Friday, 22 May 2015

Exam time

So it is once again time for exams. Actually this semester I only have one exam (for Gravitation and Cosmology), but I do have a ton of assignments that I'm buried under at the same time. This means posts are a little less frequent, sorry about that! My exam is on the 29th of May, which means after that I'm more or less free for the summer (barring leftover assignments that will still need done). The almost 3 month summer is definitely a benefit of studying in Uppsala!

With June almost around the corner, the evenings are starting to get lighter again. It's definitely still light outside at 10pm by now, so soon it'll be hard to get to sleep on time! When you're looking for housing in Uppsala, good quality blinds or curtains are a big bonus if you can find them. As for me, I'm thinking about making some sort of curtain out of duct tape. Well, if I ever find the time!

This is also around the time when people are thinking about what to do next year: projects, summer work, etc. I got two pretty interesting emails in this vein this week. One was a reminder that the physics department are starting an exchange program with São Paulo, which would be a very cool opportunity for a semester abroad! The other was about Nordita's Master Class 2015. Nordita, the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics, are putting on a series of lectures on theoretical physics this August that are specifically aimed at master students. The dates clash with my family holiday this summer, but it would be an interesting chance for incoming theory students to get some "hands-on" experience experience before the program begins! 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Valborg and bike theft

So yesterday was Valborg (aka Walpurgis Eve, aka Sista April) here in Sweden. As it turns out, this is a pretty big deal here in Uppsala. So much so that people come from Stockholm to join in the celebrations! Apparently the actual holiday has to do with saying goodbye to the winter and welcoming in the spring, but realistically it's just an excuse to have a huge party all across the city.

One of the big events of the day is the river rafting. Teams of about 3-5 people make rafts out of Styrofoam and ride on them in front of as many spectators as can fit along the river. There is a big rush in the morning to get a spot near one of the little waterfalls, where many rafts capsize. All of the rafts were built outside Ångström the week before which was an event in itself: there were big party tents set up with a temporary pub and other activities surrounding the building of the rafts. For the big event there were also stalls all along the river selling food, balloons, sunglasses, and all sorts of other things.

A Game of Thrones themed raft sailing on the river