Now that half of the semester is done and dusted and the first wave of assignments are over (PHEW!), I am reminded at how I was mind-blown by my first ever lecture in University of Edinburgh. I bring to you, the magic of Ricky Carvel (who we nicknamed Tricky Ricky cos he sure knows how to bamboozle you in his assignments) in the world of Fire Science and Dynamics.

His first question posed to the class who is all ready to learn some fancy equations and complicated calculations was….


That was the exact slide which popped up and I have to admit, it stunned me. Curious to know the answer? Well, it has something to do with fuel, air, combustion and something about the wick but that’s not the point. We never truly thought through simple phenomenons like an innocent candle yet we are trying to solve bigger issues like building fires and explosions. So first lesson, always go down to the fundamentals. Question even the most simplest of things and our knowledge will build from there.

Towards the end of the lecture, we were all excited and ready to see what he has in store for our homework. However, we got the best homework of all…


It’s MOVIE SCREENING time!!! (Check out how Ricky even bothered to use the same font for “Not so great fire dynamics”). The IMFSE class watched the movie together in a super cool study room in King’s Building to uncover the fire dynamics mystery behind the movie (yeah right…. actually we just wanted an excuse to watch Deadpool again!). A little secret… the University of Edinburgh has the BEST study rooms that could be booked by students to have group study sessions with awesome AV technology too! After several rounds of discussions in our Whatsapp group chat, we solved the mystery but I ain’t gonna be a spoiler for all you future IMFSE students out there. So, here’s a hint… focus on this scene right here…

It’s not like we had a homework with movies every week but Ricky really pique our interest in fire dynamics with his entertaining delivery of a potentially dry topic and in-class experiments like exploding cans of methane and burning whisky throughout our course. Of course, that does not discount the fact this course is really technical and the following tutorials and homework are not for the faint-hearted. However, I am glad that the IMFSE team made full use of the cool study rooms and met up almost every week before the tutorial to discuss the problems together. Although it could get pretty heated with equations and theories bouncing off the walls, it created a camaraderie and learning environment that I truly appreciate.

During one of our study sessions, the cafe gave us leftover food as sustenance for our brain draining discussions. Sometimes, hard work really do reap rewards. ­čÖé

By the way, anyone in Edinburgh on the 2nd November 2017, check out our super cool personal tutor and IMFSE representative in Edinburgh who is also the BRE Chair of Fire Safety Engineering give his inaugural speech on “From Phlogiston to Spacecraft Fire Safety – The Chemistry and Physics of Flames”. He is the one and only Professor Grunde Jomaas!!!┬áThe lecture is open to all so come on down. For more information, please visit┬áthis website.┬áSee you there!