Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Best Days Go By the Fastest

Class seemed to be a blur today. Everything went by so quickly. We listened to three lectures for three and a half hours, but it felt like such a shorter length of time. Our first lecture was given by Mary. She discussed the Standard Model of the atom and all of the (known) characteristics of atoms. Mary began by talking about the four fundamental forces, which are strong nuclear forces, weak nuclear forces, electromagnetic forces, and gravitational forces. The pattern for all of these forces is that there is an inverse relationship between the strength of the force and the distance over which it can act on something. For example, strong nuclear forces are only in extremely minute spaces, but they are the strongest of the fundamental forces. We also talked about Leptons and Quarks, both of which are different parts of an atom. Leptons are fundamental particles that lack an internal structure and quarks are fundamental particles known for making nucleons. Although most of this was new information to me, I was able to grasp it fairly quickly.

The two guest lectures seemed to be over as soon as they began. The first lecturer was Bhuvnesh Jain and he discussed general relativity, more specifically the ways light bends around cosmic bodies. This lecture was definitely confusing. He talked exclusively about light and its properties when space was curved, and this was not exactly an easy concept to grasp. Dr. Jain explained that the “natural” path near heavy objects is curved because space itself is curved. I am still having a bit of difficulty understanding what exactly it means for space to be curved, but I will certainly get it eventually. Our second lecturer was my special interest group professor, Dr. James Aguirre. This lecture was much simpler for me than the prior lecture because James talked about everything we had already learned in our special interest sessions. He managed to pack all of the lessons he taught us about radio astrology into a one hour lecture. I wish that we had learned everything in just an hour so we could have had more time for experimentation in James’s lab. On the other hand, I also like that he took it slow with us so we could ask questions and cover the material thoroughly. Either way, I think I would have enjoyed my time in James’s radio astrology lab because he is a very interesting professor.

Following lunch, my special interest group met in James’s lab for the final time. Today we configured a circuit consisting of our oversized battery, the electronic multi-tool that we have been using for measuring volts, and one of the receivers from a Dish Network satellite dish. Our task was to observe the correlation between the distance between an object emitting radio waves and how strong of a signal they sent to the receiver. As expected, we saw that the farther away the object got from the sensor, the less signal the dish received. This was similar to our prior labs, but this experiment was left mostly left up to us to perform. Unfortunately, this was our last time studying with James. I appreciate all of the time that he took out of his research to help us compose our presentation. I only wish we could have had a bit more time to study with him because I had just begun to warm up to my group, as well as James.

After class, Onur and I returned to the dorm. I hung out with Fred, Alison, Onur, Abheek, Julia, and Brian for a while. Our group was quickly divided when Abheek, Julia, and Brian left the dorms to go meet Tom Miller, a friend of Brian and Julia’s who will be attending the Grand Strategy program at Yale. I stayed with Onur, Julia, and Fred until it came time for me to get ready for dinner. After dressing and signing out in the office, we were off to meet the Yalies once again.

Dinner was fantastic. We had six guests join us at La Croix Restaurant in Center City Phillly. Our guest list included, Eli Lesser, who is in charge of summer programs at Penn, David Toomer, an Admissions Official from Penn, Ellen Kim, the Northern California Admissions Official at Penn, and three Penn undergrads: Sam, Britney, and Sean. I was lucky enough to be seated between Sam and Ms. Kim. Sam is an engineering major who will be entering Penn’s veterinary school once he graduates from his first four years as an undergrad. We conducted very interesting conversation regarding why Penn was an excellent college, the pros and cons of an urban campus, as well as how prospective college students are evaluated in their applications. I really enjoyed talking to Sam because he was easy to relate to. We have similar academic interests (except for the veterinary aspect) and I found our tastes in colleges to be very similar. Sam was a joy to speak with and he gave some excellent insight into the nuances of going to Penn. Ms. Kim was also very interesting to talk to. Having met her at the Exploring College Options seminar in Berkeley, she was very anxious to listen to my interpretations about the event. This branched off into discussion about the Ivy League Connection and what exactly it does for students and the surrounding communities. Of course, I was also able to slip in a few questions about Penn’s admissions process. Equally enjoyable to the conversation and company was the food at La Croix. This food was simply magnificent. I started with a corn soup, which an only be described as silky smooth. I also ordered duck as my entrĂ©e, which was oh-so succulent and tender. For dessert, I ordered a dish that was just called Blueberry. It was composed of blueberries, blueberry ice cream, chocolate mousse, and chocolate sauce. It was nothing short of divine. All in all, dinner was excellent and I could not have wished for better company.

Cohorts coming together.

There was quite an interesting conversation going on from the looks of things...

My spectacular still looks so good...

Matt is enjoying his conversation with Sam.

I wish today could have just felt a little bit longer. Our lectures this morning were very enjoyable (though one was especially confusing), we had a ton of fun at dinner, and I think the ILC has made a lasting impression on the University of Pennsylvania. Eli never ceases to be amazed with our program and he actually follows our blog, which surprised me at first (if you’re reading this, hi Eli!). These are the kind of networking opportunities and connections that we want to make as ambassadors and scholars. Our goal is to reach out to as many people as we are able to so that we can bring back as much information about college life as we possibly can for those who are unable to attend programs as magnificent as this one. Today, I was truly grateful for the opportunity that I have been given, and I can never thank all those involved in the ILC enough for letting me have the chance to embark on this journey and meet so many people that have changed my life.

One great big group shot to finish the night.

No comments:

Post a Comment