Martin's Blog

Cambridge week 4

Posted by Martin Orr on Monday, 31 October 2005 at 08:54

Well I will have been here a month tomorrow. I don't have much to write about from this week so I will write a bit about why this is such a great place.

One thing I like is the variety of people I am living with. There are people from all around the world - 30% of Trinity's students are from overseas (a lot from Poland). First there are those whom I see many times a day, who live along my corridor and it's always good to say hello to or have a chat with. A group of us went to see the Wallace and Gromit film last week. Five out of ten are Mathmos and another two Natscis (Natural Science). Then when I go to Hall for a meal, I eat with other people from round the college who are studying lots of different subjects.

It is also a great place to learn. I have written about how useful I find supervisions; and always having another good mathematician to talk to about a problem is helpful. But for me who is interested in everything, there are lots of opportunities to learn about other things as well. For example there are the language courses I am doing, and a good college library. Plus of course you can go to lectures in other subjects - I did Engineering and Politics this week.

-- Martin

no comments Tags cambridge, lectures, supervisions, trinity

Cambridge week 3

Posted by Martin Orr on Monday, 24 October 2005 at 08:32

On Saturday night we had our Matriculation Dinner. This is a very elaborate (and very nice) dinner in the college Hall, attended by all the freshers as well as the Master and Fellows of the college (who are seated among the students). The catering department failed to put me on the seating plan, but they put me in the seat of someone who didn't turn up and I greatly enjoyed the dinner.

On Friday I started my German class. We had a two-hour class so covered a lot of the basic phrases. I have also been to lectures in Anatomy and Anthropology this week. In two of the three Maths courses, we have reached the end of what I already knew and are starting on new stuff. I have two supervisions on Tuesday so I have had quite a lot of work this weekend (in so far as there is a weekend with lectures on Saturdays - Sunday is the only day which is really different from any other).

Just for you to see where I am living, I have taken a few photos of the college.

-- Martin

no comments Tags cambridge, languages, lectures, trinity, tripos

Cambridge week 2

Posted by Martin Orr on Monday, 17 October 2005 at 19:34

Things have begun to become more settled this week: lectures in the mornings, working and relaxing in the afternoons. I have signed up for a German course on Friday afternoons, and I am going to the college Amnesty International group. Each Tuesday they have a meeting to write letters to governments about specific people around the world who are in danger of being tortured, executed, or unjustly imprisoned.

I am also going to an ecumenical discussion group on Thursday evenings, who have a speaker from a different church each week. This week it was the Orthodox Church, which was something I didn't know much about and was very interesting. On Sunday I went to the College Chapel. This is an Anglican chapel, but the service is (apart from changing the order of some parts) almost identical to the Catholic Mass.

Last Tuesday I had my first supervision, on differential equations. This was great and I think I learned a lot from it. I have another tomorrow, on algebra and geometry. I have also set out to go to a lecture from every subject - this week I went to Physiology of Organisms from Natural Sciences and Spanish Linguistics from Modern and Medieval Languages.

-- Martin

no comments Tags cambridge, chapel, churches, languages, lectures, supervisions

Cambridge week 1

Posted by Martin Orr on Monday, 10 October 2005 at 16:11

Lectures started on Thursday. We have lectures 10-12 every day (including Saturday) and all in the same place, so it's very easy to keep track. It's somewhat odd not having any specific plan in the afternoons. We do have two 1-hour supervisions (with a research student) each week. My first is tomorrow and I have just gone across to the Centre for Mathematical Sciences to hand the work in for it. The CMS is an amazing new building in West Cambridge in seven layered pavilions and with a garden on the roof.

My courses this term are Algebra and Geometry, Numbers and Sets, and Differential Equations. So far there has been very little I have not done before.

I have also been to a Cambridge Union debate ("This House would rather warm up the planet than cool down the economy"), at which I tried to speak but only six speakers from the floor are accepted, and to squashes for the College and University Maths societies and the Russian Society. I also had lunch at my Tutor's on Sunday which is over two miles away - a long way in Cambridge.

-- Martin

no comments Tags cambridge, cms, lectures, tripos

Starting at Trinity

Posted by Martin Orr on Tuesday, 04 October 2005 at 17:11

OK, it's ages since I have posted here. I arrived at Trinity College, Cambridge on Saturday. I didn't get my Internet connection until yesterday, and both before and since then I have been very busy. Thanks to Clare and the Bergins for your cards - they are sitting proudly on my mantelpiece.

So far we have had several very packed evenings in the college bar and elsewhere to meet people - there are 210 in the year, including about 40 mathematicians. I also have college parents (two third years) who we met on Sunday evening before the Freshers' Formal. Formal Hall is where you dine in the College Hall (with a giant portrait of Henry VIII at the front) in gowns - some people think it resembles Harry Potter.

On Sunday morning the College Christian Union gave a breakfast where you could find out about the churches members go to. I went to Christ Church, an Anglican church with a fairly modern but simple service. This was good, because it is one of the few times I have spoken to people outside the college. I have also been to the Chaplains' Squash, where all the College societies have stands, and the Freshers' Fair, which is the same thing for the University - we had to queue for 65 minutes for this. This morning I also had a meeting with my Director of Studies.

-- Martin

no comments Tags cambridge, churches, trinity