Applied Physics degree 1987-1991 reunion, July 2017
Alumnus Joe Diggins reunites Portsmouth physicists 30 years later.
At the start of 2017 when I began organising a 30th reunion of the starting of our degree, I had no idea of the fun that lay ahead and the interest it would attract. With a few leads, a little detective work on social media, and the generous help of the Alumni Association, we managed to bring together a sizeable group including former classmates, former head of department, lecturers and staff, on a glorious July day. On the understanding there would be no expectation of any outstanding coursework, we talked about the 'good old days' before they discovered dark energy, the Higgs boson and gravitational waves, and took a tour of the physics buildings. The fabulous new Burnaby Building, as well as a look around Park Building, which was the physics department in our time.
We were shown an impressive array of equipment in the physics labs and facilities that were light years ahead of those we had in the 1980s as undergraduates. Our guide for the afternoon, Dr Edith Rogers, did a superb job of showing us around and talking us through the activities of the department. It has to be said, this was a task not entirely unlike herding cats, as old friends enthusiastically engaged in conversation about the above-mentioned 'good old days', or inquisitively admired the atomic force microscope, mass spectrometer and other delights, diffusing in all directions at different speeds.
It would be untrue to say that nobody has changed in three decades. But personalities are generally a constant and quickly transport one back to fond memories of undergraduate life. Not all of those at our reunion gathering are working in physics these days - some do, some have retired, and others diversified. But the gathering was a pleasant reminder of the friends we made, the scientific grounding that we gained studying physics and the doors that opened to onward careers.
Many thanks to our photographer for the day Helen, the Alumni Association, Dr Edith Rogers, Danny Atkins, and the staff who made our visit possible.
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