Being a product of Merton College, we love tradition. As always, the physics freshers were warmly welcomed to the College with a sumptuous spread of the best value snacks that we could carry from Tesco to College in one trip. After some introductions and icebreakers, we, once again compelled by tradition, migrated to the famous Turf Tavern for a drink (even though it was only the early afternoon). The Freshers’ Tea provides an easy and informal opportunity for new and old generations of Merton physicists to come together – a chance to pass down old wisdom (like warnings of the notorious Hilary term problem set 5) and think up new wisdom (like how to get the best armchair in classes).
The tea, however, simply pales in comparison with the flagship event of the year: the Society’s Black Tie Dinner in Hilary term. Once again, Merton’s Kitchen laid on a fabulous four-course meal for us all, which was thoroughly enjoyed. The question, however, on everyone’s mind was the results of the annual election for the next Society president. Given the passion of the large physics community at Merton, it was slightly disappointing to see that only one candidate, Richard Chatterjee (2017), nobly volunteered. This disappointment was based in the fact that election campaign materials have, in recent years, become extraordinarily elaborate, sometimes taking the form of short films.
But, to our surprise, Richard (even in the absence of any competition whatsoever) produced a stunning video mirroring the recent Avengers film, poignantly putting forward why he deserved everyone’s vote. I think, unfortunately, this video may have scared everyone off, because Richard only won the election by the slimmest of margins (3 votes, to 2 for R.O.N.).
The dinner was concluded by a speech from me which largely recycled last year’s material (something which was not well received by certain recent alumni, but luckily my term was almost over so an impeachment would be futile), followed by a (lengthy, it must be said) speech from the now-incumbent Richard, listing a great many (many, many) distinctive qualities of the archetypical Merton physicist.
Unfortunately, we were not given the luxury of our Summer Garden Party due to the current pandemic, which is a great shame. But, remaining optimistic, perhaps this will mean we are looking forward even more to welcoming the next cohort of physicists to the College this Michaelmas. Or, maybe those of us leaving the College have been given yet another excuse to come back and visit in the sunshine.
Jules Desai (2016)
Roger Bacon Society President 2019-20