Archive for December, 2006

It turns out that there aren’t too many students around Cambridge during the Christmas break*. My curiosity has correspondingly shifted towards the flora rather than the fauna of the area, and I’ve recently been fascinated by a type of tree that is common on the western part of the city. *-by the way, it really […]


Not that Cambridge really needs any more Americans, but… Last post I wrote about differences between the US and UK postgraduate programs as a surreptitious way to post video clips from The Simpsons. This time I’m going to write about differences between the US and UK (particularly Cambridge mathematics) undergraduate programs as a blatant way […]


Recently the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy has increased the length of its PhD programme to 4 years. Previously the PhD only required three years, though this commonly spilled over to 3.5 years. Additionally, typical UK undergraduate degrees are 3 years–though there appear to be options for fourth year honours degrees. By comparison, US undergraduate degrees […]


Some advice from another American expat: For the record “screwing around” has an entirely different meaning here. Do NOT say you’ve spent the day screwing around in your office. The correct term, is ‘faff.’ Good to know!


News from the arXiv: the identification format that has been used for preprints since 1991 is being upgraded! The old scheme included the archive (e.g. hep-ph), year/month of pre-publication, and a three digit identification number. For example: ¬†astro-ph/0302209 This refers to an astrophysics paper (astro-ph) published in February of 2003 (0302). It was the 209th […]


Earlier I nominated David Tong for ‘physics stud of the year,’ but it seems like Dr. Tong has an engineering student counterpart. From this month’s Symmetry Magazine, SLAC summer student Ryan Auer put together a SLAC-themed performance of Takin’ Care of Business for SLAC’s annual Family Day. The video is available via SLAC, it certainly […]


Nestled about three miles West of Cambridge is a small American Cemetary dedicated to Americans who died in the Battle of the Atlantic or during the air bombardment of Northwest Europe. Image from the AMBC. I went to go visit this morning, perhaps idly looking for perspective on my own position as an American studying […]