Monday, 25 June 2007
I have to admit that I thought the only organization that used several acronyms in one sentence was the military. That misconception of mine is now indeed put to rest. AIP, AAPT, APS, SOCK, R&D, and now ComPADRE. Indeed Washington, D.C. has its fair share of acronyms much of which is included in my internship job title. ComPADRE: Communities for Physics and Astronomy Digital Resources in Education. I know from my dealings with web resources and internet searches that ComPADRE is a digital library utilized by physics and astronomy professionals across the globe. But other than that I have no in depth perspective of this resource. Today's meeting with the ComPADRE editors at AIP changed that for me quite considerably. Plus I also got to meet face-to-face my other boss, Dave Donnelly, the editor of The Nucleus.
The meeting started out with each of the editors giving a report to Bruce Mason who is the principle investigator of the project and the one who ran the meeting. I found each of these editor reports very insightful. First, the website I was working on was brought up for discussion. We presented our statistics of the usage of the website and made a note of how Gary White's emails proved to be rather effective for increasing traffic to the Nucleus. One particular email involving a request to member societies to check out a review in the textbook section created a huge spike. We suggested that continued emailing important upcoming events to such societies as SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma would increase traffic on the Nucleus.
After that we heard from all the other editors on what methods worked well on their sites. I found it insightful from their discussions the varied methods they used and in particular what audiences each of the collections targeted. Prior to this meeting it was difficult to tell the difference between the collections. Now I have a much firmer grasp on what the member societies do and the websites that they sponsor.
After spending much of the day at this meeting, I finally managed to get back to my desk to talk to Ryan a bit about some ideas we had for the SOCK. We figured we had a pretty good grasp on the outline that we wanted for the SOCK now it was just a matter of putting together lesson plans and testing equipment to make sure they would work. It is now time for the logistics support, something that I specialize in.
Tuesday, 26 June 2007
Well today I would learn even further about another D.C. acronym, CNSF, the Coalition for National Science Funding. This group is composed of over 100 organizations who have grouped together to work towards obtaining funding for scientific and technological projects and ventures. Tonight I along with the other interns were invited to the CNSF 13th Annual Convention on Capitol Hill. Indeed this convention was quite impressive.
The place was packed with interns, political aids, and head members of NSF. I was just astounded. I talked to some of the other interns working in town and I managed to check out several of the exhibition booths. Three that I particularly liked included the one from U.W. Madison. They were working on an NSF project that had some of their physics students working in Antarctica. Their goal was to detect interstellar neutrinos. Another exhibit I found interesting was the one with the Boston Museum of Science which had a project on working for outreach for nanotechnology. Apparently they were linked with a project out of Madison which was working on a museum exhibit in Milwaukee. Indeed I find it interesting how well networked these projects can be. The last project which I thought was noteworthy was a group psychology and computer programmers who had devised a VR program which would work on treating post traumatic stress syndrome in vets returning from Iraq. I have to admit that at looking at the monitors they had done a good job of recreating the environment that soldiers see over there and according to their field work on the program, stress levels have gone down for their test subjects. They re hoping to eventually make it available to VA's for helping veterans. I think that's pretty cool.
After the convention started to wind down we had dinner with Frederick Dylla, AIP's CEO at the Capital City Brewery Co which was right at Union Station. We had a pretty big crew go. It was a really nice place and I had my first bit east coast seafood at this place along with a sampling of the local brew. Quite delicious I have to admit as by the time I was done I was stuffed. Some of the other guys even managed to try some of the brownies and ice cream for dessert. We talked about what we had enjoyed seeing at the convention and about things we had seen in town. It was indeed some good fun.
Wednesday, 27 June 2007
Company picnic not more than a day away! Today Ryan and I are working on figuring out the final touches on what the interns will be running at the company picnic. We figured to run our collision experiment in one of the conference rooms, the Rainbow Room in the other conference room, and our new battery of Mentos experiments which we had devised to optimize our Mentos propelled car for the SOCK.
One of our first tasks was to design as mechanism for simultaneously igniting 10 Mentos engines. This we did by using a long piece of thin wooden board with strings attached. These strings were attached to the office clips on the ignition system. We then had two people pull up quickly on the board and all the clips are released almost at once. It worked perfectly. We were ready for the picnic.
After work it was wine-and-dine time once again. Jack had managed to get us an invitation with the American Chemical Society to see their facilities and hear about the programs they have to offer. We met a couple of their interns who worked on Project Kaleidoscope. This group's goal was to allow undergraduate students to have access to learning experiences in science and technological fields.
Afterwards our hosts from ACS took us to a fine Middle Eastern restaurant. Two days in a row of getting to go out for dinner with our AIP family. This was something I never would've expected in one of my regular jobs back home. The comrade that such things bring is just amazing to observe and something I have not seen in a while. It is indeed really cool.
Thursday, 28 June 2007
Company picnic day! Ryan and I are busy getting last minute prep done. Ryan headed to the store with Doug to pick up additional supplies and I stayed behind at AIP to get gear down to our rooms. Meagan and Andy worked the Collision Experiment, Andrea and Katie worked the Rainbow Room, and Ryan and I worked on the Mentos cart experiment. Not only did we have these cool things running at the same time but we were also getting pretty lucky at getting our raffle numbers drawn. Andy, Meagan, and Ryan both got up for the Price is Right Game . Myself, I did the country line dancing and managed to learn that two lefts don t always make a right in dancing. When we ran our Mentos experiment it was a big hit with the crowd and we got lots of questions. Other than that it was pretty good fun but with all good fun comes the clean up at the end.