum Photonics.

Despite who the crowd wanted to win at the semi-final stage only the IAC, Particle {Physics}, Astroturf {Astrophys} and the Nano veterans where left. With IAC finish top of their group by winning every game went into the game against Astroturf with some confidence, which showed as they won a comfortable 6-0. In the other semi things where far more even with the Nano veterans just edging it to set up a repeat of last year’s final.

The final was very tense and was decided by a single strike on the 5th minute for the IAC, the rest of the game was tense with the Nano vets forcing a handful of great saves and even hitting the bar on one occasion. Yet when the final whistle blew the IAC, undefeated, had yet again retained the trophy which will I’m sure stoke the fire for next year’s competition.

From a personal point of view, I thought it was a great day (apart from badly twisting my ankle in the first game) as it brought all the groups of physics together with a common interest and a reason to go out for a drink afterwards. Normally there isn’t a great deal of cohesion between the groups as there is no academic cross over, from an internal point Quantum Photonics and Particle physics are as different as Biology and English, don’t get me started on Astrophysics that is like a different world.

So if you take nothing else away from this article I hope you see that however strange and odd physicists seem they are real people who play sport and socialise just like you.