I discovered whilst googling myself (as one does on occasion - admit it) that I've appeared on Oxfam Great Britain's "run a race for charity" page because of my participation in the adventure 5k The Spartan Race dressed as Princess Leia. Gosh! I didn't think the £245 I raised would attract their attention, given that the other people on the page (a) ran marathons and (b) raised thousands of pounds.
I received my information pack for The Big Bang fair taking place in London on 10-12 March. I'll be judging the Senior level (age 17-19) Physics projects with one of the Cassini scientists from MSSL, Chris Arridge, who is also the project lead on the proposed Uranus Pathfinder mission. (I typed that with a straight face. No really, I did. And if you believe that, I have some lovely property linking Manhattan to another island that you might be interested in purchasing.) I'm looking forward to the fair, which is a UK-wide competition, and always leaves me feeling hopeful about the enthusiasm and talent exhibited by the budding scientists in attendance. It nicely counteracts the feeling I sometimes get after demonstrating in undergraduate laboratories.
One of my favourite postgrads departed for greener pastures at the end of last month. We had been firm friends since the start of my time at Imperial, which neatly coincided with the start of his PhD. Last week I was having a dull, trying day. I dragged myself to the admin office to peer dispiritedly into my pigeonhole. A square brown envelope lay inside it. Out fell a card covered with dense neat handwriting and this binary pendant by scultor Bathsheba. From the doldrums, I rose to the dizzying heights of geek merch paradise that are attained only by first sightings of such wonders as XKCD t-shirts and mathsy pocket watches or the prospect of dining on fish fingers and custard. OK, maybe not that last one.