Another week of business as usual: Wake up, go to lectures at DAMTP, go to the office, (maybe) do some teaching/marking in the IB laboratories, go to dinner in college, relax at home in the afternoon, plus football on Tuesday nights.
As far as academic work went, it is time for me to move into a new project. I’m now spending my hours reading through literature on dark matter, working out what we can definitively say is evidence for certain characteristics, and what assumptions we’ve filled in. The fact remains; astrophysics and cosmology are so certain that there is dark matter, but particle physics detects nothing. So where do those break down? That’s what I’m looking into now.
Progress has been made on my paper too. I’ve now submitted it to the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics. It’ll take a while to be reviewed and hopefully there won’t be too many issues, but it is now out of my hands.
There were interesting things that happened during the week of course. On Friday night, the four first year Gates Scholars (myself included) who were at Darwin had invited twelve other Gates Scholars to Formal Hall, the maximum allowance. Of course, there was a special occasion to it: the hall was Halloween themed, but the dressing-up requirements were relaxed somewhat. We met up for pre-drinks downstairs in the parlour, and when the call came to head to the dining space, we tried our best to get sixteen seats on one of the tables but only managed fourteen, so two of us had to sit alone. It was nice to eat with all of the Gates friends, and they were all unexpectedly complimentary about the quality of Darwin formal food compared to other college’s formal dinners. The main meal was a rather decent piece of guinea foul, and dessert was a wonderful butter tart. Afterwards, we all went out to enjoy the Halloween night. I went with a couple of others to Selwyn for a short while, but went home again in time for bed.
The weekend was again filled with football. On Saturday, I refereed a football game at Selwyn against St John’s. This was a Cuppers game, Cambridge terminology for the knockout cup between each of the college’s first teams, as opposed to the League, which is the week-to-week round robin tournament. The game was very tense overall. St John’s started very well, extending to a 4-0 lead by half time, and seemed to have the game sewn up. But in the second half, Selwyn made a comeback. Over the course of the half, they scored 3 unanswered goals, and were attacking dangerously for the last 10 minutes, but didn’t end up scoring. It was a tense half, and I made a few decisions that I would do differently come again, but it ended amicably. I dropped by the Darwin JCR cupper’s game on the way home, played against Corpus Christi. Again, it was a tight game, but Darwin came through 3-2; a very satisfying result.
On Sunday, there were two more games. Firstly, refereeing a game between St John’s and Jesus at St John’s. I really liked the St John’s sports grounds, like I like many of the ones around Cambridge.
It was another even game. Jesus initially started with 10 players, but managed to score first. But St John’s fought back to 2-1 by half time. But late in the game, Jesus brought it back to 2-2, to which St John’s responded for a final 3-2 score.
After that game, I went out to Churchill college for my own game. Churchill has a massive area, and multiple sports grounds on tiered terraces that reminded me of Flinders University back home. I kept goal, but we were outplayed during the first half, and found ourselves 3-1 down at half time. For the second half, we played a lot better, and there was no more score.
On Sunday evening, I went out to the Gates Cambridge Scholar room for the candidate hustings for the 2016 Michelmas elections. A bit of background here: the Gates community has a Council who runs events in the community and maintains the Scholar room. Late on Friday night, I decided to through my name in the ring for the position of internal officer, and I submitted a manifesto with my application. Elections here are done a little differently than I am used to. Normally, I would consider that a social organisation would hold an AGM, with nominations on the night, speeches are made and voting is done position by position, with nominations not opened for the next position until the previous position is elected. Here, nominations are received, and then there are candidate hustings, and then people vote online afterwards. This clearly has advantages (it enlarges the franchise) and disadvantages (people who lose a race for a high-level position can renominate for lower-level positions). So it meant that on Sunday evening, I was in the scholar room, listening to people present their cases one by one, and presented my own. The session was recorded and available online to other Gates Scholars. Running in a competitive election is unusual to me: the last time that I had was 3 years ago when we were starting AUScA and electing a president for the first time. I would be happy with everyone who ran for each position, and choosing someone to vote for is not easy.
As a comment on cultural difference, it occurred to me that for just about everyone who was watching along, it would seem natural that the winner of the election would be decided by First Past the Post, which seems weird to me. Normally, I would default straight to preferential voting, for just about any position that would be nominated for, and going to FPTP seems really strange.
After hustings, I went out with another group of scholars to get dinner. We were an incredibly indecisive group, but eventually settled on burgers/fish and chips/pizza from a small corner deli called The Gardenia. We took it into the King’s College bar and hung out for a little longer, before heading home for the night.