My first day of work

Today was my first day of work at the University of Oslo. After dropping the girls off at school with Diana, I caught the 3 T-bane into Oslo, and then took the 5 train one stop to the university. It looks like it will take me about half an hour to get to work.

Here are some photos of where I work. First the physics building. IMG 1580

Inside there’s a Foucault Pendulum

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And this interesting mural on three walls:
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Here are some bulleted highlights from the day, and projects and opportunities I might be working on.

  • A new Year 8-13 School has recently opened in nearby Sandvika, and its focus is on math and science. Students in the school are getting additional hours of maths instruction beyond the typical curriculum and some part of this will be in computational work.
  • The entire 1-13 Norwegian Curriculum is being revised this year. One of the major reforms for the maths curriculum is that there will be a focus on including computing in all grades. This is going to probably require the training of a lot of teachers, and the plan is to start teaching the new curriculum in 2020.
  • The physics department is making a major push to train its TAs to be able to better facilitate active learning, and I talked to a postdoc today who is leading that effort.
  • Norwegian students study general science in years 1-11, and then can elect to study physics intensively along with a few other subjects in year 12 and 13.
  • A professor and postdoc are working on incorporating computational essays in an introductory E&M course.
  • A teacher in the Master’s program is working on incorporating computational modeling in his high school class.
  • A grad student I used to work with back in Atlanta is now using machine learning to study massive datasets from the registrar of multiple universities to see if he can develop a model help predict which students will major in physics, and which students are at risk for dropping the major.
  • There’s a class on Data Analysis and Machine Learning in Physics that I’m going to audit this fall. Thankfully, it’s taught in English.
  • I sat in on an introductory E&M course taught in Norwegian. Though Coulomb’s law looks the same everywhere, I’ve still got a lot of work to do before I’m going to be able to be super useful in the typical Norwegian classroom.

Everyone seems friendly and welcoming, and I’m excited to see where all of this will lead in the months ahead—I’ve gotten a great feeling that I both have a lot to contribute, and a lot to learn.

Also, the OiU cafeteria is amazingly affordable and delicious. In a city where a simple ham and cheese baguette will easily set you back $14, I got a delicious plate of fish, salad, and rice for $6. At least something in Oslo is cheap.

Here are a few other photos from around campus:

The gorgeous library (this picture doesn’t do it justice).

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Some pretty fountains near the center of campus.
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And, I was able to get home just as Maddie was trying to get in the front door of our apartment building. All in all, it was a great day.

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