Posted by: annmucc | March 18, 2009

Sleep, Oxford, IR and Imaging

The 3 words in the title just about sum up my day today.

How? Here’s how…

Like yesterday, I woke up early AGAIN (5:45am anyone?!). However, having learnt my lesson from yesterday, I only spent around 30mins trying to get some more rest. Then I was out of my bed, and on to getting ready.

Why so early? Well…today I had a mission! I was going to Oxford! Not for a day trip..but for some uni-related work (sounds important doesn’t it? ;)). Originally I had been planning to leave around 7:30 from home and get the 8am bus to Oxford, but as it worked out I got the 7am bus to Oxford and got there around 9am. From Oxford I then had to get a bus at 9:55am to the place I wanted to go to (on the outskirts of Oxford – around 15mins bus ride away), so I now had 1hour or so to go round Oxford! I had originally planned to do this after the day was over as a sort of ‘treat’, but in the eventuality I am glad I did it this way! So I had an hour or so in the morning sun to go round the main sights of Oxford (I was wise enough for once yesterday in the midst of my misery to print a map of Oxford) and take photos (YES! I ACTUALLY took some photos…hope to post them sometime soon).ย 

Soon however it was time to get the bus S3 to make my way to Varian where a workshop on IR Imaging was going to be held. My supervisor had sent me an e-mail asking if I was interested in going. As per my standard response to everything, I said yes ๐Ÿ˜‰ (I really am interested in most things, but this could be relevant to what I want to do, so of course I was interested). So I got the bus, stopped at the right bus stop, and luckily found the building very easily. I got in, and one of the guys greets me, and asks me where I am from…I say UCL, and the person he was talking to at the moment I entered was also from UCL! WOW! We were only around 8-10 people there and from these we were 3 from UCL, and also one from Tate, so we were also 2 from the heritage field.ย 


Principles of FT-IR Imaging

Principles of FT-IR Imaging

First up the day started with some talks, first by John Wilson, a company representative, who talked a bit how we got to Imaging from other techniques. Next up was a guy from Manchester University, where they are using Imaging techniques to analyse biopsies for prostate cancer (highly interesting), and last a talk by another company respresntative, discussing applications.ย 

After the lectures it was then time for lunch…woohoo!!…I had taken some lunch with me (was not sure what to expect and did not want to end up hungry with nowhere to get food from), but food in the form of small sandiwches and other stuff was provided…it was enough, particularly in my current state of still not eating a lot following the weekend.ย 

The next part however was the most interesting part…or the proof of the pudding as some would say…it was the part where they showed us how the equipment worked and to try it out on our samples. First off they started analysing some kidney samples from the other UCL guys. This took quite some time. This was interspersed with a sample of some powder on steel (which did not work very well), followed by more kidney samples (the other UCL guys seem to be closest to buying the equipment if anyone at all, so of course they were given a lot of importance).ย 

My samples were the last to be analysed! Why? Well, I needed to use another format of the equipment from the others since I had a larger sample size, so it didn’t make much sense to change everything for me and then have to put it back as it was for someone else. This however meant that I had to wait till the end. We took an image, but nothing much appeared besides gelatine on my sample. That’s what I was expecting…however I left my sample there, and they will try to work on it more and send me their results, as well as work on some cross-sections (it is in their interest that the equipment gives me decent results, as only then may we consider it ๐Ÿ˜‰ – so hopefully the technique can yield some answers and they try hard enough to find them!).

By the time my samples were run it was around 5:30! So I made my way back to the bus stop, got the S3 back to the centre, and from there got on the bus back to London. I had originally planned to see some of London before I left, but I decided I should make my way home to hopefully get back before 8 (I arrived at the residence at 8:05, so that’s OK :)). On the bus I also met some interesting people: A girl called Jasmine who works as an editor of Children’s books at Oxford University Press, and another lady who works in international development and NGOs but somewhere high up in the scheme of things. It was highly interesting to talk and to find interconnecting ways of our interests being linked very closely indeed, even if not apparently so at first.ย 

Now I’m back home…good day which I enjoyed, and found relaxing being away from my normal things. Really needed it after the apst few days, especially yesterday!



  1. When I was on holidays in China once, I woke up at 5 am in the morning for no reason whatsoever and couldn’t get back to sleep. so I picked up my camera and decided to take some early morning pictures of the town we were staying in. I ended up feeling really good that I woke up early for a change.

    Since you enjoyed your early morning this time round, maybe you should always wake up at 5:45 am in the future. hehehee…

  2. @ Grace: Uhhhh Grace! Why haven’t I ever thought about it before? ๐Ÿ˜› Well…but I have realised that if I DO wake up early I should get out of bed then, rather than stay in bed and anyways be exhausted throughout the rest of the day
    I am happy to say that AT LAST I am now back to normal sleeping, having slept for around 8 hours last night and woken up by the alarm for once at 7:45! I’m happy for that ๐Ÿ™‚

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