After weeks of online SuperTuxKart championships, it was time for the PhD members of the SPIKE research group to race in real life. On Sunday, 8 March, 2020 (just before a pandemic took over the world), SPIKE members enjoyed an eventful evening of go karting followed by a group dinner.
The evening was a chance to help foster the team spirit of the research group, and enable collaboration that goes beyond the day to day activities of each member’s individual research journey. As one PhD student put it:
“Karting was an unequalled experience: the wind on my face, the speed making the kart almost fly… It would have been that, if I had not worn a helmet, and I had not driven as slow as a stroll in the park (cit.).
For the post-grad Women in Physics Christmas social we organized an ice skating outing to the rink at the Natural History Museum. This event was also open to PG women in Computing, as we hope to run many events together in the future. The group was a mix of physics, maths and computing students and we had a mixture of all years of students and a couple of post docs. This was the first event combining the two departments. We all met and introduced ourselves in the Physics Department before walking over to the Natural History Museum together. Within the group there were a few girls who have never ice skated before and the rest of us have been at least a few times before.
Did you ever wonder what most of PhD students at the College have in common? They need to compute to finish their degree. The task can be as simple as a quick data analysis or as complex as creating a new software package. Did you also know that most of the students arrive with a minimal background in computing? A lot of them find themselves in a “sink or swim” situation. After experiencing this ourselves, we decided that we don’t want others to suffer the same fate and make the same mistakes. To bring the issue into the spotlight, we decided to organise a Fair that featured exhibits dedicated to essential computing skills that every student should know before they attempt to “swim”.