I absolutely love science. Although most people know me as a French student, I actually came to Warwick to study Maths and Stats – and although I changed degree, my love for science has never abated. But if you’re doing an arts degree, it’s possible that you may not have the opportunity to enjoy science as much as you otherwise would when it’s right in front of you, course-wise. That doesn’t mean you should miss out, though – I’m an arts student, and I’m proof it’s possible to sneak a hefty helping of science into an arts life. Here are some of my top tips.
Firstly, take advantage of the fact that there is a lot of science happening on campus. At the start of term, you’ll be bombarded by societies hoping for you to join them – there are a number of science societies, so go and try them out (and this applies more generally – use those early weeks to try as much as you can). There will be taster sessions, chances to meet people and get a flavour of the events and activities they run – if it sounds appealing, join up and go along. The best thing is, once you’ve got a membership, that lasts all year. You may find yourself there all the time, or you may only go to one event all year – both options are available and worth thinking about.
Of course, events go beyond those organised by student societies. Warwick is always buzzing with speakers and events, and most of these are accessible to students and the public – often, the hardest part is learning about them in the first place. A good approach is wandering through the Chemistry building or the Zeeman building every once in a while, looking at the posters on the walls. But if you see interesting talks, why not spend a few hours going along? I’ve heard some brilliant speakers here – I saw a lecture by Simon Singh on the maths of The Simpsons, and I watched Warwick’s own scientists who had developed synthetic diamonds.
If you’re anything like me, you probably spend a decent amount of time on YouTube. There’s a lot of top-quality science material on there, often presented in accessible and interesting ways, and it’s perhaps the easiest way possible to engage with science – you just need to put it on and listen. Although the YouTube algorithm can throw up some interesting recommendations, generally watching interesting science videos will soon result in a flood of equally good suggestions, so you’ll soon have a wealth to choose from. Let me recommend some channels I like to get you started – Vsauce and Vsauce2 are great for interesting science and maths respectively. Numberphile videos present some complex maths in very accessible ways (often employing the famous brown paper), and Veritasium explores fascinating concepts.
Last, but certainly not least, why not consider engaging with the Science & Tech section here at The Boar? If you’re interested in writing, each week, there are a selection of fascinating science stories posted as pitches in the Facebook writers group – each one is an opportunity to learn something new, to dive into a branch of science that you may not know about. I’ve discovered so much in stories I’ve written, and the sheer breadth is incredible: I’ve done quantum physics, geology, chemistry, meteorology, biology and medicine, the politics of science, and so on. And the best part is, you can write as little or as often as you like. Even if you’re not a writer, pick up the paper or look on the website, and take a read through – it’s always interesting material, written by science and non-science students alike.
I’ve barely even skimmed the surface of science at Warwick. Being an arts student doesn’t mean you’re cut off from science, far from it – there are plenty of ways to enjoy it, so whatever happens, don’t feel like you have to limit yourself. One of the joys of coming to university is the chance to expand your knowledge pool in ways you’ve never even imagined, and hopefully some of these tips will help you on the way.