New Contest: Most Adventurous Summer Activity

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And the winners are... - Oct 19, 2006 at 2:23PM
Dave Avatar
San Marcos, Texas
420 Posts

Sorry it took so long to post winners.  The winners of the summer story contest are:

Janu Verma - research at the Nehru center

wintercarver - spur of the moment trip to Japan

Ethan Marsh - MacGyver in training

Thanks to all those who submitted.  The winners will be contacted about getting their prizes.


Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value -- Albert Einstein

An academic summer - Sep 21, 2006 at 8:58PM
Rachel Castleberry
2 Posts

I kicked off the summer with a history study abroad. Along with 18 other students, we spent about a month traveling around France, Germany and Austria studying the Holocaust. At Struthoff-Natzweiler, walking up the steep mountainside in the cold really made you wonder how the victims were able to make it day to day. We visited several important Nazi sites including the Nuremberg court room where the war crimes trials were held. We were also in Nuremberg for the start of the World Cup. It was amazing to see just how important soccer is European life. Almost every business either shut down or brought out tv's during the matches. In Munich, they had set up small fields in courtyards where we could stand a few feet away from the Brazilians practicing.

   After we returned home, I started again on a research project that I had been working on for a few months.  Although the project hit a brick wall in August, I was still able to go to San Francisco about two weeks ago to present at the ACS National Conference.

Re: Tell us what you did this summer! - Sep 21, 2006 at 7:53PM
Ethan Marsh
1 Posts

This summer I did optics research at a major research University in the North East.  Although the research was a lot of fun, my most interesting adventure happened outside the lab.

Late one night, I returned to my dorm room to discover I had locked myself out.  Wanting to spare myself the embarrassment of calling campus police to help, I decided to attempt to break into my own room.  Fortunately, my room was on the 3rd floor of the building and just happened to have a balcony with an unlocked door.  And directly under it was the second floor balcony, which I had access to.  The only problem was that the second floor balcony had an electronic lock, and my keycard was locked in my room.  If I tried to climb up to my balcony and couldn't make it, I'd be stuck outside on the second floor balcony with no way down.  Propping the door was out of the question because it would set off an alarm after 20 seconds.

Doing my best McGyver impression, I began searching the building for tools to help solve this tricky problem.  After about an hour, I found a long thin magnet on the refrigerator in the kitchen and placed it on the magnetic bar that held the balcony door shut.  The magnet allowed the door to close enough to not set off the alarm, while preventing the door magnet from sealing tightly.  A stiff push was enough to force it open.  With this accomplished, it was a comparatively simple matter to stack up some furniture and use it to climb up to my balcony.  

The optics research was a great experience, but next summer I think I'll apply for a job at the Phoenix Foundation...

Not a bad summer. - Sep 21, 2006 at 5:33PM
Astro Nerd
1 Posts

After busting my butt all year and most of the summer, my advisor offered to take me to the IAU meeting in Prague so I could present a poster on my work.  I ended up flying out a week before the meeting began and went sailing around the Friesian lakes of The Netherlands.  I was having a good time until I entered the Isselmeer.  The boat was tossed by ~3 foot waves and the mast was at an angle of ~45 degrees with the water.  Not so much fun.

After a few days of sailing, I drove from Amsterdam, through Germany, and  then on to Prague.  I met some relatives in Cologne, Germany, spent the night in Steinheim, Germany, and bought a pilsner in Plzen, Czech Rep.

After a week of talks at the meeting and wandering around Prague, I took a day and drove out to Terezin and Lidice.  Terezin was a Nazi concentration camp that was used to fool the Red Cross into believing that the Jews were being treated humanely.  Lidice was a town that was razed and where the men and children were shot as an example because of an attempt on a Nazi officer's life.

It was pretty enjoyable couple of weeks.

Re: Tell us what you did this summer! - Sep 21, 2006 at 5:32PM
4 Posts

Well, this might not be exactly what you are looking for in this contest, but sometimes life is not what you expect it to be.

I have spent most of my summer trying to support my husband in his time of need. His father (who was a very active 62 year old) fell off of a ladder on May 28th, 2006 - the day before Memorial Day. We think the ladder failed and he hit his face on the ladder on the way down, bounced off, then hit the back of his head on the flagstone. He lived, just barely, but he is not the same.

Dean (his name) was in a coma for about a week - the kind you usually think of where the person is just laying there and looks like they are sleeping. No matter what you see in the movies, people do not just wake up...they slowly start to do things that would be considered on a higher conscience level. As of today, Dean is what we would call awake, but he has been reduced to basically the mentality of a 3 year old.

So I have spent my summer in and out of hospitals, designing websites (, learning a great deal about Traumatic Brain Injuries, and learning how to give support to someone in their time of need. I have learned that life is to short and very unpredictable.  Sometimes you should just decide to stay off the ladder.

My Scary Summer Research Experience - Sep 21, 2006 at 4:57PM
Dave Newby
1 Posts

My recent research at a University which shall remain nameless was a great experience overall- except for the very first night I was there.

Having spent the say moving into the dorm, I decided to turn in early (around midnight). No sooner was I in bed reading when I heard a jingling of keys at the door. I assumed it was another student who was trying to get into the wrong room, so I got up and opened the door. There stood two Campus Police officers- one of which immediately drew his gun and pointed it at me (**drew his gun and pointed it at me!**) The dialogue went something like this:


So I did. Scene: Me laying on the ground with my hands over my head, being interrogated by a campus police officer who has a firearm pointed at me.

Me: I'm with the physics program!
Officer: Physics?

After about two minutes of radio chatter, he and his partner allow me to stand up (and he puts the gun away). As it turns out, there was a miscommunication and these particular campus police weren't aware that anyone was supposed to be staying in that building (which happens to be a sorority house during the school year). So they came in response to a report of people in the building (which there were, about 30 of us), and they happened to try to open my room.

So that was my terribly scary first night on an REU this summer.

Deadline extended!! - Sep 15, 2006 at 2:31PM
Dave Avatar
San Marcos, Texas
420 Posts

For various reasons, we have decided to extend the deadline for this contest until September 22nd.  Keep the entries coming!


Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value -- Albert Einstein

Taking a whim to heart. - Sep 14, 2006 at 1:54PM
san francisco
3 Posts

Having decided to go straight to graduate school I decided to take a nice break between graduating and beginning my graduate studies. Initially I resolved to spend my summer doing all the things I used to indulge in before getting involved in heavy academics: read fiction, watch films, play piano and go to events around town. I did for the first few weeks of summer and was enjoying myself but then one day an opportunity to go to Japan came my way. I remembered how I was fascinated with the Japanese culture and language as youngster, how I studied Japanese in junior high school but never had a chance to apply my skills and how I had always wanted to go to Japan. On a whim I leaped on the opportunity and was on a plane to Japan within the week.

I arrived in Tokyo with my backpack. The night before I flew out I found that my hostel reservations were vetoed one way or another, so I also had nowhere to stay. I got on the plane anyway and figured things would work out. They did. I found a fabulous hostel, made lots of friends, and in my two weeks in Japan I traveled and learned so many things I felt my life would never be the same. My travel stories are endless but there were deeper stories to be learned. Back at home in the States I received a post card from myself I wrote in Japan. It said, more or less, "Don't ever hesitate to pursue what you love!" Now, after my first summer off in four years, despite knowing I want to study Japanese again and so many other things, I can't be happier to be starting my physics graduate program in a few days.

Re: Tell us what you did this summer! - Sep 5, 2006 at 2:22PM
Janu Verma
2 Posts

Hello, I am Janu Verma and I am going to tell you about the most exciting summer of my life.I am an undergraduate science(Physics) student and highly interested in scientific research.The reason why this summer was the best  of my life  is that I spend this summer in Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research(JNCASR), Bangalore(India), a leading research institute in India.I was a Summer Research Fellow at JNCASR and I stayed there for two months.Being there was like a dream come true, I joined the research group of Dr. N.S Vidhyadhiraja(Fellow , Theoretical sciences Unit) . This was my first meeting with a scientist , he explained the project to me, it was the "Charge Carrier Transport in Organic Semiconductors".This was my first research project and I want to put my best into it.The most adventerous thing is that the project demands a sound grip on Mathematics and computer programming but I had not done any course in programming, also my Mathematics was not so good. So,I had to  learn the basics of Linux, programming in Fortran and the the Mathematical methods required for the project before getting into the main project. But I put my best efforts and  mastered the programming and the required mathematics within 20 days.My mentor was quite happy with my dedication and devotion towards the project.Then came the next adventure, this is the reading the required literature for the project.I hadn't read any scientific paper before so I faced difficulty in reading them, but this time also my hard work paid and I sucesfully reproduced the results of previou work done on the subject.Then the began the work on the main project. I collected the experimental data for the Molecular Electronics Lab. and worked to provide the theoretical basis for that. My mentor supervised the whole project and solved my quires I faced during the project, he cooperated like a true guide and made improvements  
wherever necessary.At last, I finished the project and  obtained a closed agreement between the experimental data and theoretical results. We sent an abstract of our work to International Conference on Mesoscopic and Disordered Materials which is scheduled to held at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur from December 4 - 8 ,2006.This will be the my first  scientific publication and this summer project is begining of my scientific career.

> Re: Tell us what you did this summer!
> What did you do on your "summer vacation"?  Travel
> abroad?  Research?  New life experiences?   We want
> you to tell us about how you spent your summer.  Submit
> original descriptions of no more than 300 words to
> the contest thread.  Up to two winners will be chosen
> by The Nucleus staff and will receive $25.00 gift
> cards to Deadline for sumbissions is Sept. 15
> Dave

Tell us what you did this summer! - Aug 1, 2006 at 9:15AM
Dave Avatar
San Marcos, Texas
420 Posts

What did you do on your "summer vacation"?  Travel abroad?  Research?  New life experiences?   We want you to tell us about how you spent your summer.  Submit original descriptions of no more than 300 words to the contest thread.  Up to two winners will be chosen by The Nucleus staff and will receive $25.00 gift cards to Deadline for sumbissions is Sept. 15.


Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value -- Albert Einstein

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