Here at DIFC, we are lucky to have such a wonderful teaching team. Every morning they come to DIFC with only one thing on their minds: how to help their students (that and whether to go to Noshington’s or the canteen for a coffee). Of all those minds, perhaps the most complex and mysterious belongs to Stephen Walsh, our physics lecturer. Loved by his students and pestered by those colleagues who don’t really understand computers, Stephen is a legend at DIFC. As well as being a phenomenally gifted teacher, Stephen has also pioneered many innovations in the way we do things here. With extreme caution we decided to climb inside that huge brain of his and find out a little bit more.
Stephen, can you tell us a bit about your role at DIFC?
Well… I teach Mathematics, Physics, some EAP, ICT, Statistics and probably other things I can’t think of right now. So I’m a rather busy man at DIFC, as you can see.
Is your class tough? What should I expect?
Good question, it depends on what you mean by tough. It is not, as the Americans say, a cake walk. It does require hard word. If you want to do well, that is, get an A/B you will need to put a lot of effort in. But, even though it is hard work, anyone can do it. Really! I have seen students come in on 25% (Fail grade) and improve to 75% (A grade).
Are there a lot of assignments on your course?
We do two in total, one in each semester. Students will have to write up two Mathematical based reports/studies. Most of you are thinking, that’s impossible, I’ve never done anything like that before. I’ve only done Science Lab write-ups. You’ll be surprised by what you’ll produce and you will likely do a better job on it than you think right now.
What do you enjoy about your job?
Probably working with Stephen B. Not only is he well dressed and charismatic but he also inspires me every day with his profound wisdom.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Right, so I have my Mathematics degree from Trinity College and my Masters in Mathematical-Physics from UCD. I also have a CELT from the Dublin School of English. I’m a part qualified actuary with SOA America, I hold a few Coursera Certs and right now I’m working on a sisco computer security cert. I enjoy reading non-fiction in my free time and coding up some programs, python is the “flavour of the month” right now.
Why did you choose to follow a career in Physics/Maths?
Maths and Physics rocks, enough said.
Were you a good student?
M’eh — slightly above average, I enjoyed studying Maths and Physics at high school, but not all of my subjects appealed to me.
Do you have any advice for someone starting on your course in 2015?
Leave the excuses at the door and be ready to work – and you will succeed.