When I was an undergraduate student, back in the dim and distant 1990s, I enjoyed my undergraduate degree, and hopefully I learned a lot of stuff, but I spent the whole degree learning by going to lectures, solving problems and going to lab classes, until I could avoid the latter in the final year by taking an optional theory paper. There’s nothing really wrong with that, but one thing I do like about the physics degree programmes here at Surrey is the opportunity students get to get away from the University and work either in industry, or in another University or research institute.
It’s because of our MPhys Research Year that I find myself in Oak Ridge in Tennessee. I’m here visiting a student on placement at Oak Ridge National Lab, where is he working at the Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility (picture, right), trying to better understand the nuclear reactions that take place in stars. It’s always a pleasure to visit students on placement and see how they are getting on – and interesting to see the kind of research they are performing, which is the sort of thing most students don’t do until they start a PhD. I’m happy to say that our student here is getting on really well, and he’s been telling me about some of the places he’s been while on holiday over here (most recently, Florida – and about to go to New York City). If all that sounds good, and you are about to apply for a physics degree, then do consider our MPhys programme!
Okay, plug over… If you want to read what else I got up to while I was here, see this blog post to read about my train ride through a decommissioned nuclear plant.