We work among extraordinary people doing extraordinary things; get to know some of them by reading these quick-fire interviews.
Name: Yixuan Dang
Job title: Third year physics and philosophy undergraduate and PJCC chair (2022-2023)
What are you currently working on?
On the physics side I am currently taking four part-B modules: B2 symmetry and relativity, B3 atomic and laser physics, B5 general relativity and B6 condensed matter physics. They allow me to take a peek at a broad range of physics topics. On the philosophy side, I am doing philosophy of science, knowledge and reality, and philosophy of quantum mechanics and special relativity. I get to question what we really learned in the physics course, and tutorials normally turn my perception of the physical world upside down.
Describe a typical day
My earliest lecture is at 11am, which is perfect as I am not a morning person. After two hours of lectures, I go back to my college for a lunch and spend the rest of the afternoon in the college library doing philosophy readings or physics problem sets. Sometimes I leave the library to go to a tutorial scheduled in the afternoon. I usually take a long dinner break with friends when not approaching a deadline. After that I work for another two hours and go to sleep. However when I have many deadlines scheduled on the same day, I spend many days only writing essays/finishing problem sets and reward myself with a day of Netflix and popcorn afterwards.
Outside the regular undergraduate routine, I attend some early-morning faculty meetings as the undergraduate representative. I also chair Physics Joint Consultative Committee lunch meetings with the teaching office and other undergraduate students twice a term.
If you had an entire day at your disposal (not studying), what would be your ideal way to spend it?
I would spend the morning meeting all kinds of birds in the university park and then in the afternoon, I would annoy my neighbours with bamboo flute. In the evening I would go for a night walk with my friends, discovering secret hidden places in college.
What is your favourite place in Oxford?
There is a pond in the university park and no matter what time of the day you arrive at that pond, there are always animal friends welcoming you. The best time to visit there is the spring as you get to see so many newly born ducklings!
What discovery would you like to see in your lifetime?
A solution to climate change or the coordinates of another habitable planet. We can leave the other exciting discoveries to our descendants.