Ready to be inspired? Pint of Science is back!

What do dark matter, synthetic organs, landslides, artificial intelligence, mindfulness and football shirts have in common? They all feature in this years’ Pint of Science Festival in Sheffield, taking place 15-17 May! In this unique 3-day science festival, University of Sheffield researchers and the public will come together in pubs to discuss the latest cutting-edge research being done in our city. Pint of Science originally started off as an idea by a small group of UK researchers who wanted to bring back the personal touch to science and give everyone the chance to meet the real people behind the research. Since the first event in 2012, Pint of Science has grown into an international festival, and this year over 100 cities in 12 different countries will be staging events simultaneously.

Pint of Science will stage talks about amazing science in pubs across Sheffield

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Lincoln – the perfect student getaway!

Whilst Sheffield is a brilliant place to live and study, we can all benefit from an escape once in a while. But if you have done the obvious options – Chatsworth, Bakewell, Castleton, maybe even a foray to York- where else makes a good value, student-friendly day out? For somewhere that ticks all the boxes and absolutely brims with art, history, culture and quirky shops – look to Lincoln! Continue reading

Lights, camera, action! Learn to make videos for free!

Whether you fancy yourself as the next Steven Spielberg or simply enjoy capturing your experiences, making videos is an extraordinarily useful skill. It’s also featuring on University courses more often and even crops up in certain job applications. As I hope to have a career in science communication, knowing how to put together a decent video could give me a valuable edge in an interview. But I simply didn’t know where to start or which software to go for. Thankfully, someone made me aware of the Creative Media Workshops run by the Corporate Information and Computing Services (CiCS) here at the University of Sheffield. Located on Level 4 in the Diamond, this facility boasts a huge range of equipment that students can borrow to make videos, photographs, animations and audio recordings. Even better, they run a regular series of workshops to give you the skills to make the best use of it. And best of all – it’s free! Continue reading

Get MOOR for your money!

It’s a well-known fact that our diets typically take a turn for the worse once we leave home and commence student life. We may very well know what we should be eating – fresh fruit and veg, lean meat and fish, etc.- but the sad truth is that healthy food often comes at a price, especially in the supermarkets. Whereas convenience foods and ‘ready meals’ full of saturated fat, sugar, salt and cholesterol tend to be much cheaper and amenable to the stretched student budget. But eating these sorts of foods regularly can quickly build a foundation for long term health problems, such as diabetes and obesity. So what’s the solution? Continue reading

FameLab – do you have what it takes?!

One of the best things about doing a research PhD at the University of Sheffield is that there are so many opportunities to present your work to the public. And perhaps one of the most exciting is FameLab – an international competition that was originally launched at the Cheltenham Science Festival in 2005. Contestants have just 3 minutes to explain a scientific topic of their choice to a public audience – but here’s the catch: no slides are allowed, or PowerPoint, or audio – in fact, you can only use the props you can carry on stage. And even if you manage that, you then face a 2-minute grilling from the judges.

The scary judging panel!

The scary judging panel!

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Researchers unite! Knit your troubles away…

By the time this blanket is ready, the baby will have graduated from university!

It’s very satisfying to make something entirely by hand. But when it comes to knitting, it seems that I am definitely NOT a natural. However, even though our aim was to make blankets for premature babies at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, the atmosphere here was so friendly that my dismal progress didn’t seem to matter. Continue reading

Discover Longshaw, gateway to the Moor!

In the town where I grew up, £1 on the bus would barely get you to the end of the road, let alone anywhere that looked remotely different. So even after three years of living in Sheffield, it still comes as a surprise just how far you can get on a ‘Student Single’ fare. All the way, in fact, to the Longshaw Estate – an ideal place to introduce yourself to the Peak District and a perfect mini-escape from student life. Continue reading

Foodbanks – a way students can really help local people in need

Like many students, going to University was the first time I really came face to face with homelessness and poverty. It’s difficult to know how to react when we encounter people begging for spare change. Thinking of our warm bed and regular meals makes us want to help, but many organisations advise against simply giving out money: after all, we have no guarantee it will really be used for the food, warmth and shelter that this person needs. Continue reading

Walking the White Peak Way – an adventure every Sheffield Student can do!

Whilst Sheffield is undoubtedly a great place for students to live, we all need an escape every once in a while. But you don’t need to go far for an adventure, as I found out this summer when I hiked the White Peak Way – an 80 mile, 7-day circular walking trail in the Peak District. Even though the travel fare for the trip was only £5, I was in another world – one of dramatic rock formations, stately homes, prehistoric caves, hidden river valleys and constant birdsong.

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Struggling with Statistics? You need MASH! (and I don’t mean potato)

When it comes to statistics, it seems my brain really is like a sieve. During my maths A Level, I never thought I would forget how to do a T-test, make a Chi-squared table or calculate Spearman’s Rank. But as soon as I stopped bashing through stats problems on a regular basis, the knowledge slipped away like shadows in the dawn. Which is quite unfortunate really, as since starting my PhD here at Sheffield, I keep generating piles of data from my experiments. All of which needs careful analysis to make it “thesis-worthy”. I’ve reluctantly come to accept that, for myself at least, statistics is not like riding a bike -a skill which never leaves you. Instead, I was in desperate need of a refresher course. True, you can find countless textbooks and websites, but I found these pretty uninspiring and quickly forgot the techniques. What I really needed was a proper teacher who could put everything into context… Continue reading