SE & IPE @ NIST SED w/ SPS & AIP N DC 4 2006

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Getting the Hang of Things and Life in D.C. - Jun 16, 2006 at 4:15PM
Alex Brown
3 Posts

So I didn't find the guy on the street selling sunglasses, but I decided to go to Georgetown and buy some. When I got off the Metro at Rosslyn, I saw a girl I went to college with. She graduated and lives in D.C. now. After talking to her for a while, I continued my trek across the bridge to Georgetown, and at about the midpoint, I passed a girl I went to high school with. She is going to American University, and she was taking her mother shopping in Georgetown. So it's a small world in the big city. As I walked along M street admiring the little shops and restaurants, trying to find someplace that would have bargain sunglasses, I acclimated myself to what I'm told is the posh D.C. scene. After finding some $10.00 shades with 100% UV protection and double-spring hinges (yeah, geeks are suckers for lots of functions even when buying sunglasses), I found my way back to the bridge and home to GWU.

At work, I've continued to do ellipsometry measurements on some samples, and using some really advanced software my supervisor wrote, I'm analyzing the data to determine the sample films optical properties (thickness and dielectric function). I continue to do IPE measurements, and once my supervisor, Dr. Nguyen, writes a program for the analysis of that data, I'll be working on the analysis of that. I'm also attending meetings and safety training sessions and doing everything else I can to get a feel for what a career in this field would be like.

A big part of a research physicist's life appears to be lunch. People gather in the cafeteria or outside under a big tree to discuss their research, philosophy, religion, politics, or anything in which a couple of them have interest. I join in on those discussions and groups when I stay on NIST's campus for lunch, but the best midday meals are when Dr. Nguyen invites me out to lunch with him. We have gone to a great Chinese restaurant a few times so far, and yesterday, he took me to a Vietnamese soup place. The food I've been having is amazing, but rather spicy. I think he likes taking me to these places because while I'm turning red and wiping my forehead, he's pouring more chili sauce on his soup and smiling with a calm, dry face. It's a great life, being an SPS Intern, and there's no better lab to be an intern in than at NIST.

Riding to and from work has become an art. We've shaved the time down to about 55-60 minutes by catching the right trains and picking the right stations. On the way home, Pat and I sometimes get off a few stations early to walk the rest of the way, because we live in such a beautiful city, and it seems foolish to spend so much of our time underground. Playing Frisbee in the hall, eating Swedish Fish, having potlucks, cutting each others hair, and playing with dry ice keep us pretty busy at night, and it's a testament to the quality of our jobs that many of us spend at least a little bit of time each night on our research projects. My cousin boards and trains horses in Waldorf, MD, and I spent last Sunday afternoon repairing a fence there and helping out at the barn. Even though my project is so cool, it was nice to get to do some good 'ol manual labor. This weekend, a bunch of us are planning on seeing the panda at the zoo, and having another of our now-weekly community dinners, and some of the other residents of our building are going to join us.


Week 1: Acronym Mania - Jun 13, 2006 at 9:27AM
Alex Brown
3 Posts

I've begun my work for SED(1) at NIST(2) through AIP(3) and SPS(4) doing SE(5) and IPE(6). Last night, we spent the evening in downtown DC(7) at a CNSF(8) event, and I spoke with Dr. Arden Bement, Director of NSF(9) and former director of NIST(2). We're staying in GWU(10) rooms, and on tuesday night, one of the residents decided to pull the fire alarm, so adjusting to not being at school is a little easier.

Today, I fell asleep on the metro on the way home, and I missed my stop by a few, but it was a gorgeous day, so I decided to walk past the White House back to my building. With a seventy minute metro commute to and from work each day, i've got to take every chance I can to get to see the city from above ground. The day star seems exceptionally bright these days, and I neglected to bring sunglasses with me. In a city this big, there's got to be that guy on the street with the black garbage bag selling fake Oakleys for $10 and running every time a siren is heard in the distance, but I've yet to find him. Well, this feels rather unorganized, but it's a journal, so...artistic license and such.

Glossary:
1. Semiconductor Electronic Division
2. National Institute of Standards and Technology
3. American Institute of Physics
4. Society of Physics Students
5. Spectroscopic Ellipsometry
6. Internal Photoemission
7. District of Columbia
8. Coalition for National Science Funding
9. National Science Foundation
10. George Washington University (aka "Gee-Triple-You")


Intro to Me - Jun 13, 2006 at 9:25AM
Alex Brown
3 Posts

My name is Alex Brown, and I'm a third-year physics major at Wittenberg University. Along with physics, I enjoy caffeinated gum, disc golf, French, camping, photography, Thai food, and theology. I've been an RA here the past two years, and I was a Camp Counselor during the Summers of 2003 and 2004.

I spent last fall in England studying abroad, and last Summer doing research for the Air Force. I'm looking forward to applying my coursework to research, exploring D.C. and working with the great staffs of SPS and NIST.  My research will include ellipsometry of semiconductors and Internal Photoemission analysis.


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