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This last weekend, most of the other interns and I made a road trip out to Ocean City, Maryland. It took us almost twice as long to get there as we planned because of traffic, but it was worth it. We spent most of the time on the beach and in the water body surfing and whatnot. At night we played tiki (or sticks), which is a game that apparently hasn’t made its way out of Illinois yet. Then we hit the boardwalk/beach, where I indeed lost both my sandals (see 2 journals ago). We went to the beach again the last day and then spent a few hours trying to get the other car to start so we could go home… which didn’t work.
This week at MRSEC we are teaching a Nanoscience camp. It’s not as fun for me as last week’s camp but I’m still enjoying it. We got to play with liquid nitrogen again and I showed off some magnetic ferrofluid and shape memory wire. I also led the liquid crystal activity today, which meant I finally got to show off the formula I spent hours perfecting a couple weeks ago.
So this was my last week of work in DC, but it didn’t feel like it. I guess we just have the presentations to do on the 3rd. This summer has had its ups and downs (mostly ups), but overall it was definitely a good experience. I’m glad I could be out here and I hope you enjoyed reading my insanely awesome journals.
To be continued… maybe?
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So my prediction from last week was correct. Crazy, I know. This last weekend, 4 other interns and I went to the Chesapeake Bay (well, South River) with the intent to rent a jet ski and instead decided to rent a speedboat, which was a very good choice. We also rented a tube and got to enjoy driving around dragging fellow interns behind us in it. That provided 2 hours of fun all for the low price of $68 a person.
The Science, Engineering, and You summer camp started at MRSEC this week and it went, you guessed it, very well (my predictions are just dead on). The kids seemed to like the camp almost as much as I did. I don’t care who you are, playing with liquid nitrogen is cool whether you’re 12 or 22. We connected with the kids a lot this week. One of them made a bracelet for another counselor and gave it to him the last day of the camp… and it said “biscuits” (funny story). Another girl found out about my obsession with wolves (don’t ask) and immediately connected with me, as she also likes wolves. She drew me a picture of a wolf and gave it to me the last day of camp and, cue the “awwwws,” shed a few tears on the way out. I guess that means we did a good job.
Tune in next week to here all about our intern shenanigans in Ocean City, Maryland.
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I apologize. I put this journal up VERY late and I’m having trouble remembering what I did that week so bear with me, as I’m still going to write it as if it actually is July 16th. Fun stuff. Any complaints, feel free to spam my mom with hate mail.
Anyway, we had a lot of fun again this last hypothetical weekend. We went to a Washington Nationals game to watch them borderline humiliate the Giants in an 8 to 1 victory, compliments of SPS. I’m not really a baseball fan but actually being there makes it a lot more interesting. Even more interesting is that I paid $13.50 for a hotdog and a beer. You know, if I went back ten years and told myself that I would one day pay $13.50 to drink a lukewarm bitter beverage made from yeast and eat ground up left over animal “garbage parts” ground into a fine paste and elegantly formed into a stick and thrown on a cold, stale bun…. never mind. It was worth it. Saturday I attended a nice little party that spanned three floors of our building, which was awesome. I met a lot of the other interns from the rest of the building.
There was still no summer camp going on at MRSEC, just more preparation this week. It’s getting a little intense with everyone running around trying to get everything organized. We also got two new camp counselors this week and we’re expecting a third on Monday when the camp starts. The extra help is definitely a luxury, and I have a feeling this camp will go very well. But that’s just a feeling. I couldn’t possibly know that at this point in time. I also have a feeling that a few interns and I will be swayed into renting a boat instead of a jet ski on the Chesapeake Bay this weekend and that I might lose one, if not both, of my sandals somewhere in Maryland two weeks from now… but that probably won’t happen.
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My second week at MRSEC went a lot better than the first. Right now we are still not working with any kids yet, but preparing for the upcoming camps is just as fun because I get to do all the activities and experiments. I spent a good amount of time making liquid crystals that will be used in the camps. It took forever to find the right combination of chemicals to make the best solution but now it works great. Barely touching it with your finger drastically changes its color. It’s kind of nice exchanging knowledge with everyone here. I get to show the other counselors how to do physics experiments and they show me chemistry and other activities.
Last weekend was the Fourth of July, which was a lot of fun in the capital. We went to the Mall for the Folklife Festival during the day. It looked fun from the outside but was actually very boring once we were there (in my opinion). If you are in DC for the Fourth, avoid the Folklife Festival. The fireworks, however, were awesome. We had a nice spot right in front of the Washington Monument, and all of us physicists brought our sweet diffraction glasses to make the fireworks about 243% cooler (I think I posted a video of it on the Flickr page). I also had fun with my hi-powered laser that got the attention of bystanders and probably the FBI. So it was a fun weekend.
This week’s fun physics fact: fire extinguishers set off smoke detectors.
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I just finished my first week at the summer camp at MRSEC. It’s a pretty cool experience but it’s not a physics camp, which is a bit of a disappointment to me. However, they are doing some impressive things like the gecko tape I mentioned last week. Also, waking up an hour earlier every morning to get there on time is pretty brutal. Oh well, the next two weeks will be mostly training so I won’t have to be there as early, and the two weeks after that should have a couple cool camps.
Outside of work, we’re having a lot of fun. On Saturday Shane, Wahab, and I went to Great Falls National Park. The trails are fun and the falls are amazing. The real fun was climbing from rock to rock out to the middle of the river though. I just don’t recommend wearing flip-flops. I had to take them off to climb the rocks which cut up my feet quite a bit. Now it’s the Fourth of July weekend and I can’t wait to spend it in the nation’s capital.
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This week wasn’t all too eventful. I made a lot of progress on the write-up for the laser lesson in the SOCK. On Wednesday I made a trip over to the University of Maryland to visit MRSEC, the summer camp that I will be working at for the rest of the summer starting on Monday. It was a nice visit and I really like what they’re working on, though it’s not physics based. They have the kids making “gecko tape,” which is tape that simulates a gecko’s foot. This means it only sticks when it’s sliding, but when you pull up and out it comes right off. Basically, they’re working towards making Spiderman a real thing.
Yesterday we had a picnic here at the ACP, along with a surprisingly good talent show. The food was great, the dessert was better, and the weather was unbelievably hot (98°F). It has been over 90° for days now with lows of about 80°. So, I’m looking forward to a much needed weekend. Fortunately, we are planning a trip to the beach on Saturday and if all goes according to plan, we should be going up in the Washington Monument on Sunday (something we’ve been trying to do since we got here).
This is my last day working here (officially) at the ACP, which is kind of depressing. Hopefully the summer camp at MRSEC will be fun. However I am really not looking forward to having to wake up an hour earlier every morning.
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By now, we already have this year’s SOCK almost 2/3 complete. We just have a few wrinkles to iron out and another activity to add. We actually got to “test” them out at a high school and an elementary school. Jasdeep and I lead the demonstrations, while 6 other interns assisted us (thanks everyone). Overall it went very well and I think most everyone enjoyed the demonstrations. We were able to adjust the activities to better suit their respective audience. The trip also gave us an idea of what to change, leave the same, or not do at all.
After we got back, we took a trip over to the Einstein Memorial and the Lincoln Memory and took some creative photography. A few of us went out to Friday’s to enjoy their usual terrible service after that (and why is there always multiple armed cops their?). Then we finished the evening by watching the new Alice in Wonderland movie. Saturday, we just went to the Froggy Bottom Pub to play some pool. On Sunday a few of us went to the American History Museum, which was pretty cool for the most part. The Star Spangled Banner was definitely the best exhibit. I was a little disappointed that it didn’t go through the full story behind the song, which most people don’t know (and I suggest you watch here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwa-lSVqA1M ).
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After week two I am having an even better time, especially since I know how to avoid the traffic in the city now. I do wish I had been at home for my birthday on Sunday, though. Oh well. We went out to a play on Sunday which was pretty cool, however I’m not a “play person.” Monday was fun. Carl, Shane, and I went walking around DC and befriended a bartender ha ha. Then Wednesday was awesome. We watched the Hawks take the Stanley Cup and celebrated for the night. GO HAWKS!
This week we have been making some real progress on the SOCKs. So far we have been working on a couple optics experiments and a mechanical one. By far the coolest thing we have been working with is the Spectra Sound kit, which transmits your music from your iPod to speakers using a laser (Available from laserfest.org for the low low price of $15. Act now and receive 2 for $30).
Today we went shopping for supplies for the SOCKs and went out to lunch with Gary. We also put together a tool kit and soldering station and whatnot for the office, which is like Christmas for a physicist/engineer. So I’m happy. We had a very productive week. Now it’s Friday and we get to leave early and the only thing stopping me is writing this, so… yeah that’s all I have for now. Go buy your super awesome Spectra Sound kit.
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So this week is finally coming to an end. I have a slightly negative opinion of this city so far, but that is based purely on the traffic here. At any given time there are between 5 and 10 times the number of cars on the road that there should be, and they all drive like they are on the way to the hospital with a pregnant woman in the back about to give birth. It literally took me an hour an a half to travel the last 2 miles of my trip back from work yesterday.
Aside from the traffic, Washington is a pretty great city with A LOT to see. My running route has definitely improved. When asked the question “where did you run to?” how many people get to say “well, first I ran around the Lincoln Memorial then down past the reflection pool, around the Washington Monument, and up to Capitol Hill and back?”
The other interns are great and we’ve been out on the town a few times. I keep trying to drag people out with me to watch the Stanley Cup games, but I very well might be the only Blackhawks fan in the city. Maybe I’ll have better luck finding a good sports bar tonight for game 4.
The internship itself is off to a bit of a slow start, but that’s just because we’re still in the planning phase and trying to figure out how we would like to spend the rest of the summer. The American Center for Physics is a great work environment, though, and it’s filled with helpful and friendly people. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the summer. It should be a lot of fun.
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