Martin's Blog

End of term

Posted by Martin Orr on Sunday, 16 March 2008 at 13:55

Term has finished now, and I am going home to Belfast tomorrow. I took fewer courses this term than last term, in order to have more time. Together with stepping down as TCMS President, this seems to have worked, although in the past few weeks the maths we have been doing has got much harder.

In the past week (plus a few days), I have been to three very different musicals: Kiss Me Kate by Clare College Music Society (with Mary-Ellen in the leading role), Me and My Girl in Magdalene (directed by Maria, a maths friend) and Into the Woods at the ADC. They were all pretty good. Last night there was a TCMS concert in Chapel, featuring the chapel choir singing English choral music, and then the chapel choir joined with the Trinity Singers (TCMS' big non-audition chorus) to sing Stanfords' Te Deum and Parry's I was Glad, all directed by Stephen Layton. It was a great success, and the Singers enjoyed working with Stephen and the chapel choir.

I have also been to three formal dinners: last Sunday in Trinity for someone's birthday, on Monday in Pembroke with a group of people who bought Trinity Ball tickets for Pembroke mathmos, and on Friday it was the commemoration dinner in Trinity (a grand dinner to which Scholars are invited, at which all the people who have given money to the college are remembered, starting with Edward II in 1317).

2 comments Tags cambridge, musicals, tcms

Society websites

Posted by Martin Orr on Tuesday, 04 March 2008 at 20:50

The world is full of unfinished websites (in particular, the world of Cambridge societies, but I am sure it applies elsewhere too). The Archimedeans have had a new design (for the same content) for about three years, but it has never been officially adopted. The person who made it left the Society a couple of years ago, but intended to finish it off (although I don't know what still needs to be done); since he has now left Cambridge, presumably it will be forgotten.

For TCMS, our IT officer, who developed the current website, graduated a few years ago, but continued as the society's IT officer. He runs a small software consulting business, and the website is hosted on their server. This has worked OK, but has always meant inconvenience every time a change has to be made, and noone has ever completed some of the missing features of the site. Jon resigned last year, and I have now taken over responsibility for the website. I have been working on a new site, as the current arrangement remains inconvenient for both Jon and us.

I chose not to remain on the TCMS committee because after two years, I have done my bit of feeling responsible when the society fails and of practical help at concerts, and so that I don't either become frustrated or step on people's toes if things are done differently from what I would do. I fear that this puts me into the position that I regard as the problem in the cases above: developing a new website for the society, without otherwise being involved. Nevertheless, as the person who knows what is going on now, I think it is the best arrangement.

4 comments Tags archimedeans, tcms, website

Lent 2008

Posted by Martin Orr on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 at 17:09

Well it seems I have let it go for ages without posting anything. It is now week 5, which means we are just over half way through down. This term I am just doing four courses, because I didn't want to work as hard as I had to for last year's six courses.

The courses are: Algebraic Topology (using algebraic techniques to show that different types of object cannot be deformed into each other), Set Theory and Logic (formalising logic and the foundations of mathematics), Geometry and Groups (symmetries in normal 2 and 3 dimensional space, and the more exotic world of hyperbolic space - lots of this appears in Escher's pictures) and Number Fields (how concepts like prime numbers generalise to bigger sets of numbers than the usual integers). It becomes increasingly difficult to give one sentence descriptions of the courses as they build up on top of earlier concepts (e.g. topological spaces).

Last week I just stepped down as President of the Music Society. It was fun and I learnt a lot from it, but it was also hard work and I am quite relieved to give it up. I am confident that Vicky and the new committee will do a very good job. I have also recently become Treasurer of the Cambridge Lindy Hoppers.

no comments Tags lindy, tcms, tripos

A general overview

Posted by Martin Orr on Tuesday, 17 October 2006 at 20:29

Two weeks into term, here's a bit of what I'm doing. The courses I'm doing this term are: Analysis II, Linear Algebra, Methods, Quantum Mechanics and Markov Chains. Of these, Methods is probably the most interesting as it is techniques I know nothing about. Linear Algebra is particularly boring; this is not really a good term for pure courses. I am also going to the lectures for one course on General Linguistics, and this week I will be starting classes in Mandarin Chinese as well as continuing my German classes.

On Thursdays I am singing with the Trinity Singers, the non-audition chorus run by Trinity Singers who are doing Handel's Messiah this term, and doing some of the organisation for that. We appointed a Singers Secretary last week, relieving me of much of that. And on Wednesdays I am going to swing dancing classes. This is nice because it is not just a university organisation although there are quite a lot of students who go. This is also one reason why I like Emmanuel United Reform Church (besides being Protestant and non-Established): there are few students there but well-integrated with the rest of the congregation - hard given the temporary nature of students and the ease for a church of catering to them as a distinct group.

-- Martin

no comments Tags emmanuel, languages, lindy, tcms, tripos

Busy week: TCMS

Posted by Martin Orr on Sunday, 08 October 2006 at 16:43

I have finally got some time to rest after a very busy week. First we had two events to recruit new members for TCMS: the Chaplains' Squash on Sunday night (a small, fast event within the college) and the Societies Fair on Tuesday and Wednesday (a huge university-wide event). Finding people to run the stalls was hard; our new Director of Music also decided to hold a party to meet college musicians at the same time, and our committee had to put in a good appearance at that.

Said Director, Stephen Layton, is a fairly significant international conductor, so why he chose to come to Trinity I don't really know. But while his primary responsibility is for the College choir, he seems very enthusiastic about getting all sorts of students involved in playing music. This looks like an exciting future for TCMS, although this term things don't look so good: we don't have a huge number of concerts lined up, and the termcard still isn't finalised (but that is always late). We did manage to appoint directors for the Trinity Singers and Players this week (our non-audition chorus and orchestra), and the Singers have already begun rehearsing Handel's Messiah.

-- Martin

no comments Tags tcms, trinity

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