Fascinatin' Rhythm

May 17, 2010

As I look back, it seems like only yesterday

Visited Nottingham Uni for an alumni event on Saturday.  It is such a long time since I visited, but I got the idea (and the invitation) from another event run in London a few weeks ago, held at the Royal Society.

This event was different, in that it was a showcase of projects helped by alumni donations, and a campus tour.  But I got there early, and took the opportunity to walk round the campus.  My heart ached with the memories, it was such a joy to be wandering round the old place again.  A lovely summer day helped show off the setting to its greatest advantage, but I’ll always remember it in autumn at the start of the new academic year, with the leaves on the trees around the downs turning a brilliant crimson.  The lawns of Highfield park set off the lake beautifully on Saturday though, and the rebuilt back of the Portland building is majestic, stunningly fitted into its environment.

We were first given a short talk by the vice-chancellor, and then a series of small expository lectures and demonstrations.  First up was Musicality, the student musical theatre society, performing a medley of numbers from their recent production of ‘The Pyjama Game’.  Some excellent voices, great acting, and you could tell the performers loved the material.  Talking to them afterwards, they made it clear that for them, it was an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with a show they loved, as their performance run had ended in March.  A great beginning.

Next up was qActive, a group set up by students and staff at the QMC medical school to encourage medical students to ‘practice what they preach’ in living healthy lifestyles.  Along with a quick yoga class (most of the Sun Salutation), the speaker talked about how it had encouraged staff of the QMC and students to come together for activities including nordic walking, yoga, and the use of the QMC activities room (formerly the smoking room!).   Most encouraging, and some ideas that I may take into my own workplace.

Next up was a demonstration from the Chemistry department, including a reprise of some of the experiments from their award-winning website A Periodic Table of Videos.  Most bizzare to grab a load of soap suds formed from dry ice and have them burst in a cloud of fog.  Great, hands -on chemistry — and they have quite a following on Youtube!

This was followed by a tour of the campus, pointing out new features.  And then a quick trip to the new Kings Meadow campus, 5 years old and home to the university’s admin services.  Lovely building, and here we also got a chance to tour and speak to students involved in a project from the architecture department: an entry into the Solar Decathlon Europe competition.  Great to talk to the students and see their enthusiasm and commitment to the project (which, admittedly, will take them to Madrid for a month in the summer).

Loved the visit.  Was much too short, and I left with such a bittersweet feeling.  I had a fantastic time at Nottingham, and the memories are so clear and fresh.  I would live and work there in a heartbeat.  Am hugely looking forward to getting involved as an industry mentor for final year CS students in the coming academic year, and possibly even going to speak to them as an industry representative.  Who knows, I may even do some recruiting 😉

The post title is from a great song by Beverly Craven, called In Those Days.  Really sums up for me the feelings I still have for Nottingham.  Ah, nostalgia.


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