Guest

For more 15 years I taught the level 3 Physics of Stars course at Surrey, because of my lifelong amateur interest in astronomy. This was kindled because my father, Paul Murdin, is an astronomer. Some of the best memories I have from childhood are of going with him to observatories, either looking up at the glorious colours of the night sky from the top of La Palma, or inside playing my first computer game (a Star Trek game that in 1978 involving typing instructions to fire photon torpedoes on punched cards, feeding them into the reader and waiting for a the punched response card telling me if I hit the Klingons).

Paul is famous because he discovered the first stellar black hole, Cygnus X1. All confirmed black holes are at galactic centres, and confirmation that Cygnus X1 is also a black hole was the subject of a famous bet between Kip Thorne and Stephen Hawking (they have now agreed that it really is a black hole).

Continue reading »

Posted in Life in the Department | Comments Off

From Weds to Friday last week I visited Ghana to do some volunteering in the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana.  I taught some medical statistics as well as grant writing skills to the attendees of the 2nd Annual HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C Conference, which was being held in Kumasi.

The aim of the conference was to improve the knowledge of the clinical and scientific staff about the diagnosis and treatment of co-infection by HIV and the liver disease hepatitis. A specific purpose of this Royal Society funded meeting was to build capacity for local research programmes to determine the prevalence of  liver disease, and of risk factors, such as which HIV treatments improve or worsen the hepatitis, and by how much.

At the same time as the conference, a group from the universities of Liverpool, Middlesbrough and University College London, led by Prof Anna Maria Geretti, were making a study of liver disease in coinfected patients at the hospital, doing liver fibrosis scans and virological blood tests. I was involved in the taking of data from the ultrasound fibrosis scans, and sorting blood samples in the lab. Over 150 patients visited during the week, and 50 health workers from across west Africa came together for the conference.

Continue reading »

Posted in General, Life in the Department | Comments Off

Cyclone Catarina from the ISS on March 26 2004If you had asked me in 2002, when I was a physics undergraduate at the University of Surrey, where I saw myself in 10 years, I almost certainly wouldn’t have said the London School of Economics! But that’s exactly where you can find me today.

Continue reading »

Posted in Life in the Department | 1 Comment

Hi, I’m Sarah, a fresher here at the University of Surrey and I must admit I’ve been rewriting this post quite a bit… I was asked to write about life as a first year undergraduate and as always, I’ve been suffering from writer’s block. Truth is; I don’t know how to say how much I love being here without being cheesy. I’m sure if you’re applying to us, and I strongly suggest you do, you’ve already seen the prospectus with all the smiling faces and statistics, but I remember how hard it is to really get a feel for what it’s like to live and study here.

Continue reading »

Posted in Life in the Department | Comments Off

Sterling Memorial Library 2, September 1, 2008So, I think this might count as procrastination from writing up my dissertation for the MPhys Research Year, but never mind…
Continue reading »

Posted in Interesting Physics, Life in the Department | Comments Off