Breaking the monotanous hiatus

I know that my blogging has undergone a significant hiatus lately, specially during the last year or so, as opposed to the period when I used to blog at IYA2009 SRI LANKA during IYA2009 and Beyond IYA2009. Well, that’s a different story though, as I was not so busy as I’ve been during the past 11 months, where I was instead focused on the 1st year of my Masters degree. Owing to the latter I thus managed to maintain a steady blogging-hiatus until now. The studies have been very rigorous and stringent forcing me to glue myself to notes, slides and a UNIX environment, the stuff all of which is quite mandatory for the academic work I’m involved with. That’s about it. Now that I’ve finished the academic engagements of the 1st year, I have a couple of weeks left until the beginning of the next semester, leaving me with some time to ponder, relax and prepare. I feel a bit freer and thought of penning some lines for the blog, although I’m not sure right now how to continue exactly. Therefore I shall try to give a brief account of some milestones took place during last 12 months.

At the VATLY Small Radio Telescope

At the VATLY Small Radio Telescope

The major milestone was my moving to Hanoi to read my Masters degree on Space & Applications at USTH. This was back in October 2013. As was mandatory, I had to undergo a one-month course on English (targeted at IELTS), as was the case for all the students prior to starting the real academics, despite the level of English possessed. The times were interesting as I got to know more of my colleagues at the university and made some friends getting used to the Vietnamese and more of Hanoian culture. However our schedule at university was almost full, and most of the classes accompanied extensive homework to follow. Most of the academic staff for our major composed of professors and scientists from France and Vietnam with the former being the majority. Due to this very reason the nature of the academic schedule was bit different from what I had been used to earlier. Generally a professor from France would arrive to Hanoi and spend with us a week, or two teaching us his course. During this time we would learn about a specific subject and would mostly study full-time meaning from 8am to 12 noon and 2pm to 5pm. Once the courses were finished the professor would return to France, and we would keep correspondence and work on some homework, project, etc. Then another professor would arrive and the cycle goes on so forth. In fact it took some time for me to get used to this system and now it feels usual. On the other hand it should be mentioned that this led to more involvement with the professor as more time was spent together. Sometimes we would have lunch, coffee and famous Vietnamese trà đá together and would casually talk about numerous topics, with a lot of enthusiasm.  However it is noteworthy that the schedule seemed exhaustive sometimes and we even had classes on Christmas day.

Among the subjects we learned, the Python programming language took a lot of my interest although it was not the same at the first day learning Python. In the end we had a group project as well and we came up with a small game based on gravity and asteroids, which was fun. Soon enough, I was trying to master this language of flirting with computers.

The first week of February 2014 was dedicated to Vietnamese National Tet Holidays according to the lunar calendar and finally I had some break to breath some fresh air. Soon followed the semester-end examination and that marked yet again the resumption of a firm studious period. The second semester followed no later than a day after the examinations and the ball was rolling again through the end of June 2014 when the end-of-semester exams finished and we were to start on the 2-month-long summer internship.

The 8 weeks from the beginning of July though the beginning of September was a very interesting period as I commenced my internship at Vietnam Astrophysics Training Laboratory, dearly known as VATLY.  My work basically focused about pulsars and understanding their nature in general. I had a fabulous time at VATLY and moreover the staff was very helpful, friendly and polite. I hope to write in detail about this work as soon as I will have more free time and even share some information about pulsars – some of the extravagant objects of astrophysical interest in the universe.

I believe these few highlights would reflect some of my time spent here in Hanoi so far and look forward to sharing more updates soon.

 

 

 

 

 

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