Freshers’ Fair Round-Up: A Guide to Science & Tech Societies at Oxford

Science and Technology

Image Description: two people at the Biological Society stall at the Freshers’ Fair.

 

All I remember of my Freshers’ Fair two years ago was how hot Exams Schools was, and how so many people kept trying to make small talk with me, neither of which agreed with (what is still) the worst hangover of my life. I signed up for the most random selection of societies, desperate to escape for some fresh air, and still get their emails to this day… 

This year, however, I rocked up to Freshers’ Fair bright and early on Thursday morning and took a look at all the science and technology societies Oxford has to offer, so you won’t miss out even if your first ever Park End was as eventful as mine. I asked everyone three simple questions: firstly “summarise your society in one sentence?”, then “what is your first event of this term?” and finally “which event are you most excited for this term?”.

Enjoy!

Oxford Artificial Intelligence Society

“Aims to shape the future through building a community among the people driving development and creativity in AI via education, labs, community, and careers.”

First Event: Talk by Jack Hidary from Alphabet X – Thursday 1st week, 5.30pm, Saïd Business School (also streamed on their YouTube channel)

Best Event: VR-AI Mini Seminar, Wednesday 7th week, 5.30pm, via YouTube or Twitch

https://www.facebook.com/oxaisoc/

 

Oxford University Biological Society

“Academic and social events on the subject of life sciences.”

First Event: Welcome Drinks followed by a talk by Nobel Prize winner Prof. Sir John Gurdon – Friday 1st week, 5pm, Department of Plant Sciences Common Room

Best Event: First Animals Museum Tour, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History – Monday 5th week, Oxford University Museum of Natural History

https://www.facebook.com/oxfordbiosoc/

 

Oxford University Biotech Society

“Based on skills and entrepreneurship, we encourage members to take their ideas and run with them, beyond the theory of their degree.”

First Event: Welcome Social (details tbc)

Best Event: Biohackathon (details tbc)

https://www.facebook.com/oxfordbiotech/

 

Oxford University Chemistry and Biochemistry Society (OUCB)

“Social, speaker, and networking events for chemists and biochemists, to encourage integration between academia and industry.”

First Event: Freshers’ Unlimited Champagne Mixer – Thursday 1st week, 7pm, Hertford College MCR

Best Event: Christmas Formal (details tbc)

https://www.facebook.com/oucbsoc/

 

Oxford Climate Society (OCS)

“A group of climate interested people, holding weekly talks at the Oxford School of Climate Change, as well as other activities, including out blog, zine, workshops, and socials.”

First Event: Freshers’ Pub Social – 2nd week (details tbc)

Best Event: Why Politicians Ignore Science: From Galileo to Climate Change panel – Monday 3rd week, 7.15pm, Queen’s College Shulman Auditorium

https://www.facebook.com/OxfordClimateSoc/

 

Oxford Climate Justice Campaign (OCJC)

“A society lobbying the university and its colleges to reinvest from fossil fuels.”

First Event: Welcome (Back!) Social – Tuesday 1st week, 7.30pm, Trinity College Britton Room

Best Event: Rallies throughout term, and a collaboration with Decolonise Oxford is planned; The Divest and Decolonise Walking Tour of Oxford (details tbc)

https://www.facebook.com/OxfordClimateJustice/

 

Oxford University CompSoc

“A mix of academic and social events related to computer science.”

First Event: Welcome to CompSoc – Saturday 0th week, 5pm, Department of Computer Science

Best Event: Ports and Policy, there will be port and likely some computer chat – Saturday 2nd week, 7pm, Department of Computer Science

https://www.facebook.com/oxcompsoc/

 

Cortex Club: Oxford Neuroscience Society

“Connects researchers at Oxford with world-leading neuroscientists through debates, discussions, and socials.”

First Event: Freshers’ Welcome Event and Panel Discussion – Wednesday 0th week, 4pm, Department of Pharmacology

Best Event: Talk by Marcello Massimini on cortical networks during loss and recovery of consciousness – Tuesday 6th week, 4pm, Sherrington Building Small Lecture Theatre

https://www.facebook.com/OUCortexClub/

 

Oxford Drone Society

Sadly no-one from Oxford Drone Society was at the Freshers’ Fair as they were “off flying drones.” I have taken some liberties with the rest of the interview.

First Event: Welcome Event – shoot down drones carrying free drinks and pizza

Best Event: Flying drones (duh)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/oxfordresearchdronessociety/

 

Oxford Energy Society

“A society that explores how we will go from our current energy system to a net zero energy system, and the transitions involved – includes talks, career events, visits, and socials.”

First Event: Welcome Drinks – Wednesday 2nd week, 7pm, Worcester College Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre

Best Event: Trends and Careers in the Energy Sector discussion panel – Wednesday 6th week, 5.30pm, School of Geography Beckit Room

https://www.facebook.com/OxfordEnergySoc/

 

Oxford University Engineering Society

“A society for people interested in engineering, finance, and consultancy.”

First Event: Freshers’ Drinks – Tuesday 1st week, 7.30pm, The Varsity Club

Best Event: IMC Trading workshop – Tuesday 3rd week, 6.30pm, Christ Church College Lecture Room 2

https://www.facebook.com/OUEngSoc/

 

Oxford Females in Engineering, Science, and Technology (OxFEST)

“Social, career, networking, mentoring, speaking and conference events for females in engineering, science and technology.”

First Event: Welcome Drinks – Friday 1st week, 6.30pm, Hanks

Best Event: Christmas Dinner – Monday 8th week (details tbc)

https://www.facebook.com/oxfordfest/

 

Oxford Geography Society

“Talks, socials, formals, and career events, with lots of colouring-in.”

First Event: Colouring and Cocktails – Friday 1st week, 8.30pm, Christ Church College JCR

Best Event: Talk by Tim Marshall on world affairs and modern geopolitics – Wednesday 5th week, 2pm, School of Geography and the Environment HM Lecture Theatre

https://www.facebook.com/oxgeogsoc/

 

Oxford Hands-on Science

“We visit schools around the UK and run hands-on experiments to get kids excited about STEM.”

Get in touch to find out what’s happening, the main event of the year is the Summer Roadshow 24 June – 13 July.

https://www.facebook.com/oxfordhandsonscience/

 

Oxford University Physics Society

“Physics talks, classes, lectures, and socials.”

First Event: Freshers’ Social – Wednesday 1st week, 8.30 pm, St. John’s College Larkin Room

Best Event: Crewdate with PhilSoc, 4th week (date, time and location tbc)

https://www.facebook.com/physsoc/

 

Oxford University Psychology Society

“For psychology students and anyone else interested in psychology, we have speaker and social events related to psychology.”

First Event: Welcome Drinks, Thursday 1st week, 9pm, The King’s Arms

Best Event: Talk by Susan Blackmore of the mystery of consciousness – Wednesday 6th week, Corpus Christi Rainolds Room

https://www.facebook.com/oxfordpsychsoc/

 

Oxford Robotics and Additive Manufacturing Society (OxRAM)

“Talks, seminars, workshops, socials and outreach in the fields of robotics, additive manufacture and 3D printing.”

First Event: Welcome Event, Tuesday 1st week – 7pm, Science Oxford

Best Event: Robot wars (details tbc)

https://www.facebook.com/OxRAM/

 

Oxford University Rocketry Society

“We design, build, and launch rockets, rovers, and high altitude balloons for competition and research.”

Best Event: Launching their rocket at the UK Rocketry Competition

https://www.facebook.com/OxfordRocketrySociety/

 

Oxford University Scientific Society

These guys sadly weren’t at Freshers Fair, but I did pick up a termcard.

First Event: Talk by Prof. Masaaki Miyazawa on the arms race between retroviruses and mammals, followed by drinks – Thursday 1st week, 6.30pm, Exeter College Cohen Quad (Walton St.)

Best Event: I wasn’t able to ask these guys this, but I reckon that their talk with Nobel Prize winner Prof. Peter Ratcliffe on the implications of cellular oxygen sensing mechanisms for medicine – Wednesday 2nd week, 6.30pm, Oxford University Museum of Natural History

https://www.facebook.com/OUSciSoc/

 

Oxford Trees for the Future

“We’re a student society supporting the campaign to double UK tree cover by 2045, with a focus on lobbying colleges and the university to double tree cover on their land.”

First Event: Welcome Event and Talk by Guy Shrubsole – Monday 2nd week, 7pm, Department of Plant Sciences Schlich Lecture Theatre

Best Event: Tour of Wytham Woods – Wednesday 6th week, 1.30pm, meet at Wytham Woods car park

https://www.facebook.com/OxfordTreesfortheFuture/

 

As you can see, there really is something for everyone! Plus, not only do all the societies really do look great, they also offer many opportunities to grab free drinks and pizza. However,  if I were to give my top three, they’d probably be: 

3. CompSoc

Surprisingly good chat and social skills from CompSoc, I wouldn’t write these guys off, and they did promise free pizza. Also ‘port and policy’ – pure genius. They were also super patient explaining to me what a port is. Also a lot of emphasis on the port – I may go myself.

2. OxRAM

OxRAM also looked pretty cool. Their robot bartender excited me almost as much as when I heard Curtis from Love Island was coming to Fever, and they were all still really nice when I went back to look at it for the third time. NB – the robot was only serving water at the fair, so my judgement has not been influenced by a vodka orange (they would be first otherwise).

1. BioSoc

BioSoc have an actual Nobel Prize winner at their welcome event, and these guys are clearly know their audience as they’re serving drinks before the talk. Also I’ll finally get to live my dream of running around a museum after hours. The free pencil was top quality too.

 

Image Credit: image by author.