Disturbing the Universe

David L Clements, science and science fiction


What is physics like? This Must be Paradise

It’s the start of a new academic year here at Imperial, so this is a good time to share this video, made by our Artist in residence Geraldine Cox, of five final year female UGs from the physics department here. One of the comments that’s not in the film is that they thought their time being physics UGs at Imperial was the best time in their lives.

I hope our new class of undergraduates feels the same at the end of their course.

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Fame and Fortune

I am published, once again!

This time it’s a reprint of a story, printed in Phoenix, the arts magazine of Imperial College, and given away free with this week’s copy of the student newspaper Felix. As well as reprinting a story of mine, they also print an interview with me – my first author interview! – and use some photos of and by me to illustrate both the interview and for the cover of magazine. So you could say I’m all over it (whether this is good or bad I will leave up to the reader).

Phoenix has a long and illustrious history, founded by H G Wells in 1887 and published since then. It’s rather humbling to share such company.

You can see the current issue of Phoenix here, as part of today’s Felix:



The Alphabet Soup of Degrees

The ability to add letters after your name as a result of academic qualifications can lead to some strange things. Peter Coles notes that recent changes at Sussex University, renaming their doctoral degree as a PdD instead of a DPhil, mean that someone with an MA and a doctorate from there can no longer write MADPhil after their name. And those who are Fellows of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS) can get a rapid promotion by choosing the right mix of font sizes so they can become FRS by writing the A very small.

This all reminds me that Imperial still, as far as I’m aware, continue the tradition of adding their own unique qualifications to standards degrees despite leaving the University of London and awarding its own degrees. Those graduating with a first degree in physics, for example, still become Associates of the Royal College of Science, and those getting a higher degree, gain the Diploma of Imperial College.

I did both, so can thus claim to have both an ARCS and a DIC.