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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Cosmic Rays and the Speed of Light

Yesterday's little adventure caused me to sleep later than usual, which resulted in me waking up extremely groggy and disoriented. I got ready for today at my usual time, and I met up with Audrey at the gate. Jun, Joanne, Chiamaka, and Elexis didn't have class until 10 AM again, so Audrey and I just went ahead. We eventually met up with Ruchi, and took a casual walk to class.


Messing with some lenses
Our class today was different, because we just went straight to lab instead of having a lecture. Here, we continued our lab from yesterday. Since we had already previously built the circuit, we simply transfered all of our equipment onto a cart and we hauled it out into the hallway. Our next step was to measure the speed of light itself. We did this by putting a beam splitter in front of the laser pointer, and we aimed one path towards a diode and another towards a mirror across the room, which reflected into another diode. This took an extremely long time to calibrate everything, but once we had it set, we ended up just playing around with the frequency of the light to see if we could get better results. We ended up staying in the lab until about 11:30, and we were one of the last ones to leave, but according to Peter, one of the professors, we had the best results.

Since we got out of class an hour earlier than usual, this gave Sema, Leesa, Allison, and I some time to work on our Hershey Park presentation. We all grabbed a quick lunch and then went back to the classroom to work on interpreting the data. By 1:30 PM, we all went to our Interest Groups to continue with our experiments. We were still continuing to build our detectors today, but at least we managed to make one of our detectors to work. We spent almost 2 hours just trying to make one of the detectors to work, but there was some faulty pieces, so we were not getting signal at all. At that point, I was so frustrated at it, and it didn't help that my group was sort of left on our own the entire time. It wasn't the professor's fault because there were three groups in our room, but I just wish that we had a lab manual so we could've sped up the process. Anyways, we ended up finishing at 4:30 PM, but we couldn't really get much calculations from the little time we had left.

I think my sleep deprivation affected me a lot because after I got out of class, I was in a very bad mood where I did not want to talk to anyone. Of course, that was an issue because I had to work with my group for the Hershey Park presentation. Eventually, my mood lightened up, and I actually felt better after spending time with my group, despite trying to figure out what our results meant. We took about an hour and a half trying to get ready for tomorrow, and we didn't realize that it was already 6 PM, which was supposed to be when the Dean of Admissions was supposed to talk to us. 

Sitting in Houston Hall
I went into Houston Hall, which is behind the Houston Market, and I ended up seeing Charlotte, Catherine, and Sydney, my floor mates. I sat towards the front with Charlotte, and I actually learned a lot about colleges. The Dean of Admissions, Eric Furda, had allowed me to further think about what colleges I actually want to go to. He told us several key things to look for in a college, and they're very helpful strategies that will help me decide where I want to go. I'm glad that Summer Discovery had given us this opportunity.


After the presentation, I went with Charlotte to go to the lounge in our floor and take part in cupcake decorating. My mood was already okay, but cupcakes were definitely the way to go! Since it was  only around 9:30 PM, Charlotte came to my room and we ended up just watching some anime until around 10:30 PM. My mood was pretty bad for most of the day, but at least I felt better in the end. I hope tomorrow will be a better day because I want to make every day count!

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