Justin's Summer Internship working on the SOCK

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Week of June 25, 2007 Pt. 2 - Aug 12, 2008 at 2:21PM
36 Posts

Friday, 29 June 2007
Everybody at work is all geared up for the weekend after yesterday's party. Ryan and I were going to fire off another one of our Mentos experiments to get some additional data. When we video taped the experiment from yesterday, the tops of the spray from the soda was cut off, which is what we needed to figure out the most efficient hole size. So we ran her again. Once we narrowed it down to two optimal sizes we loaded up the carts for a test run. And they were off! They did quite well until a wheel on each cart disconnected and stopped them cold. I was a little disgruntled since I had put lock washers on those wheels to lock them up tight. Apparently to no avail. Now we were faced with the possibility of having to find another dynamics cart. Not cool we had put so much time into getting this part of the project ready for the SOCK. Back to the drawing board.
By the end of the work day I think I managed to locate another good dynamics cart, however, we wouldn't be able to test it until next Thursday because of the 4th of July holiday. A little frustrating but at least it was the weekend. Time to get ready for the Shenandoah National Park hike I had been planning for a few weeks.

Saturday, 30 June 2007
Indeed I had almost forgotten the unique beauty that the countryside can have. After having the fun and adventure of exploring the gorgeous monuments and treasures that Washington D.C. has to offer it was a change of pace to see the lush green hills and valleys of Virginia. But it was a welcome change.
Earlier this morning Katie and her room mate, Chris, came to G.W. to pick up myself, Jesus, Enrique, and Andrea for some hiking at Shenandoah National Park. I had been waiting for this trip for a while since I had heard how close the mountains were. Plus I knew some of the Civil War history that was in these hills. So I looked forward to seeing the land from a nice mountain peak. I had been digging around online and asking around at work as to what were the best trails hit in the park.
We arrived at the park at 10:00 at the Swift Run Gap, a little further south than I had originally anticipated. But we found a good trail to hit just a little ways in. We checked out the South River Falls trail. It was a really good hike. For one the deer in this park seemed really non apprehensive of park visitors. We walked upon two in our first few minutes of the hike. Then we came upon a small creek and of course being science majors curious about nature, we couldn't just settle for looking at it from the path. So we separated from the well traveled path to explore the unknown of the river and all its cool rock formations. I hadn't done fun exploring like that for a while now. Indeed it feels good to do fun stuff like this again.
Once we had checked out the river we made it back to the trail and continued on to the falls. What a site that was, seeing an 86 waterfall with a small pool at the bottom. We had a few snacks while admiring the view. Then we pressed on and that's when we realized that we had been going all down hill to see this and now we had to hike a rather steep grade to get back to our cars.
Back at the trail head we broke out the charcoal and fired up one of the grills at the campsites. Hot dogs never tasted so good after an endeavor like that. It was nice to just kick back and relax. For some reason I particularly liked the smell of charcoal. Guess it's the camping aspect of it.
After lunch we had a quick business meeting on where to go next. We decided that we should either find some more falls or hit the tallest thing in the park. Yup we voted on hitting the tallest point in the park, Hawksbill Mountain at 4,050 ft. And I tell you that was another really awesome hike, although this one was tougher on the ascent, but we made her and the view was breathtaking. We climbed around along the summit for a ways checking out the views from the various angles. We took some really nice photos. But before we knew it, it was time to go. I was pretty exhausted by the time we got back to the vehicles, but it had been indeed a really spectacular day.

Sunday, 1 July 2007
Laundry day and mandatory R&R. Well alright maybe not mandatory but indeed after yesterday's endeavors I have to kick back a little bit. Good day to get laundry done and my journal. But I have heard that there are plans to check out the National Cathedral and the Smithsonian Ethnic Fest which is on the Mall for the next few days. It sounds to be pretty interesting. I'm looking forward to checking it out although I plan on not going too fast today. I'll have to write more on this in my next journal entries.

Week of June 25, 2007 Pt. 1 - Aug 12, 2008 at 2:21PM
36 Posts

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.

Week of June 18, 2007, Pt. 2 - Aug 12, 2008 at 2:18PM
36 Posts

Friday, 22 June 2007
It is Friday! Yeah I think no matter if you even have your dream job, there is always a bit of elation when it comes to the end of the work week. Today I emailed my state Senators to let them know that I was in town and that I would be attending the CNSF Exhibition on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. I am so excited about this event. Jack gave us a run down of what to expect and he gave us the names of some of the websites that we should check out before attending. One had a flyer of who was all going to be exhibiting at the exhibition. I saw U.W. Madison was showing something along with Boston Museum of Science. Both of those exhibits I mean to check out rather and talk to the people at the booth.
After we got our briefing from Jack I worked on finishing up a few loose ends for the statistics I needed for my meeting on Monday. Then I messed around with that Mentos rocket to see if I could get our cart to go some distance. This proved to be rather difficult and I even tried a couple of dynamics carts which I had ordered. They unfortunately didn't work very well as the wheels were poorly constructed and have a tendency to fall off. I tried a couple of quick modifications including using hot glue to keep the nuts in. This kind of worked but then the wheel nut came loose. This proved to me that lock washers are in order but maybe another company should be considered for the carts.
After work we decided to catch a quick bite to eat at the dorms and then we decided to file up the Poker table. This time we had accumulated enough change to make betting more entertaining. I figure that by the end of this internship it might be my paycheck on the table. And that I'll have to be careful on as Meagan has an outstanding Poker face. I have to work on mine and I'll probably go the route that the Poker players on T.V. go with by wearing some fancy outfit. That d be pretty cool. Huge sunglasses and maybe Mexican sombrero would be my outfit.

Saturday, 23 June 2007
Today after recouping from some hard core poking playing our objective was to tour the Washington Monument which I found out is the tallest structure in Washington D.C. at 555 feet high. Talk about an interesting measurement to end at. For the tour a National Park ranger took us up in an elevator to the observation deck of the monument. We were 500 feet high and talk about a view. It was as good a view as I saw when my plane was coming in two weeks ago. The observation deck allowed us to view the city in all four cardinal directions. I found interesting was that they had historical snap shots so you could compare what the city looked like at different stages in history. When we were back on solid ground again we gathered by the base of it and then looked straight up. We were told that if you did this you might get dizzy. I'm not sure if it really worked as none of us got dizzy from it.
After the tour we checked out the Native American Museum. It was really cool to see all the different artifacts and displays they had. One tribe that particularly stood out for me was the Matise Tribe. They apparently incorporated into their culture music and dance style which sounds like River dance but it incorporates French, Canadian, & Native American aspects to it. This music is displayed at a festival called Matise Days. I'll have to check it out sometime. I also thought the displays on Native People's beliefs were quite interesting too. In fact it was neat to see what beliefs they had which intertwined with the stellar and planetary cycles.
After this we headed back to the dorms to get some food. Later on that evening one of Ryan's friends from the city was going to come on over. She mentioned that she knew a couple of good places for us to check out for some D.C. night life. I thought this would be pretty cool as I had never had much of an opportunity before to check out city night life.

Sunday, 24 June 2007
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Instead of going to see the wonderful wizard of Oz we were off to the Smithsonian Zoo. Ryan, Meagan, Andy, Ali, and I were out for a safari today! We had our list of targets that we wanted to check out at the zoo. Indeed the Zoo was much bigger than I had expected, but then again I think I'm beginning to get accustomed to the fact that everything in this town comes big.
It was good to do some walking in an area where there was a lot of greenery. We checked out the Panda exhibit to see if the mother had her kid yet. Then we checked out the Lion, Tiger, and Cheetah exhibit. I have to say I never knew how far a Cheetah's leap was until we saw it displayed on the sidewalk. It is as big as my current dorm room's length! Plus that Cheetah can haul with its top speed being 70 mph. I told Ryan that he probably shouldn't test his running skills against that cat.
We managed to get through the whole park in a day. I think this weekend I put some quality walking time on my shoes. But indeed it was fun. Now it was time to get back to the dorms to check on my crock pot cooking. I had made up a batch of chicken pot pie filling which I planned to share for dinner with the crew. I hope it tastes good!

Week of June 18, 2007, Pt. 1 - Aug 12, 2008 at 2:18PM
36 Posts

Monday, 17 June 2007
The word for the day is busy and indeed it was. Over the weekend Gary had picked up some supplies for our demonstration at Tuckahoe Elementary School. He even found some gingerbread cookie cutters which looked perfect for making our test playdoh figures, however later testing of the equipment proved that this was actually not the case. In fact I spent the better part of the morning running extensive crash tests to see which would be most effective for demonstrating realistic crash results. In the end, I found out that the thin Dora playdoh figure would work out best mainly b/c of her thickness and also because she was top heavy which aided in making the collision look more graphical.
Once I had completed that phase of the testing I had to finish prepping the ramps and then I had to work on the skateboard to make it roll more efficiently so that it could pick up more speed on the ramp. I also added some Velcro to the seatbelts to make fastening our passengers easier to accomplish. Once that was all done I had to work on updating Ryan's outline for the class and then help Gary get the gear all packed up into his car. It was funny seeing that thing so loaded up with gear. In fact it reminded me of my earlier college days when I moved into and out of the dorms. Yeah my little Geo Metro was packed to the ceiling with all my gear. It's amazing how much stuff can accumulate in a dorm room after a year.
After that all got done I went back to G.W. But before I could crash for the day I got together to meet with Andrea, Andy, and Meagan to go over a brief discussion of how we were going to run the event. After the meeting it was finally time to crash.

Tuesday, 18 June 2007
Oh man have I forgotten how much energy 3rd graders can have! Now if only we could develop a way to trap all of that energy of theirs, our nation's energy crisis would be over! Indeed today I am convinced from all the laughter and creative brainstorming that I saw in the classroom today that we clearly inspired some of these kids to pursue learning about physics and science. Who knows one, of these days I might be working side-by-side with one of these talented kids. I have to say that today was indeed one of my top most days here in D.C. It is good to be reminded of where all the work we do eventually goes for, and that is the kids. I've included the details in a report that I made following the event.

Wednesday, 19 June 2007
Analysis day. After coming off of the rush that I had yesterday it's hard to get back to regular office life again. Oh wait, did I say regular office life ? Wow I'm already somewhat transitioning out of the student mind frame. Weird. So today my main objective is to check with my fellow interns to see what they thought of the lesson plan, write up a report about it and send it to Ryan so he can see what needs to be changed with his lesson plan. Although from the success of the event I would say that only a few minor changes and she's good to go for putting in the SOCK.
The other thing I have to work on is going through the NSDL records that we received and see which ones are textbooks, and which ones have reviews that are available from the American Journal of Physics.
Almost forgot today's fun highlight of the day! After work I went to the ball field with Ray Chu to play some pick up baseball. Man did I have an awesome time! I hadn't played a game of baseball since high school and it felt great. I always thought I d get a chance to do it in college but my studies have always kept me away from it. The team was made up of some really awesome mix of guys from undergraduates, graduates, and professors from the University of Maryland. I even met Dr. Richard Berg who does Physics is Phun outreach program with the university.
We played until dusk. I didn't manage to wrack up any outstanding statistics that game. I did manage to hit every time I was up to bat, even though each one was a fly out. Ah, they just had some really good outfielders. After the game we headed over to a local pizza place where they had huge home made pizzas. I was after the Hawaiian one. There I got to talk a bit more with Dr. Berg. He indeed is an interesting fellow. I talked to him a bit on fluid dynamics stuff because I was curious about what demos he had done with flying technology since I had done last year something similar with a workshop for girl scouts. He told me about the competing principles that were out there and being taught. I was fascinated.
Unfortunately all good things come to an end and we had to head out once the pizza place closed at 9:30. So I bid farewell to the baseball crew and promised them that I would be out again soon to play ball with them. Ray then dropped me off at the metro and it was back to town.

Thursday, 21 June 2007
Alright, it is true that there is a price to pay for having fun. This morning when I woke up I was pretty sore from my last night's endeavors in baseball. It was indeed fun and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything, but indeed I must remember to stretch a lot more after the game. A hot shower did do wonders for me and I was back and rolling.
At work, Lyle came in to show me and Gary how to work this online computer program called Omniture which gives you statistics about a website that you own. It is really a pretty neat program. When I saw all the features that this program had I was rather stunned, in fact the quote of Big Brother is watching you definitely came to mind.
After the demo I worked on getting some statistical information from the program so I would have something to present at the meeting with how well the Nucleus was being used by internet users. In fact, Gary and I found an interesting correlation in the data. From the graphs we saw it was apparent that usage of the site increased every time Gary sent out emails to SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma members. Another thing we figured from the graphs was that usage also tended to increase in late December and continue on till like late February. This anomaly I think is explainable by the fact that this was the time period which corresponds to when applications for internships and cooperative learning experiences are due. It is neat to see how companies are able to get statistics and analyze usage of the internet.

Week of June 11, 2007, Pt. 2 - Aug 12, 2008 at 2:16PM
36 Posts

Thursday, 14 June 2007
Gary was awesome on his word for bringing goods in for construction. First thing we did that morning was began experimenting with a ramping system for our collision cart. We tested the skateboards on the ramp we made and found they rolled pretty descent but did have a tendency to slow down a bit because of poor bearings in the tires. Luckily James, one of the education guys from 4th floor is really into skateboarding. Apparently for the 2005 Year of Physics he incorporated some physics of skateboarding. He even got involved with one of the episodes of the Discovery Channel's Mythbusters!

So I talked to James and he was able to loan us a couple of sets of wheels to replace the ones on the skateboards I had purchased. I took a test run with the new wheels and they added about another 4-5 mph according to the speed guns.

After getting all this stuff together I constructed some sturdy seats to place our test figures on the board. Then we ran a few test runs and found the figures to show the appropriate damage for the collisions. Gary and I then discussed some possible ideas for the strapping of the figures into the seats to make it easy. Velcro looks to be a pliable material for this job. We then hashed out some ideas as to the structure of the show.

Friday, 15 June 2007
Today Ryan and I ran through some further testing of the ramp and collision cart. We talked about we should consider formatting the show, what possible hang ups we might have and what some of the last minute supplies we would need. Then we met with Gary, Andy, Meagan, and Andrea who were also going to help run the show with the third graders. Ryan wouldn t be able to go on this one as he will be working with MERSEC on Tuesday. I ll have to get him some pictures so he sees the results of our planning.

After work we kicked back at the dorms for a bit. We pulled out the Cranium Board Game that I had picked up at Target and gave it a run. Through this little run we found out who the true natural actors in our group are. Jesus, Krystyna, and I turned out to be the trivia masters by winning the first game. Ryan and Meagan were running a close second. Enrique and Andrea were a bit further back. They had claims that we rigged the game; we figured they had to work on their clay making and drawing skills. It was all good fun and I will definitely have to thank Meagan for the party game recommendation.

Saturday, 16 June 2007
Today I visited Arlington National Cemetery. I decided to explore this one on my own a bit as I wanted some time for some retrospective thought. Indeed I found it rather touching to see this place. For one I had no idea how large this place was until I visited it. Second I found a tribute of sorts to the fallen soldiers who had died in the war on terrorism. It was quite touching as artists from all over the country volunteered to paint portraits of our service men lost to this cause. With the number of portraits there one definitely gets a more proper and personal perspective of 3,000 plus killed in action.

After checking out this I went to go see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I managed to just arrive in time to see the placing of a wreath ceremony at the tomb. Very touching and moving, especially when the marine bugler played taps. I then watched the changing of the guard. Indeed how ceremonious the Marine Corps is about this. They definitely hold nothing back.

Once I had gotten done with Arlington I linked up with Katie and then we met the rest of the crew at the Museum of Natural History. I have to say that Washington has no holds when it comes to having very beautiful and large buildings with lots of exhibits to see. I could ve toured this place forever. We saw everything from fossils showing earths time periods to the Hope Diamond to the development of humans throughout the ages.

Afterwards we were totally hungry. Where to eat became the question to answer? But what would be a unique place we had never been to that would be good. Chinatown! I had been accustomed to like Chinese buffets but now was the time to get a flavor for the real stuff along with maybe some Chinese beer, something which I hadn t sampled yet. Got to love D.C., definitely a place to see and do new things!

Sunday, 17 June 2007
Ah yes, recoup day! I enjoyed sleeping in and then taking a run to one of the local stores for some breakfast. Some of the crew headed to the art gallery, me I did a little poking around downtown to see if I could find some more useful stores. You got to love exploring. Later I would work on the finishing touches to my journal.

Week of June 11, 2007, Pt. 1 - Aug 12, 2008 at 2:14PM
36 Posts

Monday, 11 June 2007
Today was a really awesome day. I have to admit that getting up this morning was rather difficult after having such an adventurous weekend touring Washington D.C. and seeing as many sites and monuments as possible. I still had the hazy fog of sleep when I stepped off the metro at College Park station. So at work I mixed a batch of my favorite source of caffeine, Chai Tea Latte, and I fired up my computer. To my surprise, I had a ton of emails to go through from people at work giving me information on my ComPADRE and SOCKS projects.

One happened to be from Gary White and in it was information on a website he had found over the weekend. He also attached two documents containing information on a seat belt and airbag experiment which he had found. After reading through it I became really excited. This would be a perfect addition to our SOCKS kit. It would be a fun and exciting way to evaluate collisions in NASCAR. We had to get this in our kit.
Then I continued reading on the email and Gary mentioned that he had gotten permission from the third grade teacher at Tuckahoe Elementary school to do physics demonstration for 25 third graders. Now came the task to prepare a trial run of the SOCK idea with some students. I was really excited and anxious to share this news with Ryan who was also working on the project.

That would have to wait for a bit though. I was on a mission after work to obtain something vital to my survival. I had recently learned from Andrea that she had discovered a Target which was just off of the metro stop at Prince George's Plaza. Sweet as now I knew I could finally obtain a crock pot (slow cooker is the technical term) for cooking in the dorms. I could finally attempt to do some cooking for the rest of the group.

So I stopped at Target along with Andrea and we did some shopping. I had quite a few bags but I was lucky Andrea was willing to help me out. So I was the one who carried her through the metro. Man did I get a few funny looks from people on the metro. But none-the-less I was happy to have my toy. I spent the rest of the evening digging through recipes to determine what I wanted to cook and what I needed to buy. I finally settled on a roast beef hash which we could use for eating at work.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007
Well, for work I spent most of the day discussing with Gary the finer points of working on the Collision project. First off we had to figure out what type of vehicle we were going to use. I searched the web looking for various types of momentum carts used in experiments. They were all a bit expense but after some further talking with Gary we decided that it would be more fun and exciting to use a skateboard modeled as a car with seats for the demo. Next we would have the third graders make their own play-doh figurines to put in the car and then run it down a ramp at a brick to see how well different types of seatbelts protected the passengers. Finally the kids could record the speed they obtained from the radar guns and graph the data of damage vs. speed.

Once I had completed getting the orders for our test runs it was time to go home. I was doubly excited about heading back. First off I was anxious to fill in Ryan about the days events with our project. Secondly I was going to fire up my crock pot for the first time. I spent about an hour and a half cutting vegetables and the meat for my hash. Then after all the stuff was cut I put in the onions and meat in to cook in the pot for almost 9 hours! Oh such a long time but it would be oh so good! By the time it was going Meagan had dinner ready. She had cooked us up an Enchilada Casserole with homemade guacamole, chips, and salsa which Jesus had helped in making. It was really good and it was almost becoming tradition with us to do this round robin cooking. It was quite fun. I m thinking about doing a group one with my crock pot for Sunday.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007
This morning I went to Target to do a little shopping for the Collision experiment we are going to be doing on Tuesday with some third graders from Tuckahoe Elementary school. I m really looking forward to the show but must preparation must be done before hand. At Target I managed to pick up three Hot Wheels radar guns, two skateboards, and some Play-doh which we had to do some testing on. Plus I picked up some mentos which we planned on testing with some Diet Coke to see if it could go into the SOCK.

After picking up all that stuff I had to drag all that stuff through the lines at the metro to AIP. Not too bad for work but the day had already gotten hot. At work I began to construct some temporary seating for the Play-Doh people. However I had to acquire many tools and supplies. So Doug and I did lots of trekking through AIP looking for card board, duct tape, cutting knives and the whole ball of wax to get the skate boards ready for their preliminary run. By the end of the day Doug and I were a bit worn out but we had fun going from the kids day care center to get cookie cutters to dumpster diving to get cardboard. I hadn t had that much fun working on a project for a long time. It was cool. But the test board was completed and ready for testing when Gary brought in the goods making a ramp.

Week of June 4, 2007 - Aug 12, 2008 at 2:12PM
36 Posts

Man it is so hard to believe that already a whole week has gone by of my internship with the American Institute of Physics.  It seems only like yesterday when I was driving my Ford Focus on the highway passing the small farms and corn fields of Wisconsin.  Now I am zipping by on the Washington D.C. metro!  What a change in such a little time.  In fact it is sometimes a little disorientating but indeed oh so exciting.

It's hard to think of where to begin.  The excitement began on Saturday when my parents dropped me off at the airport in Green Bay, WI.  I was then off on the 10:00 A.M. flight to Detroit, MN and then on to our nation's capital, Washington D.C.  Indeed it was incredible to believe.  I, Justin Reeder, was given the opportunity to work with some of the top minds in Physics to work on outreach programs for undergraduates.  How cool was that.  My excitement continued to grow with each passing mile.

Then before I knew it we were on our final descent.  I glanced out the window to see if I could get a glimpse of the city before we landed.  I was indeed not disappointed.  I had a beautiful aerial view of the majestic monuments and government buildings before touching down on the tarmac.  I had not seen such a beautiful site since I last touched grown after arriving home from active duty in Iraq.

After I had collected my two suitcases and a duffel bag from baggage claim it was off to see my fellow interns at George Washington University.  I was elated to finally meet these wonderful people from all parts of the country whom I would get to work and live with.  From the biographies I had read they seemed to be a fun and interesting lot.  

The first ones I got to meet were Krystyna, Enrique, and Ryan. They were really cool and helped me move my luggage into my room and then assisted with my checking in with G.W. Housing.  Then we just kicked back and relaxed while we waited for the rest of us to arrive.  Slowly but surely our number grew until by Sunday all of us interns were in minus Andrea who was at a building ceremony back on her campus.

We had a lot of fun that first weekend exploring about our local neighborhood and picking up groceries.  Krystyna and Ryan were kind of natural to the city lifestyle and helped the rest of us get around and learn the ins and outs of city life.  They showed us how to ride the metro (a definite first for me!), crossing intersections without having to play frogger, finding grocery stores, and other cool points of interest.

The next day was Orientation Day at the American Institute of Physics.  It would be my first time doing a race through the metro system to get to work.  I was glad we were all going as a group as I still had yet to figure the system out.  Ryan took us through with no sweat at all.

Man we were all a bit nervous at first.  We were going to finally see all the people we would be working with at the American Institute of Physics.  Wow!  I still wasn't quite over the excitement of being in the city.  The day started out with a continental breakfast with some of the top men and women of AIP and it's fellow organizations including James Stith, Jack Hehn, Gary White, Liz Caron, and many others just to name a few.  
Afterwards we were given a group tour of the building and all its departments and facilities.  The people who work here are really friendly and welcomed us at every turn while telling us about what they did in the office.  After lunch we split up into our respective departments where we would be working.  I got to go with Liz.  She gave me an in depth tour of the second floor, showed me where my desk was going to be at, and helped me meet all of the staff whom I was to be working with.  They were all really cool and welcomed me to the office staff.  Before I knew it, it was time to head on home again.  We interns gathered at the front of AIP and caught the shuttle back to the metro.  It had been a very exciting day.  I couldn't wait for my first real day on the job to begin.

On Tuesday I would get my first taste of the job.  In the morning I had a teleconference meeting with Dave Donnelly from Texas State University in Liz's office.  He was to be one of my mentors along with Gary White for the portion of the ComPADRE I was to be working on.  There he laid out some of the relative ideas that Gary and he had discussed would be good improve the website.  I was intrigued with the project.  The first thing I would have to do though was get more familiar with the site.  That was my first assignment for the work week.

My next assignment came in my next meeting which was with Gary White and my fellow intern Ryan.  Gary gave us a quick rundown of the SOCK program and then we began brainstorming up ideas for a NASCAR theme.  We came up with quite a few interesting ones.  By the time the meeting was over with I was indeed quite inspired to get to work on the projects.  But first I had to begin to get organized.  That would prove to take a few days.

Then before I knew it, it was Friday!  The weekend was here!  We had been invited by Gary White to attend a performance of Capitol Steps at the Ronald Reagan Building.  It was my first time that I had gone to a political humor performance.  It was pretty cool how they made up twisted popular songs into hilarious performances ranging from songs about the D.C. metro to the recent purchasing of U.S. ports by the Arabs.  I still remember some of their lines.

The next day we decided to be tourists of Washington, D.C.  We headed for the mall and explored all the monuments in that area.  I was in awe when we explored the Lincoln Memorial.  To be so close to a monument dedicated to one of the greatest men to hold our nation together in such time of strife was amazing.  Although to get the full breadth of that wasn't possible with all the people milling about.  I promised myself that I would go back to these monuments again early in the morning along with Arlington National Cemetery to pay my proper respects.

After lunch we hit up the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  Talk about a physics fanatic's best dream.  The opportunity to see tons of exhibits on the practical application of physics.  I was indeed in heaven!

After lunch we hit up the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  Talk about a physics major's best dream.  The opportunity to see tons of exhibits on the practical application of physics under one roof.  I could've spent days in their browsing through the exhibits.  One of my favorites was the one on space exploration where they showed how the instruments worked on the satellites.  But by the end of three hours we were pretty beat but before we were done we figured to check out Union station.

On Sunday I spent the day pretty much relaxing and recouping from the weeks activities.  It was Enrique's birthday and Jesus had gotten the cool idea to bake a cake for him.  So we went to Harris Teeters to pick up the supplies.  When we got back, Jesus got to work on the cake.  That evening, Jesus got all the interns together and we sang Happy Birthday for him.  We also made an attempt at singing in Spanish but it didn't quite work out too well.  Oh well.  After cake we enjoyed watching the NBA finals on Enrique's new T.V. which he had lugged all the way from Best Buy to the Metro and then to F.S. Key Hall.  That was a heck of a trek, but then again, he really likes his basketball.

Introduction - Aug 12, 2008 at 2:09PM
36 Posts

My name is Justin Reeder and I am from the great Midwestern state of Wisconsin where string cheese, dairy cows, beer brats (yes a real food), and Packer fans abound!  I am a junior at the University of Wisconsin--Platteville majoring in Engineering Physics.  Upon the completion of my degree, I am looking forward to getting into a career involved in the development of Physics and Engineering education programs.  In fact, it was through my local Society of Physics Students chapter that I managed to get so involved in such programs including our traveling physics road shows to local area schools.  I even had the opportunity this past year to design a workshop which introduced the physics of sail car design to high school students at Platteville's Engineering Exposition.

Not only am I a student at U.W. Platteville, but I also work part time as a radio telephone operator/technician for the Wisconsin Army National Guard out of Eau Claire, WI.  My unit and I did some active duty time two years ago in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  I was stationed about 30 miles north of Baghdad near a small town called Ad-Dujahyl.  There I was a gunner for convoy escort missions whose purpose was to transport people, goods, and supplies between our various bases.  It was indeed an experience to see such a different country and culture.  If there is any interest I have pictures from my travels which might be kind of neat to see.

As for my interests I have so many.  I am an avid outdoor enthusiast who loves to do anything outside--hiking, camping, canoeing, bicycling or whatever, as long as it's in the sun.  I also am a pretty big history buff, so I am all about historical places and monuments. I particularly like the American Civil War period.  In fact I have recently managed to combine these two interests of mine by discovering the hobby of Civil War reenacting.  I also enjoy traveling to new places and since this is my first trip to the Washington D.C. area I am all about checking out the sites and sounds of the city.  In particular I love museums and national monuments so the Smithsonian is definitely tops on my list.

Well that is just a little bit about me.  I just want to say that I am looking forward to meeting you all and spending the summer with you.  I am honored to have this opportunity to work with you to advance the knowledge of physics.  See you soon!

Justin Reeder

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