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Life


Courses


Physics


ne of the oldest colleges in the University, Balliol combines a long history with a tradi- tion of political activism. Since an abortive coup in the 1960s, which saw the College seized and renamed “the People’s Republic of Balliol”, the College has been able to add strong lefty-liberal student activism to its list of raisons d’etre (with admittedly notable excep- tions including Boris Johnson and Chris Pat- ten). Unlike most Oxford colleges, gowns are never worn at Balliol and students can walk on most of the grass. Even the College’s tortoise was named after a German Marxist until she (the tortoise, not the Marxist) disappeared in 2004. But in spite of its political traditions, Balliol is in many other ways a normal – if very well resourced – Oxford college. If you’re musi- cal, Balliol has a practice room, a non-audition- ing chapel choir and regular Sunday concerts.


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Sport at Balliol is also prominent, with the rowing squads regularly finishing in leading positions on the river, while students can also make use of football pitches, squash courts, netball courts and a cricket pitch.


he physics course in Oxford is un- like any other because from the word go you study physics directly with world-class researchers. This means that straight away you get to know someone who might be working on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN or an- alysing data from the Hubble telescope.


Receiving feedback on your work on a weekly basis in tutorials, and having the chance to probe experts with questions on work you find difficult, confusing or fascinating allows you to advance at an amazing pace. The first year of the course is roughly 50% maths to give you the techniques you need for the rest of the


In terms of student life, Balliol has one of the few remaining student-run bars in the Univer- sity, with the bar manager being elected on an annual basis by current students.


The JCR run pantry is another service which few other JCRs provide. It serves breakfast from 8am to 11:30am and also serves lunch,


In recent years Balliol has consistently finished in the upper echelons of the ‘Nor- rington Table’, the league table of academ- ic performance in finals at Oxford. While this table should be taken with a pinch of salt, there is a culture of hard work at the College which is supported by a well-stocked college library and easy proximity to the Bodle- ian Library, which is within two minutes’ walk from the College.


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course, but you also get to study electro- magnetism and special relativity amongst other subjects, so don’t worry if you’re keen on getting to the more ‘physicsy’ stuff. Another great part of the Oxford first year is a weekly lecture from one of the researchers here, so you learn about cutting-edge topics in physics.


In second year the course is similar, but with less maths, allowing you to get to grips with some exciting physics like quantum mechanics, and providing you with a strong knowledge base that allows you to go on into any branch of physics. In the third and fourth years you then get to specialise further and study particle


tea and dinner making it easy to get away from work at any time of the day. The JCR also runs its own laundry and has a TV room with arcade games attached to the main JCR itself. Although some second years choose to live out, most students spend their time in Oxford living in Balliol-provided accommodation.


Although it’s a large college, a combination of an active JCR and excellent facilities mean that you definitely won’t find coming here overwhelming. If you do end up at Balliol, then you’ll be in for a time which will leave you with a lot of memories as well as new opportunities.


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