Photo Journey: Sydney

Visiting Sydney and speaking with influential Psychologists at University of New South Wales and Macquarie University was a really incredible experience. Here are some  of the images from that visit:

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The university of New South Wales campus. It is a beautiful, modern, tree-lined area that, even during the New Year’s break, was fairly active.

Pic_UNSW_Forg_ (16).JPGI love the way university campuses have integrated muraling and large art projects into their design. This one borders the University of New South Wales.

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View of Sydney’s downtown Ferris wheel, at Darling harbor.

Pic_Macqu_Coltheart_ (5).JPGView of Macquarie University campus from the Auditory Hearing Hub building. The auditory geek in me wonders why every campus doesn’t have an Auditory Hub. Macquarie has a sleek and modern campus, with wide open spaces and beautiful paths.

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Not to put too fine a point on it, but it was fulfilling to see Auditory Hub as the basis of the centre for Cognitive Science, Communication Disorders, Languages and Cultures, Philosophy at Macquarie U.

Pic_UNSW_Forg_ (4).JPGCampus muraling at Macquarie U.

sydney_hermitagemusThere is, of course, much art in and around Sydney such as is featured  at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (and it’s hosting of the traveling exhibit from the Hermitage Museum). Credit photo to Remy Gordon, age 12.

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Below the surface there is much more beauty to be seen in and around Sydney. This photo was taken by our guide James as he lead us snorkeling at Manly (a ferry ride from downtown Sydney).

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School remains in session for these fish during the New Year’s break — I tried to follow along but quite fit with this Australian system. Credit photo to James, our guide in Manly snorkeling.

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Fans of acoustics may recognize the requisite photo of Sydney’s Opera house, now undergoing major internal renovation to improve the ambient acoustical experience therein. I offer this acousticians blessing: May your reverberation be warm enough for the music to swell and cool enough so that every voice be heard.

One thing that struck me time and time again was the more liberal, and open feeling of Sydney relative to other places we’ve been spending time.  Most obvious? The Australian approach to graduate school. Students in a PhD program in Psychology often have almost no formal coursework and instead devote more than 90% of their time  to working on projects with their mentors. My graduate experience and continuing today in North America tends to involve more than 80% coursework in the first couple of years, dropping to about 40-50% coursework/50-60% scholarly projects in the final years. In the Aussie system is an emphasis on giving the students a lot of space to think, formulate, read to their interests, and develop projects. I’m not sure what the right course-project balance might be, but certainly it is easy to recognize how this devoted creative time would promote theoretical advancement and creative scholarship!

(Featured image is a screw-shaped, shark egg that had been embedded into the sea floor by the proud shark mother)

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