Corpus Christi College Oxford

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Travel Grant Reports

Corpus undergraduates are able to apply for up to £200 every two years to support the costs of intellectually valuable travel. These extracts are taken from our undergraduates' reports on their travels during the summer vacation 2010. Extracts from the travel grant reports received in 2009 can be viewed here.

"The travel grant which I received from college was put towards my trip to Paris. The primary reason for my visit was to spend time doing research for my thesis (entitled Food for Thought: A Chemical Perspective on the Development of Molecular Gastronomy). With the help of my supervisor, Muriel Le Roux, I was lucky enough to be able to spend time at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique. Home to arguably the best research group in the field of Molecular Gastronomy, it is where Hervé This carries out his studies into this fascinating area of science... observing at first hand his laboratory work and talking to members of his team offered me a valuable insight into his work."
Alexandra Moss, Chemistry

"Tuesday saw a visit to SKF who have a world reknowned reputation for the manufacture of high quality bearings for a range of applications from those in small mechanical devices ranging up to the largest in the 20metre high wind turbines which are situated all around Holland... The initial presentation gave us an in-depth description of the main areas of research which the SKF ERC (engineering and research centre for products) carry out. The areas focused on are; Seals, Bearings and Units, Lubrication Systems, Mechatronics, Services - which boasts a third of the turnover. The talk was followed by a tour of the grounds with talks from a selection of varied research groups who were keen to help us understand what they were trying achieve in their research. I found the testing area of particular interest where they carry out accelerated life testing of bearing components for the company catalogue."
Katherine MacArthur, Materials Science

"My first trip to the US, a 3 week East Coast tour around New York, Washington D.C, Penn and Chicago was a fascinating if shocking experience. I visited the usual tourist sites and was pleased to be able to finally see the places I learnt about in 1st year with tours of Capitol Hill, tickets for both houses of congress, a visit to the Supreme Court, the National Museum of American History, the New York Stock Exchange and various others. I was also able to visit friends to briefly immerse myself in the life of three US universities: University of Champaign Illinois, Georgetown and UPenn where I actually went to class... Having expected to learn the most from tours and museums, in fact what I found most interesting was talking to students, friends of friends and taxi drivers about their political views..."
Emma Fouracre Reid, PPE

"At the expedition gathering at the Royal Geographical Society, the Chief Leader from my first BSES (British Schools Exploring Society) trip asked if I would be interested in returning to Svalbard as an Assistant Leader. My answer was a very definite yes... It was five years since I had last experienced 24 hour daylight, but still, it did not feel strange unloading five weeks' worth of food and kit under a light sky in the middle of the night... I was both excited and apprehensive about my new level of responsibility as we moved further up the glacier to begin teaching our Young Explorers the camp craft skills they would need to live and work on the ice for the next month. While hiking up a 400m knife edge ridge the sun finally came out to greet us, providing amazing views over the glacier and fjord and up to the distant ice cap."
Eleanor Grieveson, Materials Science

"I was enrolled on a 2-week course at the Castila Spanish language school in the Albaicín, a labyrinthine area of cobbled streets curling up one of the hills overlooking the city and with a history going back to the Romans... Lessons were until 3pm each week day for 2 weeks, with a combination of grammar, conversation and ‘Spanish Culture'... Being in such a small group was great, and it was good to learn Spanish more intensively than possible in the 1 hour sessions at the Oxford Language Centre. Our tutor set us enough homework to make sure we got the most out of our course whilst still giving us time to explore the city and surroundings... I feel that my Spanish has definitely progressed, and am even more determined to improve language skills after graduation."
Ruth Simister, Classics and English  

"I got an offer from Dr Andrew Beavil to do a project working with Green Fluorescent Protein... A new mutant version of Green Fluorescent Protein has been found and my job was to make this protein and investigate its properties... I started off with the gene that encoded Green Fluorescent Protein, and the plan was to mutate the gene to produce a new gene coding for the mutant variant. This involved changing six DNA bases at one time... Around 6 weeks in I finished making the protein (called mTurquoise) that we wanted. I used Time Correlated Single Photon Counting, to look at mTurquoises' properties. This is a clever technique where a machine shoots one photon into the protein sample and counts how long it takes for a photon to be emitted."
Benjamin Krishna, Biochemistry

"Since I went to Iceland without much prior knowledge of the country, my first instinct was that I had chosen possibly the worst place to do an environmental research project, as it seems to be the country least in need of help... However, although in the sphere of energy production, Iceland does far better than average, there are other environmental issues that they do not deal with so well. An organic farm seemed like a good area to concentrate effort... One of the main tasks we had to do whilst at Vallanes was pick berries, mainly blueberries and blackcurrants... Other jobs included harvesting their potato fields, collecting mushrooms and weeding the herb garden, as well as cleaning and packaging the food and making jam. Almost everything in the 350 hectares of land taken up by Vallanes is done by hand and absolutely no chemical products are used."
Sophie Yeo, English

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