Friday, June 24, 2011

San Fran and week 2

Wow! I'm really bad at keeping this writing up. Ok quick overview of the week. We had a new professor, Dr. Dale Ensor of Tennessee Tech. We went over like 5 chapters or so this week. But that was the easy part. This week involved lots of lab stuff. We had a report due Monday and a lab to do each day. Then we had reports due also on Thursday and Friday. And there was also a radiation safety quiz and a weekly web quiz. This week was brutal. I'm sitting her at my computer on Friday night so worn out looking back on the week.

Today we had a full day of lecture and two guest lecturers as well. 7 hours total of sitting listening intently (a.k.a. barely keeping my head in a fully upright position). I wish I was able to keep awake for the whole time but it's really hard. Today's lecturers were Heino Nitsche and Brian Powell. They were interesting people. Heino will be our professor next week too. He was an interesting character and a very entertaining lecturer. After the lectures we went to a Japanese seafood and steakhouse. It was hibachi-style cooking with the chef making the food in front of us. That was really cool and it was my first time at anything like it. It was quite an experience and even Vic from the lab came with us. I love Vic he is such a character. Such a friendly guy. So yeah that was my week 2 and tomorrow is Santa Cruz. CAN NOT WAIT to play volleyball and frisbee in the sand on the beach. It will be EPIC!!! And in the morning is Redwood National Park another priceless opportunity. It will be AMAZING!!!!

So now let's backtrack to last weekend. San Fran. It was so awesome. All the students went and the TAs and Herb. Well we first started with the drive over there which was not bad. Apparently according to two other passengers, I'm a good radio DJ. Thanks Nomi and Jordan. Anyway we got there and we, except Herb, got onto a boat that brought us around the Bay and near Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was so great. The skyline of San Fran is not nearly as skyline-y as Philly or New York, where you can't even see the sky from amongst the buildings. It was a nice city, except for the huge <45 degree roads. They were a pain, literally, to walk up. So anyway, after the cruise thing, we went to the marketplace and got lunch. Some people bought loaves of bread to bring back to eat at the I House, some didn't even make it back. It was really good.

After the marketplace we walked to Chinatown, where a lot of people like to sell fireworks for some reason... Anyway, we went to a few places that had Chinese art and other random trinkets. Probably the most entertaining part was when Kurt shot one of the tapioca balls from his bubble tea at a sign about 25 yards away with his straw. It was pretty amazing. So after Chinatown we made our way toward Union Square. There we went into Girardelli's!!!! YES!!! You know I got a souvenir. I got a pack of 4 large bars with a San Francisco box. And with it I got another free bar that I have been slowly devouring since.

Then we stopped by a few other stores and stuff. By that point it was getting close to the time for dinner. So we took a cable car back to the pier. That was a great trip. It was different definitely. So for dinner we went to Neptune's Palace. It was a pretty good dinner. Then afterwards I shared an amazing chocolate lava cake with Kalee and even Steve gave me a quarter or so of his. Herb stopped me just short of licking the plate. It was so delicious!!! I wish it could have been bigger, oh well. Then after dinner we left for the I House and San Jose. We tried to go to Lombard street but along the way we almost crashed twice and Herb was getting too frustrated to bother. So we just drove past it. Overall it was a very satisfying and entertaining trip. And for anyone who cares, it does get cold, especially in San Fran.

Well tomorrow will be good, hopefully the next week won't be as bad as I'm imagining. 4 lab reports due, on top of a radiation safety final, and lecture mid term. Not to mention going through 4 more chapters of notes. Well I guess we will see...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Week 1 San Jose

Day 3. Honestly it was really long. I can't remember much of it.

I got up at 7 and went down for breakfast. Then class started at 8:30. This first week we had Professor Paul Benny from Washington State University. He taught us about the history of Nuclear Chemistry, which I actually had learned about, reading the Glenn Seaborg book I borrowed from the Chemistry Department back home. Class is nice here because we get recess. Yeah. Not since 5th grade have I had recess. It's nice though because 3 and 4 hours of lecture is really tough to get through at once. So for recess we went to the courtyard and played frisbee and volleyball. Lots of fun.

Then lunch was at noon and we had an extended period that was intended for a tour but didn't need it considering we have been around the area quite a bit. So lab lecture was after the break period. We learned about radiation safety and different little things from Vic from the lab. Vic was cool enough to let us out at 4 instead of 5.

After class a large group of us went around and took some pictures.

Honestly I don't remember much of the stuff that happened a few days ago. During the walk we went a lot of places. I think this was the day I got quite a few good pictures.

Day 2 of class was fun too this would be the first day in the lab. We got our radiation badges and temporary lab coats and even some new goggles to keep. The first day was spent learning about Geiger counters and working to find radioactive areas in the lab that Vic made for us to practice. We had lots of recess during lab lecture with Vic because he is AWESOME!!

After class was spent doing pretty much nothing. We had a quiz to do from Frank Kinard one of the main professors in charge. I actually just got my results 9.75/10. Oh yeah!

The next day however was much more demanding. We had a real lab to do. It was not child's play but it was cool nonetheless. The day started with class until lunch. Then after lunch was lab lecture and lab. First lab, I got paired with Steve. We did a great job on the sealed sources. It was cool to learn more about how G-M counters work and the data was fun to take. However, working with it afterward was ANNOYING!!!! So tedious. So that night was spent working until about 10 on the report then I just stopped. Bed after that.

Day 5 of San Jose was probably the worst yet. Class was usual, learned a fair amount. Then lunch, lab lecture and lab 2. But after class, dinner then lab report 1 from 6pm to 12pm. That was tiring. And really FRUSTRATING!!!! But Travis and Ali had it worse because they stayed up until 6am doing it. Don't know how they survived today.

Today was not bad so far. About to head to lab lecture and lab. So I shall finish this later.

Update again!

The lectures were pretty good. Still not sure if I really want to do nuclear chemistry though. Dr. Ralf Sudowe and Dr. Paul Carol were the lecturers for the first week. Dr. Sudowe did a presentation on the Japan meltdown. It was really informative and quite enlightening. Dr. Carol did a presentation on high energy reactions, basically smashing really big stuff together. (Well big on the atomic scale!!)

After the lectures, which, while interesting, were still able to make us sleepy, we went to dinner at Teske's, a German restaurant. It was so good. I had veal cordon bleu (a very "German" dish...). We talked with Dr. Benny, our professor for the last week and the other two lecturers and Herb. It was a whole lot of fun.

After dinner ended at 7ish we walked home. When we got back a few of us played pool until bed. Lots of fun was had. And today was even better. San Fran. But that is for another post.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 2 San Jose

Day two started with a crappy night sleep. Oh well. Not much could be done. Tired but still surviving. Woke up at 9, showered, then breakfast. After that 9 of us went out with Kurt and played Frisbee and football. Then we walked around Downtown. So much nicer than Philly. It’s like a big city but not. It’s so nice. I like the smaller buildings and more spacious environment. I can’t wait until I can be a tourist and go around taking pictures for everyone to see. We are currently sitting around. Everyone is playing card games. I believe we are going to dinner around 5 (it’s now about 1:30), I think it’s somewhere called the Elephant Bar. I shall return later to update this about the rest of the day.


Well today was a very active day. After the morning activities, a group of us went to the park again and played Frisbee and kicked the new volleyball. Then Kurt joined and threw Frisbee. Then played volleyball without a net. Then Ali, Kalee, and Logan joined as well and we played volleyball for a few hours. Then we went back to the I House to get cleaned up before dinner.

Around 5, we went to the Elephant Bar. I had way more food than I have had in a long time. I was so full. Steak and shrimp and brownie dessert. So delicious. We also had a professor and Herb and his wife come with us along with Kurt and Brandon. Afterward we went back to the I House and Ali and I decided we wanted to tourist it up and take pictures of the surrounding area. Eventually a bunch of others joined in and we had a group of about 10 people walking around. We ended up taking few pictures but it was fun nonetheless. So Ali and I will go around tomorrow or some other day to take more pictures. When we got back Travis, Jeff and I went to the basement and played a bit of pool before bed. And that is the end of day 2. Tomorrow is the first day of classes and I am pretty nervous/excited. We shall see how this goes.

Day 1 San Jose

Well first day is complete but there is no internet currently so this will probably go up pretty late. Anyway. First day. Got on first plane in Philly at around 6am EST. Got to Minneapolis at around 8am local time which means the flight was around 3 hours (yeah first time zone switch). Then met up with my awesome roommate Travis because we luckily picked the same flight to San Jose. We got out plane around 9:30 ish local time and then landed in Cali at 11:30 ish Pacific time (meaning the flight was 4 hours).

We landed and found Brandon, one of our awesome TAs. He gave us a tour of the local area and gave us some tips about the class seeing as he was in our boat last year. Eventually we got to the I-House, our home for the next 6 weeks. There we got a room and keys to everything. We met up with the only people here before us, Ali and Jordan. We moved our stuff in and during that time Jeff also moved in. Then all 5 of us took a long walk around the area. We got lost and really had an interesting time trying to figure out where we were going. Eventually when we made our way back, I just happened to make a lucky guess of which street our building was on. Apparently now I am the designated direction rememberer.

So when we got back we met with Kalee another of the girls here. Then a few of us went with Brandon to find out where the gym is. When we returned Travis, Jeff and I went to the basement to play foosball and pool. Eventually Kalee also joined. Ali had fallen into a coma like sleep while she was in her bed. Later we got pizza for dinner and the 5 of us (Ali was still sleeping) ate with Herb, one of the professors in charge, and the TAs, Brandon and Kurt, also students from last year. We all talked about the program and all the interesting and fun stuff that will happen while we are here.

After dinner Ali, Kalee, Travis, Jeff and I all went around and tried to look for a park where we could play Frisbee. This took way longer than intended because eventually we realized we were going the wrong direction. When we finally made our way to the real park we threw for quite a while. Then we found a trail that lead to a little stream-like body of water and we stayed there and talked for a while. By the time we left it was well after 8pm. Then we came back to greet our other classmates who had just arrived or otherwise had yet to arrive.
When we found all those who had arrived, we made our ways to the basement again. We played some pool. We talked about ourselves. By the end of this bonding time it was well after 11pm if not midnight. I was falling asleep sitting up. And so concludes our first day at Nuclear Summer School. Day 2 looks to be fun. We shall see.