Although I have now been living in Paris for five or so weeks, I only had my first full week of lectures last week. We had to give some indication of the courses that we wanted to take back in April. Ever since then I had been vaguely apprehensive about the classes I would be taking – a mixture really between the fear that they would be too hard mathematically and the fear that I just wouldn’t understand a word of what was being said. Well after one week of full lectures I am happy with the selection so far. In “Conception of Dangerous Strucutres” (there is Ronseal element to some of these course titles http://www2.ronseal.co.uk/) we will be spending the first three weeks looking at designing dams. Then we will move on to nuclear power stations and finally oil platforms. Lots of juicy danger for us to get our risk assessing teeth into. “Bridge Conception” is a tour de force of every time of bridge you could think of, each week given by an expert. Heaven!
The core desgin options – steel and concrete – were not nearly as baffling in French as I had expected. It did however help that we had covered some of this material before at Imperial. The twist here is that we are learning EuroCode instead of fuddy duddy old British Standards, whatever they are. Finally, the one that I feared was going to be the most mathematical, entitled Parasismic Studies, has recently had its maths content reduced after some complaints. Now if this all sounds like a walk in the park then let us not forget that all of the above is in French, as will be my exams. So, all things considered, a little déja vu is no bad thing.