Saturday, 30 July 2016

Day 4: The London Eye & Student Topics!

Day 4 was an amazing day that burst at the seams with discussion, friendships, and experiencing the culture of London. We started the day off with a lecture by Monica Grady, a space scientist and excellent speaker. She walked us through the Rosetta mission that attempted to collect samples from the comet P/67. Even though the retrieval aparattus did not land very successfully, they were still able to collect samples from the comet. This revealed the presence of expected compounds such as carbon dioxide, water, nitrogen, but also many unknown compounds on the comet's surface.

The picture above was taken later in the day during the London Eye visit, but I love it so much I think it deserves the honor of first photo in this post!   
The shape of the P/67 comet is believed to have formed when two smaller comets collided, resulting in a comet shaped very similarly to the beloved rubber ducky!
I met these ladies from the United Arabic Empire before the lecture. They were so excited to meet someone from Canada, and asked me questions on everything from climate to the Prime Minister to music. They even sang a traditional Arabic song for me! 
Once the morning lecture was complete, I made my way to the London Eye with a group of around 150 other students. Needless to say, we nearly filled the entire London Eye once we made it though the lengthy line up! Here is the breathtaking view! Since it was a Saturday afternoon London was incredibly busy and we had to wait around 3 hours between the time we left the Imperial to when we hopped on the London Eye. This may sound awful, but it was actually great fun. A wonderful thing about the people of LIYSF 2016 is that there is no exclusion, only inclusion. I have never heard, given, and received more "Hi! I'm so-and-so, what's your name? Where you are from?" It's the differences that make each attendee unique that actually bring us closer and build relationship as we discuss our culture and talk about what school and life is like in our country.

Can you spot the pack of cyclists? Many of the main roads were closed due to the Prudential Ride London to Surrey race happening this weekend. It added excitement to the atmosphere and crowds of people cheered the cyclists on with shouts and claps. It also added much time onto our journey, as we had to wait a long time before we were allowed to safely cross the road. However! This meant we were able to stroll over to Buckingham palace and bask in its beauty. 
Another view of the Big Ben! Every angle is its best angle. 
Here I am with my new friend, Ratnamala from India. We stopped for a short break in one of the gardens we walked through (London requires a lot of walking!).
Here is a small piece of the extensive gardens near the Big Ben. As you can see, this small section boasts a stunning array of flower species, many of which I have never seen in BC.

When my group finally back to the Imperial, we arrived just in time for the Student Topics Evening. This wonderful session goes down as one of my favorite events of LIYSF so far. Ten students from the poster evening last night were selected to give a 3 minute talk on their project. They were challenged to do so in a way that would capture the audience and be easy for anyone, regardless of their scientific background, to understand. All ten participants did such an incredible job. They presented on everything from producing plastic made from banana peels to the mathematics of card tricks.

After this amazing session, many of us from the London Eye group headed out to find dinner. We found a little Chinese place and I settled on the delicious chicken teryaki. With me was Vincent from China, Sophie and Grace from New Zealand, and Rene from Germany. The store was almost closing, but Vincent managed to convince them to let us stay a little longer! Score! Just when I thought the day couldn't get any more wonderful, a bunch of us played cards late into the night in the Beit common room. I learned a New Zealand card game that I will be bringing back to teach my fellow Canadians - trust me, it's a good one!

Tomorrow is a largely free day at LIYSF, with the Stonehenge and Salisbury group heading out while the rest of us have the day to explore London. I hope you have enjoyed coming with me on day 4 of LIYSF 2016. See you tomorrow!

- Vivienne 

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