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2010 SPS National Interns
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  • Final Presentation
Foha Rafiq Foha Rafiq
University of Denver (CO)
Internship: APS (Physics to Go)
Physics To Go
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Hey All!

My name is Foha Rafiq and I am excited to be part of the 2010 SPS intern team. I am currently a sophomore in the University of Denver, CO, doing a dual degree program of BS in Physics and MS in Mechanical Engineering, i.e. in five years I shall have both of those degrees. I will be done with a minor in Mathematics this spring and I am debating about what else to minor in. I have been activity involved with two of my professors during winter quarter. For one of my professor I had collected the latest news concerning physics and given a presentation regarding it every week, so that he will know what is going on in the world of physics. With another professor I learned data reduction of HST (Hubble Space Telescope) data, which I shall continue next term.

In my off time (which I rarely have due to the workload) I am usually seen with a great novel in hand, watching movies, playing video games or just hanging out with friends. I also love to hit the gym or take a swim to de-stress myself. Recently I joined the new scuba diving club and am hopeful to explore underwater world in a few years to come. Also I love to explore places and try out new things, therefore I am really looking forward to this summers as I have never been to Washington, DC- it will be a whole new experience. I cannot wait for the summers to begin so that I can meet you all and have a blast!


Foha Rafiq Foha Rafiq
University of Denver (CO)
Internship: APS (Physics to Go)
Physics To Go
Follow SPS on: Twitter Facebook YouTube Photobucket The Nucleus Email and Share
A Glimpse into the World of Physics Teachers: The AAPT Summer Meeting
Friday, August 6th Friday, July 30th Friday, July 9th Friday, June 18th
Friday, July 23rd Friday, July 2nd Friday, June 11th
Friday, July 16th Friday, June 25th Friday, June 4th

Friday, August 6th

Here is the last of the entry for my internship. Well this week was not an official week as we basically spent our time working on our final presentation. The weekend was spent by most to work on the final presentation, but we were able to spend some time together at dinner at Gary’s house.
Monday was all day rehearsal for our final presentations with amazing feedback from everyone to help us improve our presentations for the final day.

Tuesday was all about presentations and it was a long day. Maybe because my presentation was third last one. Everyone did an excellent job with their improved presentations due to the rehearsal day. Point to be noted is that I was freezing in the conference room and would recommend the next year interns not to wear a dress if they don’t want to be too cold.
I was glad that my mentor liked my suggestions for the website and hope that some of them would be implemented. I met some great people during the presentations and it is always interesting to hear stories from all over the place.

The end of the day we had a frying pan tennis tournament in the hallway, then we went out to play croquet at the Washington Monument and watched inception before going to bed before the last day at ACP.

I was flying out on 4th hence was unable to go to any of the tours that were taking place. But I must say that this was one of the best summers of my life and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in DC.

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Friday, July 30th

Well the trip to Ocean City was quite amazing, I must say. Even though the trip did not turn out as well as I anticipated. The ride there was not 3 hrs as shown by Google maps but rather 6 hrs of a drag in the traffic. I was just sick and tired of traveling for so long in a car. But I was glad that I was not with Carl during the drive to Ocean City as his AC broke down and they had to travel all the way from DC without air conditioning. Luckily the condo that we booked it was quite nice. Yet the weather was horrendous especially the next day. It was so hot that I was melting in my skin. I also get sun burned quite easily which is visible in patches on my skin right now. Also Carl car broke down when we were trying to head back home, which totally sucked as some of us had to stay behind. It would have been nice again if the weather was not as bad as it was that weekend; if only the temperature was around 85-90 F it would have been perfect rather than above 100 F.

I began my last week and I feel crappy as I know my time here is coming to an end. I really don’t have much work to do except my last homepage, but I am working on my final presentation. I hope everything goes well.

This Wednesday we went to the Capitol Hill and Travis and Alex were our official tour guides. I am not interested in any kind of politics. I really do not care what the policy makers do and do not do. But I loved the tour as I am fascinated by historic building/places and the Capitol is enriched with history and cool facts. Travis and Alex did a great job! The coming weekend I do not know whether we would do any last minute tourist stuff, but we do have a SPS intern dinner at Gary’s house which I am looking forward to. 

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Friday, July 23rd

This week I had a blast, as few of the interns that work on outreach program of ACP went to Portland, OR to attend AAPT summer conference 2010.  The conference takes place every year twice, one in winter and one in summer. It is a platform where different people with physics background can meet each other and share their ideas. Also there are many sessions and workshops that are related to physics especially physics teaching.

Portland is a nice small city and from DC to Portland the dramatic weather change is obvious. I was unable to really explore the city as most of the time I was attending sessions but I was able to enjoy the city’s famous voodoo donuts. They were unique and delicious. I totally loved the one with oreo toppings and chocolate donut with vanilla crème filled in it. If someone does plan to go to Portland voodoo donuts is a sure place to stop by. But keep in mind that there is a long line to get in the store as it is so famous. Other than that I met many people, which is always fascinating because when you meet different people you are able hear different mind sets which is quite an entertainment in my opinion. After my visit to Portland I can surely say that I am more of a big city person. I am in love with DC and I totally loved New York and San Diego when I stayed there last year. There is so much to do and see in big cities; also I get this vibe from the locations which makes me want to stay there. I did like Portland but it is not a place that I would want to stay longer. Moreover, I live in Denver yet I do not get the same vibe as I got from the other cities that I love.

We were able to book an inexpensive condo in ocean city meaning that we are going to be having fun in the sun this weekend! I am super excited and hope that it is a fun weekend. Next week I will be working on my final presentation meaning that my fun journey is coming to an end… which saddens me as I have become really attached to this place.

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Friday, July 16th

Now as the weeks are coming to an end time is moving really fast, but so am I. I am done with the homepages for this summer and now working on homepages for the whole year. The set back of my work is usually getting the permission to use images, other than that everything goes in a flow.

I can also say that I have seen most of the important places in DC; hence I am quite pleased with how the summer is wrapping up. I am also going to Portland from 18th July to 21st July: looking forward to comfort hotel beds rather than a dorm mattress and of course enriching myself with sessions in the AAPT conference. Next weekend maybe 8 of the interns including me will be going to Ocean City MD, but there is a big MAYBE as we are unable to find an inexpensive hotel. 

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Friday, July 9th

Long weekend was really good and refreshing. I slept so much that I got tired of sleeping. Last Saturday we visited the National Geographic Museum which honestly was disappointing, as there were only two exhibitions. Even though the Leonardo Di Vinci’s exhibition was really informative and showed what a genius he was but I just wished Natgeo could have done better. Sunday was the fourth of July which was fun: 6 hours of wait for 20 minutes of firework, but the wait was worth it. Of course it was stupid of us to go the National Mall at 3 pm when the fireworks were not to happen till 9 pm. Well the folk festival was the main reason why we decided to do so, which was actually not worth going to, or maybe we were just too late for that to. The fireworks were magnificent and they looked even more amazing with diffraction glasses, the fireworks tripled in amount, but it also gave a headache. Whatever the ups and down of the day were it ended well and that is all that matters.

Amazingly I now have loads of work as there are many ideas for homepages but nothing solid, hence the ending weeks of my internship shall be quite busy. Moreover this Thursday we went to watch Toy Story 3, a perfect ending to an awesome trilogy! And this Friday we are going to a baseball game. I have never seen baseball, no idea about how the game is played and what are the rules I should google that. I am not really a sports fan, even though I do watch soccer, basketball and tennis, but I am not going to be the one who knows team players and know rules by heart. This reminds me whether I should go watch soccer final game in the National African Art Museum as they are showing it. I really hope Spain wins! Also we are going on top of Washington Monument this Saturday, at last =D

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Friday, July 2nd

I cannot imagine that a whole month has passed! I have mixed emotions regarding this fact. I am enjoying my time here a lot so I would love to stay longer, yet I want to have days like the last weekend when I had nothing to do. I am not really a fan of “nothingness” but last weekend was fun. Even though my excitement went downhill as we did not go on top of the Washington monument…sigh. But I plan to do it next to next weekend, even if I have to go alone. Also we were supposed to see the Navy band play on Sunday which I completely forgot and I do not really know why others didn’t go.

As for work goes I am quite content with everything that I am doing even though there are many times when I am free and kind of bored. The latest issue is somewhat based on my suggestion which makes me happy. The Mystery of the Racing Rocksis something that I found out through research hence building a whole homepage related to it. This is what I really enjoy about my work, finding such amazing facts about the world. Also I found this interactive about building solar systems which is fun to play with.

I have also booked my flight to Portland for the AAPT meeting, which I am excited about as I never been there. After visiting Portland I can safely say that I have traveled every corner of U.S, except Florida which can wait especially after the oil spill.

Moreover, the dinner at Fred and Dylla’s house was really nice. Just mingling around with everyone and enjoying good food and playing games. Even though I was horrible in each and every one of the game but who cares, it is all about enjoying oneself. Also I was amazed by the garden they had and I was impressed about the décor and thought a landscaper had worked on it but to my surprised I learnt that it was actually Dylla herself who did an amazing job in making the garden the way it was.

This weekend is going to be AweSOME as it is the 4th of July weekend! I am really looking forward to it and celebrating the national holiday. Moreover, Monday is off and getting a weekday off is always pleasurable.

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Friday, June 25th

This week has been quite entertaining I must say. We had an ACP picnic and an egg drop competition in our office which was quite fun. I am so glad that I work in one of the coolest offices ever. =D

The ACP picnic was quite fun as it shows that a physicist knows how to have fun. It was nice way of mingling with people from other floors and getting to know how everyone was doing. Moreover it showed just because you have studied physics does not mean you are boring with no other skill you know nothing else. The open mice session showed how diverse people are and their interest range is very board. The egg drop competition was awesome as it shows the creativity of different people. Also Linda's design won which is cool in its own way.

This week we completed our exploration of the National Mall which I believe is an achievement on its own. And i have come to the conclusion that FDR's monument is the best. Also I totally enjoy night sightseeing as I am entertained by Linda & Raina by their "dance" of getting away from invisible insects. Even though I am not a fan of the commute but I am glad that we live in DC as everything is walking distance away. 

This weekend we would be going on top of the Washington monument something that i am really excited about. Even though many are going to the beach this Saturday i plan not to do so as i wish to stay in and sleep. I have been sleeping too much lately, which i believe is great! 

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Friday, June 18th

Last weekend was an okay weekend. It was my first time ever to watch a soccer match in a bar. I will not say it was a pleasant experience as we missed the first half and the second half I spent standing the whole time and was surrounded by drunken people. In the future I shall not watch a live match in a bar the comfort of my room is what I seriously love. The entertaining for the whole experience would be that we walked around the Dupont circle region. Also seeing so many people enthusiastic about soccer was pleasing. It is quite unfortunate that I have not been able to watch as many matches as I want to due to work. Hopefully I will be able to watch the semi-finals and the final.  Also we went to the National Gallery of Art and I have come to the conclusion that I am not an art person. Art is nice but seeing paintings and paintings of all the people and places is not something that I truly do not enjoy. I do like some of the landscape paintings but it is just too much of Art that I am not interested. Even though I would have loved to go the National Archives that day everyone was tired so we decided to head back which was disappointing.

My whole week on the other hand has been productive and I am pleased with myself. The best part of this week has been the fact that one of my suggestions for the homepage of physicstogo was accepted by my mentor. I am happy that I am able to provide ideas and they are considered rather than being dismissed for being idiotic. I am ahead of my planned schedule for the summer so I am really satisfied with what I am doing. I am also hoping that my mentor is satisfied with my performance. I need to ask him about that though.

This week’s Friday was fantastic as I did not go to work but that is not the reason for it being good. We went to a high school and an elementary school for outreach which was quite a success. I was able to see how different ages perceive things and it was interesting to see that people get excited with simple physics. It was nice ending to the week. I am looking forward to other outreach programs even though I am not one of those people who are able to explain things well, but the other interns are, so I can always enjoy watching people being awed by simple things in life.

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Friday, June 11th

Time seems to be passing in the strangest way ever: it seems like it will never end yet two weeks are over and only seven are left. Last weekend was amazing as I had no tension about a quiz, project assignment or anything college related. After a lazy Saturday morning interns and I went to the Natural History Museum. It was fascinating as history has always been something that I enjoy. The ocean life, mineralogy and bones section were the best. The museum trip took our whole day and everyone stated that they were tired hence we went back even though I was still eager to see other nearby places. Then Sunday was an unforgettable night as we went Chili Bowl (where apparently Obama and other famous people ate) and afterwards watched Sophisticated Ladies musical which was breathtaking awesome.

This week at work has also been quite relaxed compared to my beginning days. Most of the time I am done with work before the time to leave so I have been goofing around a little, i.e. trying to be lazy about things. Maybe I am still in the gear of completely stuff quickly even though I don’t have too. Here I have a much more “nicer” timeline for things that are due unlike college assignment (and yes I am comparing everything with school).

I have also been trying to take random pictures of things that I see as I want to capture the moments of my life that are going to be a beautiful memory. Other than that I am not enjoying cooking and I am low in cash as well; can’t wait to get my paycheck. But I will have to use that to book a ticket home so I will have to find a way to survive a few weeks with hardly any money (this is kind of going too much in future). Anyways I am totally enjoying my 7.5-8 hours of sleep which I have not gotten since the beginning of this year. My friends would be proud as they have always urges me to get 8 hours of sleep. Also coming weekend hopefully we will explore some more places and not just one but rather Many

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Friday, June 4th

The excitement of coming to DC is all over as I have arrived late and tired. Yet I am really pleased with my internship position and cannot wait to be fully immersed in my work. Washington DC: the nation’s capital is a place like no other. I grew up in a small city and go to college in a small city hence I had no idea what a big city is all about. The people are so in rush as if running after something or running from something. All dressed up in business clothes and not waiting or looking around to see their magnificent city. I am amazed how I was forced to walk the same walk as everyone was doing and I did it quite well.

In my first few days the only thing that I saw was buildings or tunnels. There are no empty lots as visible in Denver. Living in Downtown will indeed take some time to adjust.

But overall work experience has been great and everyone in the building is just amazing. I have completed first of my Homepages as part of internship and I am proud of my accomplishment. =]

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Foha Rafiq Foha Rafiq
University of Denver (CO)
Internship: APS (Physics to Go)
Physics To Go
Follow SPS on: Twitter Facebook YouTube Photobucket The Nucleus Email and Share
Final Presentation

Physics To Go

Physics to Go ( is a non-profit outreach website, an informal collection of electronic resources devoted to physics targeted at an audience which is interested in learning physics on its own. It is funded by National Science Foundation and is a member of the comPADRE Digital Library. Physics to Go, maintained by the American Physical Society (APS), is my internship project this summer. My role is to update its biweekly magazine homepage which focuses on a different topic in physics by featuring websites from the Physics to Go collection. Updates are made possible by adding informative sites to the collection and writing descriptions of them for the homepage. I was selected for this position at APS by the Society of Physics Students (SPS) summer internship program, hosted by the American Institute of Physics (AIP).
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