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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

At the Halfway Point

Today is exactly the halfway point of my program, which means I have exactly a week and a half before I have to go back to California and start my senior year. I honestly don't want to go back because I'm enjoying my stay here. While a few members of my cohort may disagree, I am definitely going to miss Penn. Anyways, I started my morning as usual with breakfast at the Commons. It was actually raining today, so it was a bit colder than usual. Mr. Hillyer told us before that Philadelphia rain was actually warm, but that was definitely not true today.

The rain lightened up a bit at around 8:40 AM, but I still had to use an umbrella when I walked to class. There were already people inside the classroom, but everyone was louder than usual. We began class a few minutes after 9 AM because we waited for a few people that were running late. For today's lecture, Mary led the discussion about Wave Particle Duality. This was a completely new topic for me, but I generally understood most of it. Basically, she discussed about how light is both a particle and a wave, and how scientists had come to this conclusion. Afterwards, she then talked about the Standard Model for atoms, and how new discoveries were being made about the atom itself. Originally, I had learned that the atom was the smallest possible thing that made up matter, but after Mary's lecture, I learned that even the protons and neutrons were made up of other particles. Some were more theoretical, but I was surprised that this was the first time that I had ever heard about atoms not being the smallest things on Earth. I definitely learn something new everyday.

By about 11:20 AM, we had a short break to eat snacks and stretch a bit. Once the break was over, we were supposed to hear from a guest speaker, but due to some miscommunication, the guest was unable to come. This meant that we had an hour that our professors had not accounted for, so instead of letting us out early, Bill was able to discuss more about diffraction and other concepts that were a bit confusing to most of us. This was actually helpful because I was then able to understand diffraction a little bit more, although it might take some time for me to fully understand the concept.

We were dismissed for lunch about 10 minutes earlier than usual, which also meant that we had to be back from lunch 10 minutes earlier than usual. It didn't really matter much to me, but I found out that this was around the time when the Houston Market was extremely crowded. I guess you could call it the rush hour for lunches. Anyways, after lunch, Sema and I walked back to class, and we were back in our seats before class had even started.

For the first 30 minutes, we discussed about our upcoming plans for Friday, which was our trip to Hershey Park. Everyone became so excited for this trip, but it wasn't all fun and games. Our first priority was to collect data from one of the rides in the park. To do so, we apparently had to either wear a vest or a fanny pack to the ride itself. I'm not sure how it will all work out, but Friday is definitely going to be an interesting day, and I certainly can't wait.

After our excitement had settled a little, we then went into our lab groups for the exponential lab experiments. We weren't in our regular lab groups, so I ended up being with Allison, Leesa, and Sema. For our experiment, we chose to test if the results of light flowing through two polarized lenses would create an exponential graph. We marked off several angles on the lens itself, and we began turning the lens to each angle and collecting the data of how intense the light actually was. Once we plotted all of the points that we needed, the result was far different from what we expected. It turns out that instead of an exponential graph, it was more of a sine curve graph. After getting our result, we all headed back to the Quad together.

Working on our experiment
Once I got back, the rest of my schedule was rather hectic. Originally, I had planned on going to the Art Museum today, but since it was already full, I would have had to go earlier than the meeting time and hope that there would be a spot open. Unfortunately, the bus leaves at 6 PM I also had to sign-up for activities for the rest of the week at 5:30 PM, as well as get my stipend money from Mr. Hillyer at 5:30 PM as well. My plan was to pick up my stipend first, then head over to the sign-up area before all of the activities filled up, then wait for a spot to open up for the Art Museum. This, of course, did not work out as planned, but I still managed to do 2 things out of 3. Because of the long line at the sign-up area, I was unable to go to the Art Museum, which isn't that much of a big deal. Instead, Jun, Chiamaka, Elexis, and Joanne stayed in my room for a little while before finally heading out for dinner. Since Chiamaka attended a lecture for her class at around 7 PM, we had to go without her.
We ended up eating at the food court near CVS Pharmacy, and I just bought some Mediterranean food. I wasn't afraid of trying new things, so I just bought some Shawarma. By 8 PM, we had absolutely nothing else planned, so we just went to karaoke night in one of the lounges. This was actually more fun than I expected, and I even went up to sing, despite my lack of talent in that area. Anyways, we called it a night at around 10 PM, and I ended the night with the mandatory RC meeting at 10:45 PM. 

Tomorrow seems like it's going to be a long day, since I have to be at class by 8:30 AM, but as always, I'm looking forward to it! 

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