Balls, Sunshine and Teaching

Apparently today is World Naked Gardening Day but, although it reminded me for some reason that “Orchid” is derived from the Greek word for testicle, that’s not the reason for the title of this post.

Teaching at Sussex University officially finished yesterday, and by sheer coincidence, last night saw the annual Physics Ball which, was as usual, a very enjoyable occasion.

On my way to the Holiday Inn for the do I saw this group of 4th year students being photographed on the seafront.

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They’re going to be graduating this summer so for many of them – apart from those staying on to do PhDs etc – this will be their last Physics Ball, which  no doubt explains why they seemed so determined to have a good time despite the fact that exams start next week.

It’s amazing how the weather always turns fine for examination season. Yesterday it was beautiful. Brighton beach was busy during the day and the seafront still crowded even as I walked home at around 1am.

Anyway, at the Ball, I was seated with a group of mainly 2nd year students, some of whom are taking my Theoretical Physics module. They not only said very nice things about my lecturing but even bought me a very nice cigar which I smoked after dinner outside the hotel in the balmy evening. I couldn’t say whether all this had anything to do with the fact that I will shortly be marking their examinations.

I don’t mind admitting that I have found this year an incredible strain. I have done my best to hide it from staff and students, but my job involves a huge workload and far too many ridiculous bureaucratic frustrations. I have little time for life outside work and at times I wonder what the point is. Then I get to give a lecture to a group of bright and enthusiastic students about the amazing and beautiful thing called physics and I remember what it’s supposed to be all about.

One Response to “Balls, Sunshine and Teaching”

  1. “Orchid” is derived from the Greek word for testicle

    As an etymologist (though for orchid pollination “entomologist” might be more appropriate) I’ll testify to that.

    Yes, same root (not that of the orchid, of the word): testicles are so called because they testify (to one’s manhood).

    Then there are the Old Testament and the New Testament.

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