Thursday, 30 August 2012

Farewells II: A dissertation dismounted

Turned in my dissertation this afternoon, after giving my third and fourth lectures to a bunch of high school kids on (a) my research, but more importantly (b) how awesome is programming you guys?! The kids were at Cambridge for a summer-school program for kids from "underserved communities" to improve access to Oxbridge. So we had a lot of sweet headscarves* and urban kids who want to look tough but are obviously much better at physics than swagger. They loved SingSmash, and loved the intro-to-programming exercises I took them through. For serious, get Processing (for free) and then take a look at these** and you too will have the Eureka moment a girl had today***:
Whoa! I get it! I never thought I'd be able to understand programming.
Hooray for the future and kids programming! But especially more girls programming. We need that.

Anyway. Thesis printed and then bound for £1 at the Classics faculty (no one would expect the Classics faculty to charge market rates for binding, would they?) along with Tim's, because Tim is in America. And then the super-anticlimactic moment of handing the copies in to Rebecca Kippax (hopefully she knows what a cool name she has) and then having nothing to do, really. As I walked back down the hallway I thought about how we're used to video games where you finish the big quest thing and then right away everything lights up and there's music and sparkling pixels, so you get this rush of reinforcement. Not so with academic work, to no one's surprise.

Now I am back in Bath, making dinner (Emma is making a sticky toffee pudding!) and waiting to open one of the Two Nice Bottles Of Wine Which We Have Been Saving.

I'm not going to post the whole PDF here, but if you happen to want to read the thesis let me know and I will hook you up. Here's the title page:


And here's my favourite chart, showing the improvement in the experimental (SingSmash!) group versus the control:


Look at those non-overlapping error bars! Woot. (p < 0.01)

Charlie: Officially ready for more adventures, as of this afternoon.


*hopefully on heads which are empowered-in-the-future, after they go to uni.
**this is a Dropbox link so it is not guaranteed to work 4eva. If you are reading this in the future... hello future! What's it like there? Is everyone wearing goggles? This link might not work.
***unless you already know programming. Then you'll just be all 'oh neat processing is cool'.