Ralph SchroederOII Fellow Dr Ralph Schroeder has been an SDP tutor since 2004; his interests include virtual environments, social aspects of e-Science, sociology of science and technology, and virtual reality technology. Asked for his thoughts and memories of the Summer Doctoral Programme, he writes:

I’ve attended all the summer schools since 2004 (all but the first) and really enjoyed being a student again! Apart from teaching on the programme, students may have noticed that I’ve usually sat through most of the sessions in the back row myself – eagerly taking notes. Aaahh, to be young again!

Seriously – the summer schools always allow me to catch up within a couple of weeks on the latest, hottest, up-to-speed research on interesting areas that I should know about, but don’t. And that’s just the student presentations! Plus – the cuisine isn’t bad either: The SDP in Beijing in 2005 was memorable for sometimes fishing things out of stews (animal or mineral or vegetable?) that I could not identify. And Brisbane 2009 – check out the tukka restaurant. Not just kangaroos, but there are some Australian edibles that you’ve never tasted anywhere else (look under pantry glossary, cool names too). Then there’s Oxford cuisine – English student grub?!? Nuff’ said, as a Marvel Comic hero would say (obscure reference!). [ED: not obscure enough to anyone with access to Google and Wikipedia … link added..]

Finally, there’s the social networking, online and off: if and when you go to AoIR (Association of Internet Researchers) you meet a growing body of ex-SDP’ers, many now moved into academic and other jobs. The SDP may be an exhausting two weeks, but being a student sure beats having to work for a living.

Ralph Schroeder at the back: commenting on a student presentation (SDP2009, Brisbane). Credit: ericcook

Ralph Schroeder at the back: commenting on a student presentation (SDP2009, Brisbane). Credit: ericcook