Wednesday, 21 September 2011

James: Conference time

Conferences, I am somewhat of the mind that they are little jolly half holidays given to those who spend their life in the pursuit of knowledge, filled with free food and free wine.

This is the new world in to which I enter, meeting many from different places even different countries all drawn by a uniting overarching research area. Yet the thing that struck me immediately on talking to others, of which I am not immune, is a queer sense that they are only interested in their own work and if your does not agree or compliment theirs then you may as well be talking about a cute kitten you saw the previous week for the amount they take in. Still there is a great air of respect around for all those presenting and again I see the transcendence from undergraduate, where you are either right or wrong as decided by your lecturer, to a level playing field where your views are seen with equal weight to someone 40 years your senior.

From a personal point of view yes it was an all expensive paid trip with glorious food laid on and plenty of free drink, for how else could you entice all the best minds for a particular field to one place at the same time. The up shot is what this then achieves, you have all gone for the free stuff but you leave with new friends and new ideas which in turn fuels more research to be presented at the next conference and the cycle continues. It is rather a way to keep everyone on the same page, sharing findings in order to save others from dead-ends and inspire new avenues of research.

So to be some what more concise: yes, I and others attend conferences with a mind for good free food and to show off our latest research yet harbouring the knowledge that you will walk away with new ideas and contacts to help you make the next step in your work.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Synchotron-inspired short story competition!

Here's a contest after my own heart... and perhaps a few of yours, those of you who harbour secret desires to make it all up! Diamond Light Source, the UK's national synchotron particle accelerator, is attempting a little bit of a PR boost by inviting writers to write short stories (max 3000 words) and flash fiction (max 300 words) somehow inspired by it: the Light Reading competition has cash prizes too! Here's more:

The rules are simple: we’re inviting you to submit a story of up to 3,000 words inspired by Diamond – the facility, the science and the people. There’s also a Flash Fiction prize for stories under 300 words. Stories can be in any genre and there is no minimum word limit. Diamond will shortlist the best of these stories, which will then be judged by an expert panel. The top three writers will receive a cash prize, and these, along with those highly commended by the judges, will be published in an anthology of short stories. Entries must be submitted via this website. The deadline is Wednesday 30 November 2011. 

Good luck to all!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Julio: Student Experience: Or Why Study Mathematics at the University of Bristol?

My intention in this post is to comment and present some of my experiences and my own visions of the Department of Mathematics of the University of Bristol.

When I arrived at the Department of Mathematics here in Bristol for the first time, I was very well received by the staff and especially by my supervisors Jon Keating and Nina Snaith, they present me the department and gave me a warm welcome.

The math department in Bristol definitely is worldwide
known, and with leaders in various areas of research. For example in my case, I work with number theory and the department have researchers at the highest level in number theory and related areas. I'm lucky to be part of the number theory and quantum chaos groups here in Bristol.

But the areas of research here in the department of Bristol not only restrict to the number theory and if you take a look on the website about research groups in the department you may notice that there is research in several areas of mathematics such that Pure mathematics (such as research in analysis, partial differential equations, dynamical systems, algebra and others), Applied Mathematics (random matrix theory, quantum chaos, statistical mechanics, quantum information and others) and Statistics (Applied Probability, Monte Carlo, behavioural biology and others)
. So research in mathematics at the University of Bristol is vivid and very varied.

The courses offered are varied and change each year ranging from undergraduate level units up to advanced graduate courses. The Postgraduate courses and the department of mathematics is part of the TCC along with other universities (University of Bath, Imperial College, University of Oxford and the University of Warwick) which offer advanced courses in specific mathematical subjects. I can say that these courses are very useful for the mathematical training of anyone involved in any area of ​​mathematics.

I am enjoying my course and have been learning many new things every day. The Mathematics Department is very well structured with good rooms, seminar rooms, teaching rooms, computer lab rooms and many excellent lecturers. The professors here are very friendly and always ready to help. Studying in Bristol has been a priceless experience for me and I'm sure it will enormously contribute to my career as a mathematician and to my personal life.

The University of Bristol is very well located in the city of Bristol and this is amazing, since everything is quite close to the University.
Bristol is a very nice city, probably one of the best places invUK. It's got all the good things the big city has, and yet it is a calm and safe place and is close from London. The city has good train and coach stations and even an airport where you can not catch only direct flights to other cities in the UK, but also to many other cities.

I highly recommend to my friends in Brazil to apply and come to study here, I guarantee you will be a unique experience and very rewarding academically, professionally and personally.