Last week, three of the department’s most distinguished academics and beloved lecturers shared their thoughts on the life of a first-year physics student at York. This week, as promised, we bring you three more.

Dr Emily Brunsden — Head of Student Liaison, Astrocampus Director

Welcome all- it so great to have you in the department! I am an astrophysicist with lots of involvement in the year one programme. I am teaching both Mapping the Universe and Optics and I look after the Astrophysics project as part of the lab. For Physfest you will all get to come and share my favourite place on campus- Astrocampus! (O.K. I may be biased as I run the site- but it is a fabulous facility!).

Another important job I have is titled ‘Head of Student Liaison’. What it really means is I have a lot of contact with you guys about your experiences of the department. Part of this is the Staff-Student Committee. This is a group of representatives from each year and the year tutors that meet and discuss how things are going and if any improvements could be made. It is a great group and I really like working with the reps.

So here is my chance to plug the role of the reps. I know you won’t know each other very well when you first arrive but you have a couple of weeks to nominate and select two people to represent your year group. It is a good way to meet lots of staff and students of different years and get involved in activities in the department. We will give you more info when you arrive but you might want to think about if this is something you would like to do.

Otherwise I hope you packed everything and are ready to have a great first year in our busy community of physics-lovers!


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We already shared students’ memories of their first year at York. Now, PhysSoc has asked some of the department’s most beloved lecturers to share some thoughts from their perspective.

Prof. Sarah Thompson — Head of Department

Welcome to our new students! The ‘big day’ is nearly here – at last – and you will soon be experiencing the excitement of your first few days at university! The staff are also looking forward to experiencing the buzz of activity and new faces that accompanies the start of a new academic year – it’s far too quiet without you here…

So what can you expect in the first few weeks? It will be a whirlwind – of meeting people – College mates, STYCS, your fellow physics students (proud-to-be-geek-land!), physics staff – and many more besides. One of the most important people you will meet will be your personal academic supervisor. S/he will be with you throughout your time as a student and is usually on the other end of the “if in doubt, ask” type of questions. Very soon, sooner than you might think, it will all settle down – you will be immersed in lectures, attending your tutorials with your group of friends and have learnt all the foibles of your lab partner. You will be an old hand before you know it!

We’re looking forward to sharing physics with you and I encourage you to get stuck in, join Physsoc and Astrosoc and enjoy your time with us!


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Hi all. We hope you’re having an amazing summer holiday! In last week’s blog we asked a few students from the department to give us a freewheeling insight into just what they think makes the life of a physics student tick.

This time out we’re taking a closer look at what you can expect from your physics society over the coming year!

The sciences are renowned for being the most sociable of all the subjects at York, and Physics is without a doubt the best of the lot. And I’m not just saying that either! Our socials are the best, our lectures are the best and our students are the best. The department as a whole has a reputation for being one of the friendliest at the university. From undergrads to postgrads to the staff, there’s a positive atmosphere in the department – everyone gets on incredibly well, and it shows!

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