My PhD has (almost) officially begun, and this summer I attended two summer schools in preparation for the year ahead. The first was STFC’s Introductory Summer School for students in astronomy and related disciplines, and was held over the course of a week at the University of Manchester. There was a relaxed programme of events and some very diverse and interesting lecture courses (in particular, Anna Scaife did a great talk on data science and data intensive experiments– for example, once fully operational, the SKA will generate 2 Petabytes of data per day!), as well as a visit to Jodrell Bank and the conference dinner in the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.
The second school I attended was a ten day school held in Corfu, focusing on the CAMB and CLASS codes and the theoretical aspects of the cosmology behind them. The lecture courses were intense and we had plenty of time to get to grips with the codes as well, with the workshops going on until 8pm every day. A highlight of this school was a really informative workshop on unconscious bias in STEM, run by Mariateresa Crosta and Signe Riemer-Sorensen. I think this workshop provided food for thought for everyone. Non-science highlights included the beautiful weather, food and all-day boat excursion which gave us a much needed break on the middle weekend!
Overall, my experience of the summer schools was overwhelmingly positive and some of the best bits for me were meeting lots of the people who work in my field (shout-out to my new-found academic cousins, Charles and Kate!), or a closely related one, and hearing about their experiences and perspectives on science and non-science topics alike. The past two weeks were a great way to get this PhD show on the road.