A day in the life
Rosalind Dickinson talks about first year
I definitely recommend physics—everyone says it's a lot of work, but it's very enjoyable and you learn a lot.
During her first year at Dalhousie, Rosalind Dickinson, from Halifax, NS, had a few surprises. “I really wanted to attend Dal so I could stay close to family, but I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did,” she says. “I’ve loved going to class every day!”
And as an engineering student, Rosalind made a surprising discovery about herself. “I like computer programming! I was never really interested in computers before. But I’ve found out I really like the math and physics side of engineering,” she says. “And I like that it’s all challenging—I can see how it will help me grow.”
The labs she took as part of her first-year Physics class kick-started that growth spurt: “The labs followed the class material really well, but they also went beyond it,” she says.
She explains: “In high school, I learned about double-glazed windows, but it was just presented as fact. In the physics lab here, we actually measured how fast the heat flowed through the glass. It was really neat to see.”
“In another cool lab, we discovered the internal forces of something we’d built. Ever since then, whenever I see a crane, or a stop sign shaking in the wind, I think about what the internal forces are. It’s pretty neat stuff!”
She adds that both of her first-year instructors, Dr. Jeff Dahn and Dr. Tom Duck, “are really passionate about physics. I talked to them both after class a couple of times. It was intimidating at first, but they were always ready to answer questions. It wasn’t intimidating after that."
For the summer, Rosalind is happy to be working with Dr. Randall Martin, another professor in the Physics and Atmospheric Science department. “What’s neat is that the work I’m doing is research, but it’s also data analysis, so I’m using computer programing,” Rosalind grins. “It’s really exciting, working with other students from first year all the way up to PhD."