Week 5 - Have I "learned" anything?
by Pin-Wen Wang
Every time I Skype my dad, he asks me the same question: have you learned anything? Every time I answer, though, I’m unsure. Have I “learned” anything? I guess I’ve learned things that aren’t measurable with a written exam or a multiple choice test, but I really have learned so much from lab life to traveling. In the lab, I’m getting a real taste of what it’s like to do
experimental physics. Physics is so hard to explain. One of my main goals this summer is to measure nanoparticles and their photoluminescence and attempt to glean some insight about its characteristics from my data. With each set of data, the anxiety increases. What will my graph look like this time? Will it match my older sets of data? Every time two sets of data are a match or begin to follow a clear pattern, I get excited. Very excited. But the thing about experimental physics, as the guys in the lab tell me, is that physics never does what you want it to. Just when you think you’ve figured out the pattern, you take another test just to make sure and find out that everything is behaving differently now. What has changed? What is happening? The only thing we can do is theorize. We can try to understand what is happening inside the little nanoparticles and hope that our explanations will be reproducible.
8/19/2012 0 Comments
Week 5: Lessons learned
by Riana Balahadia
Hey Scientistas! So the summer’s winding down now, and my internship actually ended on Thursday, August 9th. There will be a nice dinner reception for all the SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) students at Harvard Medical School, which will then be followed by everyone’s poster presentations. This past week my co-workers, Sarah and John, and I have been working hard to consolidate all our work into a concise, 3ft x 4ft poster. I’m really excited to present what I’ve been working on!
Overall, this summer has been a great learning experience. I didn’t just learn about the Barbados Nutrition Study (BNS). I learned how to think critically like a scientist and how to conduct good research. Working at my job taught me how to look at a piece of data and see the important connections about the lives it represents. Dr. Galler has been a wonderful mentor. I think watching her work really gave me insight into how a successful, longitudinal study works—especially one that’s lasted for so long! By having repeated observations of the same variables over a long period of time, you can make valuable
conclusions about the adult effects of an early stressor. My project with the prenatally malnourished rats somewhat models the participants of the BNS.
Week 5: What I've learned
by Amy Beth Prager
It has been a summer full of learning, both mathematically and spiritually. I never dreamed there were such varied and useful applications of essentially the same mathematical ideas. Working within a single mathematical framework, A’CA, where
A and C are matrices defined for each situation but generally similar in structure and somewhat similar in content, we have learned how to solve problems in everything from trusses of civil engineering to Kirchoff’s laws of electrical engineering to statistical analysis to the springs of Hooke’s law (and the list goes on and on). I have barely scratched the surface of this unbelievable experience. I have never learned so much math in my life. I suppose the old saying is true: the more you know, the more you realize how little you know after all.
Week 4 - Exploring "The Hub"
by Nzuekoh Nchinda
Falling in love with city life is quite a way to spend a summer and Boston is a quintessential place to do just that. One of the oldest cities in New England, Boston is wonderfully vibrant and full of history, diverse cultures, beautiful parks, and a metropolitan ambience.
The Harvard School of Public Health is located in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area, a medical campus near the Fenway and Mission Hill neighborhoods of Boston. Centered on Harvard Medical School (HMS) and its affiliated teaching hospitals, Longwood provides an atmosphere of driven students and scholars. While waiting for PCR procedures to finish or taking lunch breaks, my lab mates and I enjoy the summer sun on the open lawn at the footsteps to HMS. The weekly performances by students from nearby Berkley College of Music add to the beauty of relaxing outside, resembling a serenade in a park.
Week 4: The story of Duisburg
by Pin-Wen Wang
When I found out that I would be spending my summer in Duisburg, I honestly had to look up where Duisburg was. I didn’t even know in what region of Germanyit was in.
In the industrial age, Duisburg was an important harbor port for Germany and was home to the country’s most important steel and coal industries. Because of this, during World War II, the region was severely bombed. From stories I’ve heard, it is my understanding that the population of Duisburg literally disappeared for some time after the war. Even today, this area is struggling with its economy. At night, Duisburg feels a bit like a ghost town; the streets are empty and dark, but oddly enough, it still feels safe, really safe. I’ve visited many other cities in the region, including Dusseldorf, Cologne, Bonn, and Aachen, but none of them have the same feeling as Duisburg. Duisburg really is an industrial region, much like the rust belt of the states, if you will.
Week 4: Summer Adventures of Another Kind
by Rabeea Ahmed
To many, many people that I know, summer time is about exploring new things. For most of the people I know, this means traveling to exotic parts of the world, going on city tours and immersing themselves in the sights and sounds of where they live. Although I grew up in the relatively tiny city of Islamabad, Pakistan, my spirit of adventure – at least when it comes to exploring new areas - is actually quite subdued.
I could blame the summer heat for my aversion to exploring my city but that would be untrue. The fact of the matter is that I just really like staying at home in general – where I enjoy cooking.
Week 4: Taking a Break from Lab: Going into Boston!
by Stephanie Wang
Doing research at Harvard has its perks. Okay, yes, there’s the big “H” attached to
the name of your lab, but more importantly there’s Boston across the Charles River. Being in Boston during the summer months is an experience not to be missed. Though humid and warm, summers in Boston are a time when people are much more chill and relaxed. The weekends are spent roaming around the city, taking walks by the glimmering waters of the river,
going to free events, and enjoying the company of friends.
Here are some of the highlights of my summer:
1. Watching Fourth of July Fireworks from Harvard Bridge
Boston is arguably one of the best places in the US to be on the night of July 4. The firework show, with the Boston Pops Orchestra playing along, is truly spectacular. Starting from 8:00am in the morning, people start marking their spots by the Hatch Shell in order to get the best view possible of both the fireworks and the show. This year, Jennifer Hudson and the cast of Mamma Mia joined the Boston Pops for a fantastic musical program.
Week 4: Life in Southern California as a Scientista
by Natalie Punt
Life outside of the lab? Preposterous! Fortunately I have no problem taking a day, or two, or three off from work. And Southern California has a variety of activities for me to choose from when I ditch the lab to go play.
Our lab is located in Pomona, California- one hour from Los Angeles, Newport and Laguna Beach and two hours from San Diego and Santa Barbara. These cities have some of the world’s best beaches but also amazing museums, art galleries, and delicious food.
Almost every highway in Southern California goes to LA. Consequently, I frequently find myself there. Every time I’m in LA, I must go to Westwood, one of the rare walkable towns in LA. It is home to UCLA with academic types abound. The village is a great place to explore and relax with trendy shops and tasty eateries. I like to catch a movie in Westwood, since many movie premiers are held there and attended by celebrities. Westwood is close to the Pacific Palisades, one of the top ten most beautiful places on earth. After watching the sun setting into the Pacific Ocean, with dolphins jumping up from the surf and the Malibu hills framing the scene, I understood why.
Week 4: Life outside of lab
by Juliet Snyder
To go home, or not to go home, that is the question. Well, at least for me it was a question. When you are in college, summers are a great time to explore new places and gather new experiences. My freshman advisor told me that if I wanted to do any meaningful research, i needed to find a lab in Cambridge to work at this summer and every summer thereafter. As a rising sophomore, at Harvard, I wasn’t quite ready to accept his advice. Much to his probable dismay, I decided (after a tough first year at college) that, I wanted to do research in my hometown of San Diego, California. I am incredibly happy with my decision.
San Diego is a big, bustling city that has a wide variety of components – beach communities, multiple "downtown"-like areas, university campuses, etc. Moreover, LA and Hollywood are just an hour and a half ride away (and yes that includes Disneyland).
8/13/2012 0 Comments
Week 4: The Ins and Outs of Beantown
by Riana Balahadia
When I found out I was staying on campus this summer, I was very excited—finally, the
chance to explore Boston! I consider myself a city girl, having grown up where New York City was only a subway ride away. Yet, I craved the flavor of a new town, with a different urban experience. My expertise in Boston/Cambridge locale was limited since I had hardly ventured beyond Harvard Square since freshman year (wow, time really flies by). And so, with a monthly T pass in hand, I set out to explore what I could during my weekends and after work.
The best thing I’ve discovered about the area this summer is that everything is so convenient and walk-able! During the school year, I only relied on the T subway system, not really understanding where the stops were in relation to each other. Now, I’ve been walking when I can and using the buses more often. The city of Boston is significantly smaller than the bustling Big Apple. In fact, other cities connected by the MBTA (Metro Boston Transportation Authority) have almost melded together to make up a larger “Boston.” Several towns I’ve explored so far include Cambridge, Allston, Brookline, and Brighton—each delivering a different “Boston experience.”
The Lab Journal
Welcome to the summer internship series of 2012! Follow 9 Scientista bloggers through their summer internships to catch a glimpse of what it is like to be a scientista^TM.
- India Presents: A "New World Symphony"
- Through The Lens: The Intricacies Of Diabetes
- Do Nanoparticles Glow?
- Using Unusual Animals to Study Human Disease
- Using the Hubble Telescope
- You Think What You Eat
- Experimenting With the Life of a Scientist(a)
- 18.085: My Summer at MIT
- Science Heals: A Summer of Global Health Research
Amy Beth Prager
The Network for Pre-Professional Women in Science and Engineering
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