Hello! My plan is to restrain myself from etching down every single event that has occurred in the last 7 weeks since I arrived so, instead, I’m just going to talk about my time as a Natural Sciences student specifically!
At York, NatSci students come in many forms: you’ll find them specifying themselves as nanoscientists or neuroscientists or biophysicists but they’re all here just because they like the bits in between the sciences. I don’t actually have a fancy name to call myself like that because I’m on the Chemistry-Maths-Physics course and CMPists just isn’t going to catch on, but I still like science at the boundaries like the others. If you have any questions about a specific stream then leave a comment and I can get a friend from the stream to answer it for you!
The Home: Natural Sciences Hub
One of the greatest things about doing Natural Sciences at York is having this awesome space which we’ve already done so much with.
It started out as just the place where we came to have our weekly Natural Sciences hour with free Domino’s pizza (which is praised by all when Ali walks in with it on Thursday afternoons). It’s here we listen to speakers that Roddy Vann (Programme Director) has invited along (we’ve had people talk about their research at the nanocentre, careers in scientific law, and research in using plasmas for medical applications including cancer treatment).
Since then we meet up there to grab as much coffee or tea as we like and go through problems together; Chris ended up staying there pretty late one night doing some tutorial questions:
There also happen to be two very nice, large projector screens at the front which we’ve commandeered for 2 movie evenings as well as for creating the perfect study space by playing 3 hour long videos of bison grazing, of waves swashing against a beach or of a crackling fire whilst playing focusing music as we work:
The hub also witnessed the first events that the official NatSci Society held: games & pizza evening and the Natural Sciences bar crawl (as part of Quadrasci: Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology all going out, each with their own colour and sequence of bars).
The Work: First Term of the Course
When I was looking round universities I often just wanted to know what normal days (which I assumed weren’t much like open days) were like. So, if you want to know too then I’ll just tell you!
As part of the Chemistry-Maths-Physics pathway (which has been identical to Nanoscience for this term), we have our own Mathematics for Sciences course which is taught to us in the seminar room as part of the Natural Sciences hub. It is run by the mathematics department but it is unlike the other subjects I take because the people in our small class of 18 are all Natural Scientists with a mathematics component. These classes have started off as briefly recapping on A level and then teaching bits of further mathematics (which I have done but others haven’t) but going beyond that too, meaning everybody has met new things as well as revising things from before.
The ‘Chemistry’ aspect means you’ll get to do lots of chemistry in the first term with four all-day labs (two are assessed) and many different lecture courses and workshops and tutorials and all sorts of things to learn (many of which have included physics for me). Majority of the time is spent going to the lectures in Hendrix Hall and answering the questions for tutorials or workshops on the whole!
If you haven’t come up and visited the chemistry labs here you really should! They are outstandingly new and everything is very satisfyingly organised and it’s so great having the bits you need prepared and near to you and there is always plenty of all of the solutions. There is not much more you could ask for from a teaching lab.
The ‘Physics’ part is small for the first term as we get just one or two weekly problems (and a biweekly problem classes) for one term-long lecture course on Heat and Matter but Laurence Wilson teaches it and is my favourite lecturer and teaches it really well! It all truly kicks off next term for physics, since we’ll have a lot of maths under our belt they’re giving us lots more of it!
Little bits of info: contact hours range from 20-28 per week if that is an interesting figure to you! Something I found cool is that the three departments of my pathway each gave me brand new textbooks when I arrived! I think it’s the way to go but lots of courses rely on you buying your own. A final little thing is that despite the course consisting of three or more subjects there is still plenty of spare time to pursue any sports or hobbies that you like; you don’t have piles of reading to get through so there is little holding you back! Everyone here does lots of things such as play in sports clubs like badminton, hockey and tennis. I have seen my friend Megan perform in a play as part of the Gilbert and Sullivan society and Alexander tells me about how cool medieval society is which he’s joined… there’s lots to do, and the course won’t stop you!
I hope this all gives you a nice little insight to what it’s like studying Natural Sciences at York!