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Reflections on 2018 NPU QMUL Summer School(9)

                                            Quality Time in London

The two-week 2018 NPU-QMUL Summer Camp has ended in cheerful laughter. Looking back on these days, we all feel really fortunate to attend this program. And now, we have gained independent survival skills in London, tolerance to other cultures, teamwork spirit with workmates and the keen interest in exploring the novel and creative things.

The Camp is located on the main campus of QMUL, with famous street bazaars, restaurants, city parks and modern art galleries all around. The dormitory also surprised students: a single room with a separate bathroom, a public kitchen shared among six students with an oven and microwave ovens, and a few frying pans that were specially bought for us. Across the street, we can buy pizza, marinated steak, salmon steak, and English breakfast with our friends.

In these two weeks, we have also gained a lot of latest information in our fields through the lectures. Nanomaterials made of lighter weight, stronger hardness, longer life, lower maintenance costs, more convenient to design are presented in front of our eyes. They can also be used to produce materials with specific properties or materials that do not exist in nature, as well as biomimetic materials.

We made many interesting experiments in the laboratory in these two weeks. We explored how to make good chocolate. Four different samples were made in order. They are black chocolate with reheating and without reheating, milk chocolate with reheating and without reheating. It was difficult to cool down the heated chocolate to a certain temperature. The heating and cooling process was a little boring, but stirring the liquid chocolate and doing experiments with chocolate was quite interesting.

We spent a whole day doing table tidy and holding air vehicle competition. It was the first time that we had done a table tide by ourselves. The whole process, including measuring the distances, marking the centres, cutting the corners, drilling the holes, and heating the board to form certain angles, was challengeable but fantastic.

In the air vehicle part, we analyzed the situation wrongly which resulted in imperfect. When we saw the small fans, we decided to apply the wind power instantaneously but not continuously. Thus, the tires of our vehicle were designed to slide instead of rolling on the plane, which are different from other groups. However, we underestimated the wind power of the small fans. Although they had low intensity, the wind could go across quite a long way. It was a pity that the vehicle of our group was beautiful and slid over a long distance with high-intensity wind, but we did not achieve a satisfying result in the competition. Anyway, we cooperated and worked hard for the same aim. They were quite attractive activities.

 

As students in materials science, these courses have benefited us greatly, stimulated our interest in science, and are full of implications for further courses in a certain field of materials science.

Besides academic activities, we also experienced the city and life of London in groups. There is nothing better than travelling some tourist attractions if we would like to know about a city. Hence, we have been to the tower bridge and Big Ben, two of the most popular spots. On top of that, we are convinced that the best way to view the whole London is getting on the London Eye, which has always been on our bucket list.

In light of this, we spent a whole afternoon to make it come true. While we were at the top of the sky wheel, the spectacular London came into view. At that moment I felt like I was in heaven. All the modern architecture and the classical architecture were set up along the river, the amazing mixture of the old and the new right up my alley. After we took a general glance of London, we decided to take a closer look.

Later, we headed for Saint Paul’s Cathedral on Sunday. What surprised me most was the anthem sing by the Catholic. The song, for the Catholic, is an indispensable part of their lives, for me, a non-religious, is full of reverence. Both the tonal variation and the volume adjustment make the anthem a tremendous design from an aesthetic perspective.

As QMES students, we are also attracted by famous universities in and outside London City, like Cambridge and the Imperial College London. We visited Cambridge during our stay in Britain. That day, we rent a boat with another group, sightseeing along the river, with historical buildings and bridges passing by. Both the elegance and the power of buildings and history deeply touched us.

During our boat travel, a group of ducks followed us all the way; it couldn't better. Actually, it is a common scene in Cambridge. Furthermore, all kinds of museums were built in Cambridge. We happened to step into a palaeozoic museum where a huge fossil of dinosaurs impressed us greatly. It was really a compelling experience for us as we had never seen any fossils like that before.

After boating, we walked along the street and finally found a Chinese restaurant called “TiantianCanteen”, the most popular restaurant in Cambridge. There was a dish called “Hawking Potato”, whose name came from the anecdote that Hawking had once eaten it, and he was just crazy about it. The restaurant was really nice.

In sum, this is really an impressive summer school. By visiting lots of fantastic attractions and learning to cope with academic difficulties together, we have become even closer workmates and friends.

By Ding Mingxuan, Kang Bochun, Li Hang, He Yizhuo, Yu Xinyu