18. November 2014 Tereza Kroupová

Third time lucky

The first term of the new academic year is half over and the Christmas lights on Oxford Street were switched on more than a week ago. It surprises me especially when I walk to university, because the weather here in London does not look like winter is supposed to come at all.

After the traditional and exhausting October flathunt, I found a room in a good flat close to Regent's Park. I can walk to uni in 45 minutes, which is a great change after two years of hour-long train travelling. I must admit that living in London in zone one has an amazing spirit. Everything in centre is relatively near, so it hardly feels like living in an 8 million city.

Third year at UCL seems to be a bit harder than the previous ones. It appears to me partly because I spent two full days a week in a laboratory,  where I started to work this year. It is an UCL laboratory focused on laser cooling. The current main aim there is cooling down of rubidium atoms to temperatures close to absolute zero and obtaining the Bose-Einstein condensate, special state of matter in very low temperatures.

I am working on independent project with a new caesium laser. Right now, I am trying to build an amplifying system for it, so the laser can then be used in a long-term project of cooling down caesium atoms. Work on a starting project is very beneficial and exciting for me as I have the chance to build and adjust everything from scratch. Although I nearly do not lay the screw driver aside (due to unexpected problems ranging from broken laser diode to non-functional label maker) and the work progress quite slowly, I can properly understand every detail in the experiment.

Second reason why this year is harder for me is tremendous amount of essays I have to hand in for my biology modules and writing of my literature project. I know, expressing thoughts in text is crucial skill. So even though I do not particularly enjoy writing, I take it as necessary and I hope, I can soon become more efficient in it. Furthermore, struggle with essay is compensated by very interesting lectures, which are this year delivered by various lecturers and are usually covering topics of their current research.

In the rest of my free time I still go running and to the gym. After few months break I also started to dance again. Although do this hobby only fitfully now, I always assure myself again about how important it is for me. In combination with physics, I than have everything I need to be happy and hand all the essays.

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