This summer was certainly an adventure. I made new friends and saw new places. I even got to work on a pretty cool project. I lived smack dab in the middle of ever-so-busy Washington, DC. I worked at NASA with a group of very intelligent people. Perhaps the most exciting part was to be completely on my own entering a new life experience. I go to a local college with about a dozen or so of my high school class mates, so I've always had a cushion of familiarity to fall back on. This turned out not to be a problem; I made some great friends and had a blast during my SPS summer.
I had just finished a tough academic semester, but had already grown bored during my few weeks at home. I didn't know what my summer in DC would entail, but I figured it would be more interesting. Upon arriving at my dorm, I found an empty hallway and a locked room. To my surprise, I had been switched from a single to a triple. I went inside, looked around, and on my exit was ambushed by a group of quite friendly people. Little did I know that these would be the people I'd be spending the summer having fun with, working with, and traveling with. It took us a little while to finally introduce ourselves as SPS interns, ok?
Take this as a guarantee that I can never claim not to be at least a little bit nerdy: I really enjoyed my research this summer. Now I know you're thinking to yourself, "But Paul, how can classifying mineralogy through neutron spectroscopy be considered nerdy?" And you have a good point, after all, I got to learn quite a bit about the interesting and radical subject of nuclear physics, including goodies such as "hydrogen is effective at dampening neutron emissions due to the similar size of a hydrogen nuclei and a neutron." However, I also learned about that dark side of mathematics, statistics. Indeed, I probably had just a bit too much glee trying to find statistical relationships between neutron emission maps and the presence of different elements on Mars. In fact, I think I may have scared some of my co-workers a bit. Sorry for almost crashing the car, Dan, I tend to get extremely focused when I'm working on something interesting, such as trying to expand the field of neutron spectroscopy so it can be used to find more stuff in more places.
With lackluster cell phone service in the DC/College Park area, I was left with the favored past time of young adults prior to technology, exploration! DC was full of museums to see, and a lot of them are even free. Trips to the various monuments took up quite a few evenings as well. We even got to take a trip to Baltimore. It went so fast, but I'm really glad I got to see so much this summer, and I had a really good crowd to do it with. Kunal, Barbara, Logan, Daniel, Mary, Justin, Megan, Jenna, it was good hanging out with you guys this summer, and hopefully I'll see you all again. Perhaps at Fermi Lab in November. Also, Liz, Fred, Linda, Gary, Tracy, and Kendra, thanks for all your support and organizing that you did. Julia, Vik, and Anais, thank you for your advice and lunch time chats at work. Tim, Larry, Ricard, Jack, and Ann, thank you so much for acting as mentors and actively working with us. Thank you mom, for reading all the journals and preparing tons of questions to ask me. And thank you to anyone I missed in my absent mindedness. And most of all thank YOU, for reading this journal!