This year, Somerville is hosting a series of Virtual Study Days in Spring half term (16th-19th February 2021). These are open to all Year 12 students currently at a UK state school or college.
These days will offer a taste of university study, and include group seminars run by Oxford University academics in their own specialisms, which will offer a challenging and entertaining introduction to university-level study of the subject.
The seminars are open to all Year 12 students from state schools who are taking a related subject, and/or who are thinking about going on to study a related subject at university. The students will also have the opportunity to ask questions of current undergraduates in their subject of interest, and to discuss the courses with the college tutors. The events are entirely free of charge, and will include an admissions talk from the Senior Tutor.
4.00-4.30pm: Welcome & Admissions Talk
4.30-5.30pm: Academic Taster Session & Subject Q&A
5.30-6.00pm: Plenary Q&A with Access Officers, Admissions Tutor & Student Ambassadors
Please see below for details of the academic taster sessions available:
POLITICS: Water Politics
This session will discuss what water politics is, including reflecting on water wars, making peace and cooperation through water, the water to produce what we eat (virtual water), and the role of power in understanding how water is allocated between countries sharing a river. This is an introductory class that students doing PPE (Politics, Philosophy & Economics) or Geography could find themselves studying.
EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY: The Psychology of Flavour
Why does food not taste of anything when your nose is blocked? Why do we say that vanilla smells sweet when it actually tastes bitter? Can you really fool a wine expert by miscolouring a white wine red? And what is it like to work with world-leading chefs like Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck restaurant? This session will take a look at the psychology and neuroscience of flavour, one of our most multisensory experiences.
The session should be of interest to anyone considering a degree involving experimental psychology. You do not have to have studied Psychology at school to attend.
ENGLISH: ‘Tell me what I am!’ Some Old English Riddles and their Solutions
In this taster session, I will introduce you to some of the oldest writings in English. We will think about some of the differences – and similarities – between poetry written in the past and poetry written today, and will investigate what these ancient texts can tell us about the people who wrote and read them.
MUSIC: Intro to Theories of Film Music
In this interactive taster lecture students will be introduced to two ways that film music is analysed and written about: narrativity and ideology. How does music work to tell stories, convey emotion and position the audience’s perspective of events? What does this positioning of the audience reveal about the relationship between the filmic text and the world ‘outside’ the story? How does film music construct ideas about race and gender, what is ‘normal’ and what is ‘different’?
NB You do not have to have experience with playing music or music theory to participate in this lecture.
MEDICINE: Diversity in Medical Imaging
In this taster session, we will interactively explore a number of imaging technologies that have revolutionised medicine. The diverse and inclusive nature of medical imaging and of its researchers will be highlighted.
MATHS: Equations and Symmetries
The general solution to a quadratic equation ax2+bx +c = 0 is given by a simple formula involving square roots. But is it possible to give a general formula for the solution of a cubic equation (degree three) in terms of radicals? What about higher degrees? This was a prominent question in Mathematics for hundreds of years until the beginning of the 1800's when the Norwegian mathematician Niels Abel proved that this was impossible for a general equation of degree five (quintic equations). But the real breakthrough came about the same time when the French mathematician Evariste Galois created a general theory that explains this phenomenon. Galois' ideas led to the development of two beautiful branches of mathematics in algebra (group theory) and number theory (Galois theory, algebraic number theory) which are fundamental parts of modern Mathematics.
MODERN LANGUAGES/LINGUISTICS: Poetry Without Words
How does poetry work? What is the relationship between language, form, and sound within a poem? And how do these elements create humour? By looking at Ernst Jandl’s experimental lyric, we will discuss these questions and explore the creativity of his unique style. There is no need for any knowledge of German (although helpful) but the session is open for everyone interested in a degree in Modern Languages. There will also be time for Q&A.
MEDICINE: Clinical Diagnostic Approaches to Pain
How can we use how someone describes a pain to tell us more about what might be wrong? Medical problems often manifest with a pain, and we can tell a lot about what might be wrong by asking detailed questions about the pain. In this session, we will explore how doctors ask questions about pain. We will then talk through what might be wrong, drawing on background knowledge of anatomy and physiology. We call this process ‘history-taking to reach a diagnosis’, and the same principle can be applied to all aspects of medicine, which medical students learn during the clinical part of the course.
ENGINEERING: Future Vehicle Propulsion Systems
There has been a lot of publicity about the switch to electric vehicles, but what is the true impact for carbon emissions and the UK economy?
Use our booking form here to sign up for a place. The deadline for applications is 15th February at midday.