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Friday, July 10, 2015

What We Do in the Name of Science

Today was just like any ordinary day, and I woke up at my usual time. I went to the Dining Commons with my cohort and a few other friends, and I had a pretty relaxing morning. I didn't look at the schedule ahead of time, so I didn't know what the lecture was for today.

By  9 AM, one of the professors began talking about Special Relativity, which I had no background in whatsoever. I sat there completely clueless about what he was talking about until he further explained it by making everyone in the class walk outside. Basically, 3 people were told to count how many people passed by them; one was stationary, one walked backwards, and another walked forwards. The rest of the class represented the photons, and we were told to walk past the 3 people. This demonstration was used to explain how time was different depending on the person, and it allowed me to grasp the theory a little bit more clearly.

However, everything I learned afterwards became more difficult to comprehend. The professor began using very technical terms within his lecture, and I could not understand the topic fully. I'm just glad that I wasn't the only one confused, because about half of the time he lectured, everyone in the class asked questions, which they seldom do. Afterwards, my professors even said that this was definitely a difficult topic to comprehend, and that it was nothing to feel bad about.
On our way 

After this lecture, we took a 5 minute break before having another guest speaker come to our class. Professor Johnson had discussed about his research in nanotechnology, with the use of computer stimulation. I found this fascinating, because he was able to combine Engineering, Physics, Material Science, Chemistry, and Biology into the research and development of nanotechnology that will be able to detect certain diseases that may go unnoticed. He showed us most of his research thus far, and it was really interesting seeing how even the tiniest things can help in a big way.

We ended class at 11:30 AM, which was an hour earlier than our usual times because for the afternoon session, we went to the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum instead of having another lecture. We still had an hour of lunch before we finally met at 12:30 PM, so I grabbed a quick lunch and prepared myself in my room. On my way there, I wasn't really interested because cars don't spark my interest as much, but once I got to the museum, I enjoyed looking at every single car that I walked by. 

I promise it's physics
However, my class didn't go there just to look at cars; we went there to carry out an experiment using a bowling ball and a broom. It may sound weird, but trust me, it was even weirder carrying out the experiment. We had to observe the different forces at work by trying to push a bowling ball around a certain path with only a flimsy broom. It may sound simple, but it takes more skill than you might think.

Anyways, after we had our practice runs, each of our usual physics groups would have to go through a course using whatever technique they preferred, but it was more of a relay race and we were also timed. I was terrible at this, and I ended up straying from the path a lot, but it was extremely fun, and I enjoyed watching others do it as well. My group ended up getting 4th place out 8, which was actually very surprising, but you know what they say. Slow and steady wins the race. After our little competition, Bill, one of my professors, took us around a tour of the entire museum, and basically gave us a lot of information about the details of each car that we had seen.  At first, I thought that I wouldn't be interested, but he talked about how the cars have evolved from back then and how the mindset behind the designs of the cars. I really enjoyed seeing the old cars that were beautifully restored, and I was even able to see a car from 1911 do more than 10 laps around this empty lot. We eventually left the place at around 4 PM, and by the end of it, I was dying of sweat.

At the museum
When we came back, I had some free time so I went to CVS with my friend, Sema, and I eventually caught up with Jun, Chiamaka, Elexis, and Joanne. Since today was Friday, Summer Discovery gave us free movie tickets, so we all ended up watching Minions, and it was absolutely adorable. The movie ended at around 8:30 PM, so we decided to go eat at Chipotle for dinner. I definitely wanted to just lay on my bed, but I still had to do laundry, and I ended up finishing at 11:30 PM. 

I should definitely start getting ready for bed because I have big plans for tomorrow. Our cohort is planning on going to NY to visit Columbia and walk around the area. I know it's going to be exhausting, but I'm definitely looking forward to it. 




A few of the exhibits





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