Thursday, July 24, 2014

Minitechnology Labs and Nano Golf

Visiting the Nano Size Labs
Another day has zoomed by and boy, is that scary! Today, I toured some of the science buildings with my physics class and it was impressive. One of my favorite spots was the new Singh Center of Nanotechnology. Though we were only there for a couple of minutes, it was still pretty cool to see people dressed up in bunny suits and working in the Clean Room. In the Clean Room, researchers have to dress up in bunny suits because they are working with semiconducting chips and these chips can be messed up by the slightest hair or dust on them. Another place that I really enjoyed was the Devlin Lab where we saw a structure that would carry a telescope up past the atmosphere. The telescope would capture wavelengths of light beyond the visible spectrum and give new sets of data and images to scientists studying the origins of the universe.

Telescopes and Telescopes. Wait, What The Heck?
When it seemed that all our Penn tours were done, we were visited by James Aguierre who was one of the presenters during the tour. Basically, James was creating a telescope that used radio waves to capture the status of individual stars in the universe. Because the U.S. and Europe already broadcasts so many radio signals, James decided to move his work with telescopes to South Africa where he is building 300 radio telescopes uninterrupted to help map out a picture of the universe with radio signals. 

Radioactive Fun!
Following lunch, we worked on the particle cloud chamber to see if we could get good particle interactions with radioactive materials. It was kind of scary because Craig had a beta source and an alpha source in our vicinity, but we couldn't visually see the radiation emanating from these sources. What also didn't help was that the alpha source could work as a gamma source as well! Unfortunately, we couldn't see any cool action from the sources like we did with the muons which kind of sucked. So instead, we played with dry ice and experimented with it like little kids!

Mini Golf Madness
After physics, I went and played mini golf with my friends. I'm not very good and I messed up a lot, but it was fun to mess up with my friends. What really made mini golf fun was not the game itself, but the people who I was playing with! It keeps hitting me that I won't see such friendly faces in a couple of days and so I hope to make the most out of the time I still have at Penn!

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