Monday, July 27, 2015

The Culmination of Our Efforts

"I don't like Mondays, especially if they occur on Fridays." -Jarod Kintz

I don't know who this guy is, but I get the vague feeling that if we met up, we would get along pretty well. Just a feeling.

Anyways, today was the day of our research presentations! It was kind of nerve-wracking, since even though I had done extensive research on my subject (neutrino flux relationship to the solar central temperature), I hadn't actually prepared for the presentation. My partner did most of the work on that, while I worked on drafting the report and reading more about equations.

I heard some amazing presentations today, on topics ranging from dynamical parallax to the spectra of quasars. If I hadn't taken this class, I wouldn't have been able to appreciate the elegant methods that my peers employed to solve problems or present solutions. For example, one of my classmates used software to cut a star cluster into onion-like layers, so that he could measure the brightness of each layer and use calculus to find the effective radius (radius that contains 50% of the brightness) of the cluster. I'm not being self-deprecating; I was simply very impressed with the other projects. My presentation went pretty smoothly as well, and I was relieved that nothing went horribly wrong.

Today was actually my last day in the classroom; tomorrow, my class will be going on a three-night trip to Yerkes Observatory, around two hours away in the state of Wisconsin. Actually, this will be the fifth and final state that I will have traveled to on this trip. I've been to Phoenix, Arizona, (during the layover flight), St. Louis in Missouri, South Bend in Indiana (Where Notre Dame is), and Chicago, where I've spent the last two weeks. This final trip will be the last main event of this whole month, and we have to come up with another project in a matter of days, so I better get cracking...

Tomorrow is another day.

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