Posted by: annmucc | January 30, 2009


I have already spoken about the Skills Development Programme, where I have to take the equivalent of 10 days (or 20 credits) of lectures besides my PhD (e.g. the Reading for a PhD Course). Well, today I continued on my quest to reach my 20 credit target (or actually 60 over 3 years). And of course, since this is me we’re talking about, it had to be done in a spectacular(ly daft?) way 🙂 Why? Well…from having practically no lectures ever during the past months, today I had 5 hours straight of lectures (with one hour of them actually with overlapping lectures!), and of course this involved running back and forth between buildings (why make it easy on myself?)

First up, ages ago, I had registered for the ‘Design of Experiments’ course, which made up part of the Statistics for Researchers series of lectures. I had been reading a lot about the subject, trying to decide upon an experimental design for my project. However, I thought it would make sense to, besides it just being me hitting my head against books, I attend this course, seeing as it was being offered.

This was first on the list…12-2pm. It was actually good to hear someone else say the content I had been reading up about. Nothing really new was said, but it helped connect the ideas better in a coherent way, allowing me to think more about how what I was hearing and had read could apply to my project. More importantly, though, I could ask questions to clarify issues!

Following that? More statistics! At the beginning of January, I had gone to meet Prof Tom Fearn in the statistics department (just down the corridor from my office actually ;)) to discuss experimental design and the application of NIR, which he knows a lot about (he was the lecturer for the Design of Experiments course as well). During the first meeting, hwoever, he had mentioned a software programme I could use for experimental design called Minitab, and he said he’d invite me over to the tutorials when he will use it. Yesterday or so, then, I received an e-mail from him telling me that the first tutorial would be held today, 2-4. Great! Oh well, I will run from the first statistics lecture to this one (I won’t be late anyways, as the lecturer would be the same :P). Unfortunately, though, I had to leave when he was getting on to the Minitab part! Why?

Well, 3-5 I then had  MATLAB course, called DIY with MATLAB for the computer-shy scientist. I am not particularly shy, but this was the only MATLAB course I could find, so , seeing as I had never used (or even seen!) MATLAB, it wouldn’t harm me to go :). So at 3pm I rushed over to Senate House where this lecture was going to be held. Well, the title DID say it was for the computer-shy scientist, but I didn’t expect that we would also be thought about folders and how to find folders etc :P. Oh well, at least it was a really basic MATLAB class, managing to introduce me to the basic concepts of how MATLAB work, and then went on to get just a bit more complex at the end. I must say, I am still not sure WHY one should use MATLAB (at least from what we did today), but I look forward to my next lecture next week (Yes! Cecilia and mum will be here, but I will still have DoE 12-2, and luckily MATLAB has been moved 2-4).

I must say that after 5 hrs of elctures, I was glad they were over. However, I had another appointment then! Meeting Ethel 🙂 Ethel is another Maltese girl in London, living in this student resident very close to my office, so I though it would be good to go over and see the place, to hopefully go live there when my current contract runs out. What do I think of the place? Well, the furniture etc. looks older than at my current place, and also the rooms are MUCH smaller, besides the fact that here, not even girls can stay over, let alone boys! However, on the other hand, it is very close to the office (maybe a 3minute walk?), cheaper than my current place, and also I cannot stay at my residence next year ;). We’ll see. I’m considering it I might say, due to the positives, but will have to think of everything. Will keep you posted!

Now I’m back home, just put in a load into the washing machine, and telling you about my day till the wash is over 🙂

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