‘Animal Cognition at Edinburgh Zoo’ by Alex Rendón

As always, save the best for last.  This Friday, forty lucky PPLS students got the visit the facilities at the Edinburgh Zoo dedicated to Animal Cognition research, sponsored in part by the Scottish Primate Research Group (SPRG).

For starters, we got introduced to the history and aims of the SPRG and their relationship with the Edinburgh Zoo. Then, two PhD students presented their research, focused on Animal Personality, and Mirror Neurons and Learning in great apes. We then toured the facilities in Edinburgh Zoo devoted to primatology research – the Living Links/Bodongo Research Consortium.

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Rona Munro: a conversation and reading, by Morgan Reilly

IMG_1095Photos by Joshua Graf.

Scottish playwright, Rona Munro, has more than an arms length of published plays, and from her workshop on Friday 21st February she gives the impression that she has many more coming our way in future.

Munro was at the University of Edinburgh to give a workshop on playwriting so it was not surprising that the room was filled with students doing a Masters in that subject. However, as we all sat around a table listening to her tell the story of how she works and why she works, Munro could have been an inspiration for anyone who wishes to pursue a career in writing or, well, anything really. She portrayed a great sense of determination but was also charming, witty and intelligent. The workshop took the form of an uplifting talk with someone who had achieved her playwright status after simply deciding that she was going to be a playwright. Continue reading

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TeamBuild: Team ‘8 Ball’ scoops the Inaugural ‘Student Teambuild Challenge’ Prize, by Alex MacLaren


Rome wasn’t built in a day, and though it’s admittedly a slightly smaller endeavour, the world-class new UoE Holyrood Student Accommodation isn’t due to complete until 2016 either. But given that it’s Innovative Learning Week, we thought we’d challenge 50 students of construction from UoE and Heriot-Watt University to give it a go in 48 hours.

Over Tuesday and Wednesday of ILW, nine teams of students competed against each other over five quick-fire stages (Masterplan, Outline Design, Procurement, Detailed Design and Construction/Handover) to win cash prizes. The interdisciplinary teams, who only met each other on the day, were made up of Architects, Engineers, Surveyors, Construction Managers and Real Estate Planners. Students were from degree- and masters- level courses, from both UoE and HWU. For many, this was the first time they had worked with another student from a different construction discipline. Continue reading

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Discover your Voice, by Jack Murray

IMG_1193Photos by Joshua Graf.

You haven’t known true fear until you’ve been staring down the barrel of a funky chorus surrounded by experienced singers.

That was my predicament on Friday in Reid Hall.

When the funky chorus nears and you know you’re tasked with approaching it (in all it’s royal funkiness) with the required level of pizzazz and enthusiasm, the piano starts to melt and mould into a monstrous blob of macabre blabber. It becomes a a sassy Jabba the Hut, and you’re Leia in a gold bikini of nerves.

Or at least that’s what you worry until you start singing – then the shackles break. Continue reading

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GEOQUEST, by Christina Neuwirth

GEOQUEST, Geosciences, Photo by Dong Ning DengPhotos by Dong Ning Deng.

On Friday afternoon, 19 teams of 2 sit behind wooden desks in the Ashworth lab lecture theatre at King‘s Buildings. The suspense is thick in the air. Gandalf is nodding along to saxophone music on the overhead screens, and the team who organised the event are handing out bags of sweets. GeoQuest!

Out of all my assignments this week, this one is the one I‘m the most nervous about. My geological knowledge is atrocious, and I‘m not very competitive. Before I have time to rethink any of my life decisions, the first question is upon us: What is the mass of the moon in kg? My partner and I laugh nervously and guess 20 million kilos, but that‘s miles away from the actual answer, 7.34767309 × 1022. After a few other cool moon facts are revealed (did you know it‘s moving away from us an inch and a half every year?), more questions rain down on those who qualified for the buzzer rounds. Continue reading

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Style and Living in Ancient Rome, by Joe Hall


Photos by Maeve O’Dwyer

When you think of Ancient Rome, perhaps you picture its imperial exploits, or the stoic marble busts of its emperors. But for 3 hours in the Meadows Lecture Theatre on Friday morning, the extravagant hairstyles, pungent cosmetics, and everyday dress-sense of Rome were brought to life, as well as its fishy diet!

As we were guided through Empresses’ glamorous hairstyles-cum-architectural feats, like flicking through a Roman Vogue, history was taking shape before us. Before our eyes, Alana Newman and Belinda Washington, both PhD Classics students, were being made-up as women of Rome. Continue reading

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Geography Course Speed Dating, by Vicki Ponce

Geography speed dating – not something you’d think would be likely to turn up on a list of ‘how to learn innovatively’! But the GeogSoc event today definitely proved itself up to the challenge!

The event kicked off at 1pm and lasted two hours. With free pizza as an extra incentive, loads of students made their way to the Geography building bursting with questions about other students’ experiences in the department so far, and looking for advice about upcoming optional courses, fieldtrips, coursework loads, and dissertation topics. Continue reading

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