London Youth International Science Forum

Tina Davern from DT212 attended the 2007 London Youth International Science Forum. Tina, now in second year Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DT261) tells her story of her time at the forum...

"I don't think anyone could fully describe the London International Youth Science Forum". I used to think that if I had a euro for every time I heard that sentence I would be a millionaire. Then I became a participant and it sounds so fake but I know now what everyone means. To most of my friends and family I was at geek camp, to others it was a great opportunity for me but I never expected it to be more than two weeks of feeling awkward about living with people that I didn't know and that didn't even speak the same language as me and feeling homesick about being so far away from my family.

However, I realised that being homesick is inevitable but that everyone else feels exactly the same way. And as for feeling awkward, well I never had the time, between the lectures which varied drastically to the trips which were just as strange and wonderful as the lectures, to the social aspects of the Forum and the distractions of London itself. There were three lectures in particular which if not mentioned in this report would be a crying shame.

The first lecture we received " Hello who have we here?" by Professor David Lowe was a lecture that I don't think any of us will ever forget. The lecture was not only one of the most interesting but it was the funniest lecture about mistaken identity I think anyone could boast about attending. It was also the best way of meeting the other participants because it allowed us to recognise our lick, science, and build friendships on that.

"Chaos and Fractals in the world around us" by Professor Gareth McKinley was shockingly good. I'm ashamed to say that the idea of spending two hours listening to a professor talk about something I hadn't got a clue about wasn't a very inviting thought for me but I was convinced by one of my newly found and trusted friends that it would either be amazingly interesting and exciting or it would be the biggest train wreck I would probably ever witness. So on the promise of either a lecture that would leave me on the edge of my seat in awe or doubled over in pain from laughing I went along with a small group including my trusted friend, (just in case we had to yell at him for dragging us to a boring lecture we didn't let him out of our sights!) I don't think any of our party will ever look at a cloud or a leaf in the same way and I think the best way to describe how good the lecture was is to tell you that our trusted friend who dragged us to that lecture was announced a genius (in a good way).

The last lecture which in my opinion deserves a special mention is "Musical Squares" by Dr Mike Gluyas and Mrs Wendy Gluyas. Not only was this lecture two of the funniest hours of the whole two weeks it was also filled with a lot of interesting facts about sound and how it can be manipulated.

Leaving the lectures aside and focusing on the other aspects of the Forum is also important because the trips were very well organised and ran as smoothly as the lectures thanks to the staff who were the friendliest people anyone could ask to be associated with. The trip to Oxford for me was brilliant. I got to see the "Pit Rivers" Museum which was brilliant but perhaps the highlight for me was that one of the colleges in oxford boasts the privilege of being the location for the great hall from the first two Harry Potter movies. For the less geeky though, Oxford does posses something valuable, a very long high street with two shopping centres and every kind of shop you could look for.

The lectures and the trips aren't the only attractions available at the Forum. A very active social calendar is also scheduled. Between opening and closing discos, a cabaret night which was one of the best parts of the whole trip along with another talent show which was purely for songs from home. As well as these shows there was an underground train race, and an Olympics which of course Ramsey won (as if any other outcome was expected). To say that all of us were kept busy would be the understatement of the century. Not only had we these social activities but theatre tickets were also available from the Forum. The shows in the West End are phenomenal and a must see for anyone. If the theatre is not your cup of tea there are plenty of pubs and clubs around which are always occupied by a friendly face and just be careful when those friendly faces return to the halls of residence though because a biscuit or two had a tendency to find its way underneath your door at half three in the morning.

I really tried to keep those hated clichés out of this report but I think after an experience like the one I had at the London International Youth Science Forum a cliché or two is inevitable. So here it goes, the LIYSF is a life changing, mind blowing experience that I am extremely grateful that I got the opportunity to be part of. Between the friends I have made and the things I got to experience I will be eternally grateful.

I could talk about the lectures and the trips and everything else that was organised for us but the one thing that made the LIYSF and the only thing that couldn't be organised were the people who run the Forum and the people who attend it. The staff was all made up of past participants and that meant that they were easy to talk to because they had experienced it for themselves. They knew exactly how we felt because they too were homesick and felt scared of such a big city like London. The determining factor of how great the science Forum was for me was purely the other participants and I can honestly say that although we came from 52 different countries we all realised that although we went our separate ways we would stay in touch thanks to wonderful inventions such as email and telephones.

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