Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Getting ready for uni

The Biology book has been very interesting, and is a bit more detailed than A level after all. There's a whole chapter on plasma membranes which covers some stuff we did (composition, fluid mosaic model, integral and peripheral proteins) but also describes how the two sides of the phosopholipid bilayer have different composition. The technique of freeze-fracture followed by scanning electron microscopy actually allows the two layers to be separated and the surfaces photographed! It also describes the different 'joints' and interfaces you get between cells, which I hadn't thought about before. Some are sealed so that, for example, gut contents can't get round the epithelial layer of cells but has to go through, and others (plasmodesmata) allow cells to exchange contents, particularly in plants.

The suggested reading also mentioned A level Maths, Physics and Chemistry textbooks, and I've borrowed those from Leamington library. I've only looked at the chemistry one so far, and it's very interesting to see what has changed since my A level, 25 years ago. The book describes the probabilistic theory of atomic electrons as well as the old 'shell' theory, and there seems much more emphasis on the shape of molecules - the Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VSEPR) theory apparently predicts the shapes of simple covalent molecules.

I've been trying to wade through the admin stuff that has arrived from Nottingham University as well as planning for the start of the course. I finally filled in my ePAR about 'What I Did In My Holidays' and all the rest of it, and went through the online registration. Now I have an Intranet login, and an email account that doesn't seem to work yet, and access to all sorts of student-related information. Including classified ads - perhaps someone will want those curtains and the saxophone?

I've been following up the university parking permit, because without it I'll have to pay £5 a day to park on the campus. The online registration didn't feed through to Saturn, which is what the Estate people use to issue parking permits. The IT Helpdesk helped me to get a bit more registered yesterday, but the message still hasn't reached Saturn. They've suggested that I wait a bit longer. After all, we are talking about a distance of quite a few light years.

I've been busy today in a way that hasn't happened for a while. The rate of getting things done has tailed off significantly since the easier things were finished and rather less attractive jobs remain. I think I'll give up on the light fittings for the time being, and it's unlikely that I'll get on to the serious paint issues in the hallway. I did mend the toilet cistern workings when a plastic thingy snapped in the flush mechanism, and chopped more stuff out of the garden - it just keeps growing.

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