Monday, July 7, 2014

Learning How to Fly

I woke up to two emails from my Physics professor, Bill Berner, and our other instructor, Mary Pandya. Excited for a start of a new day at UPenn, I bolted up and met with Fathima to get breakfast at the dining hall, 1920's. We were wrong to think that the dining hall wouldn't be as crowded as yesterday, since this morning was just as bad. However, we successfully ended up grabbing a quick breakfast, and went back to the Quad where a few RCs were already waiting to guide students to their academy classrooms. 

The RC leading the Experimental Physics Academy group was coincidentally my own dorm RC, Kelsey. While we were waiting for more Physics students to find us, I was able to meet Prateek (who is a rising junior like me), and Rahul, the guy who won the intense icebreaker tournament of "Rock, Paper, Scissors". I also took the time to observe all the other academy groups such as Social Justice, Chemistry, Law, and BioMed. The large BioMed group consisted of (not a hundred) but ninety-nine students in total. But there is still no way that they can beat our awesome group of Experimental Physics. 
David Rittenhouse Lab Building
For starters, we were special. Which meant that we had the wonderful opportunity to take a ten minute sight-seeing walk all the way from our dorms to the David Rittenhouse Lab building. We walked into the auditorium (which is our classroom) and finally met Bill Berner in person! Mary also showed up a bit later and they both introduced themselves and the Physics program to us. They were both very energetic and unique in their own way, and led the most interesting and intriguing discussions. Mary lectured first about the foundations of Physics, such as mechanics and motion. She also warned us about the intense cramming of materials into our three-week program. Afterwards, they broke us up into groups with random people and led us to our lab rooms. I was in a group with Ben, Eric, and Jerry. They were all very intelligent and diligent, especially when it came to the experimenting, which helped us form a great team together. We were all given our own personal Experimental Physics binder also, with class work, and a class calendar of events, plus the material that we will be covering each day. 

We were able to head off towards the Houston Market for lunch after those first three hours of class and had a one hour break. I was able to get to know more about the members of my Physics group and found out a bit from each of them. Eric was a complete genius when it comes to math and science, Ben is from D.C. and still remembers all his Physics from freshman year, and Jerry, who came all the way from Taiwan. They would be my group for the week, but I would be placed in a new group for the next week of labs. This was a great attempt in trying to help us get to know each other a little better. When we all were back in David Rittenhouse, Bill was the one who lectured us this time. He talked about optical illusions, refraction and reflection of light, and lenses. And of course there is no complete Physics lecture without an amazing demonstration to go along with. My favorite part of his demonstration was when he hopped onto a giant mirror with one leg hidden behind the mirror, and another leg in front of it. Slowly, he began to lift his leg in front of the mirror, making him seem like he was floating and flying in midair because of the reflection. Although it might sound kind of bland, seeing the whole act unfold was quite mind-blowing. We ended our last five hours of class with more labs and learning-filled experiments.
What is this trickery....?
One more important event of the day was the Summer Discovery Program Orientation. Our RCs guided us again to the presentation and I learned a lot about what the program has to offer for us, and some rules that applies everyone of us. Afterwards, Kelsey gave us a tour of our home area, boundaries, and where we were allowed to go. The area around UPenn is extremely convenient and I am positive that I will have no trouble fitting right in Philadelphia. 

As our orientation was coming to an end, Kelsey held a small dorm meeting with us in the the lounge of the Franklin building, where we exchanged contact info with each other on our door floor. In addition, we also talked about some activity plans for all of us, starting this Saturday! It was a busy day filled with learning and new information about Physics and the program. Hopefully, tomorrow will be just as amazing as today.  

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