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2011 SPS National Interns
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Name Anish Chakrabarti
Drury University
Internship: NOVA: Fabric of the Cosmos
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Greeting

I am an international student from India studying at Drury University. I am a junior math and physics double major with minors in business administration and global studies. I first came to the US in 2008 as a freshman at Drury. I have really enjoyed my time at Drury, a liberal arts school where I have had the opportunity to take a variety of classes.  My classes and experiences have all helped me better understand and appreciate America’s vivid culture.

As a student, I love building new things. I am the president of our Society of Physics chapter and am also Drury’s Class President for the year 2012. I have many interests. I have been trying to learn the guitar for the last three months (a slow endeavor), and I am also building a hovercraft for the Society of Physics at Drury. In my free time I enjoy music, movies, reading and playing video games. I look forward to working with others this summer; I aspire to be an electrical engineer and this experience will help broaden my understanding of this field in addition to being exciting and interesting. 

~Anish

Name Anish Chakrabarti
Drury University
Internship: NOVA: Fabric of the Cosmos
Follow SPS on: Twitter Facebook YouTube Photobucket The Nucleus Email and Share
Where are they now? Friday, July 29th Friday, July 8th Friday, June 17th
Review of the Summer Friday, July 22nd Friday, July 1st Friday, June 10th
Friday, August 5th Friday, July 15th Friday, June 24th Friday, June 3rd


Where are they now?

July 3, 2013

I am at Washington University in St Louis, MO, pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Systems Engineering. Currently I am doing a Co-op with Hunter Engineering, here in St Louis, I am a computer science co-op and I get to do a lot of programming and problem solving, which I thoroughly enjoy.

I still miss my SPS days though !!

-Anish


Review of the Summer

Let me begin by saying that it is still a bit crazy that we are not in DC anymore. I still stand at the right hand side of an escalator, and try to walk down on the left.

But by being in a different country, rather, a different part of the world, I have had a great chance to look back on this summer and go through my mental checklist on the things I have personally gained through this summer internship.

The biggest change in me that I find is the level of professionalism that I have gained from working in a place like SPS, although I dare say that this change hasn’t come to replace my own personality. Before the summer, 10 am classes seemed too early, but after getting up at 7am every day and reaching work by 9, getting up early is not a problem. Rather, it has become a habit; I have been getting up at 7 here in India and have been looking for things to do.

During the course of the summer internship, I followed a timeline in which I had to get things done. As I was working closely with Kendra and NOVA, I was forced to do things regularly instead of my old college habit of pulling an all-nighter the day before. Planning and organizing things were never my forte, but after this internship I think I am on the right path.

But these are only personal changes; the joy of this internship was much greater. Over the summer I had the honor of working with the likes of Kendra, Gary, Jack and Tom - people whom I had only heard of in the emails they send out. The SPS building in and of itself was a lot of fun, too. I was a bit afraid of fitting in, but everyone took great care and made me feel right at home. Coming to work was something I looked forward to everyday.

My fellow SPS interns themselves were an absolute blast. We now share many memories of our adventures in DC together, right from the first day when we went to the shady bar for a late night dinner to our last dinner at Clyde’s.

Apart from all this, I really enjoyed my project a lot. I learned a whole new area of outreach. Cosmic Cafés are a brilliant idea, and working with everyone in NOVA was a real pleasure. I had the opportunity of organizing and moderating my own Cosmic Café, and had the pleasure of seeing Dr. James Gates in action.

I thank SPS for selecting me as an intern for the Summer of 2011.

It was truly Legen….wait for it…….dary!

-Anish

Friday, August 5th

It’s a a bit weird to be writing this from India, partly because its 6:15am in the morning here and I am severely jetlagged. Although its great to be home, I do miss sitting in my cubicle a lot.

The final week for me was all finishing up and helping the SOCK people. My project was almost done, and I had to register for the AGU conference and finish my report. My report was done on Monday, and again Kendra was very kind to go over it and polish it for me. For the later part of Monday I was helping the SOCK people and trying to get the boxes done in time. I did get out of work a bit early on Monday in order to buy some gifts for my parents and sister.
On Tuesday, I wrapped up the registration for the AGU conference, I submitted an abstract for it and now all I need is an awesome poster. I am looking forward to December. The final day of work was more SOCK work; Erin and Amanda were doing great for the amount of work they had to do. I was happy to help finish up whatever was left of them. After the day’s work, I believe Erin just had some handouts left. Unfortunately Gary is out of town so a tiny bit of the SOCK remained unfinished. But later on that day all the interns and I, along with Heather’s family decided to go to Clyde’s to have one last bite of that delicious Chicken pesto dish. Clydes was awesome as usual, and I was barely able to move after eating so much. It was a good night!!

Wednesday was a sad day. We should have been happy that our work at SPS was done. But most of us were sad to be leaving DC and SPS. Kendra and Doug had gifts for us, we filled out a couple of surveys for the next years interns and wrote some thank you cards. After cleaning the office out it was finally time to leave SPS. Thanks everyone for being so awesome! Later that afternoon we said goodbye to Erin and Heather, and out of the sadness Amanda and I decided to go back to Clyde’s for one last time. We just could not part with that chicken! Soon all the rest of the interns joined us for dinner ! It was the last hurrah for all of us!

Thursday again was a sad day, it was my time to say goodbye to awesome friends, Binayak and I finished the impossible, we cleaned our room. Finally at about 9:30 am Amanda and I left for the airport, Fidele and Binyak came to see us off … such cool dudes! The cab driver thought I was going to Indiana instead of India, and started asking me all sorts of things about Indiana. It was a bit awkward. Amanda and I were supposed to have breakfast together, but those plans were thwarted as our gates were on different ends. It was really sad saying good bye to Amanda, she was a sister to me! But it was done. All my flights were on time and finally after about a day later, I am sitting in my couch in Durgapur, India finishing up my journal. The air is heavy here, tons of rain…the monsoons are here, along with all the mangoes, the pears and other tropical joys, not to forget 1.3 billion people.


Friday, July 29th

Week nine!

This week was finishing up my project with the science cafés. I got to read all the surveys and finish the report. The feedback we got from the survey was very encouraging. Almost everyone who filled out the survey heard about the café from the SPS interns or from one of the emails we send out, except there was one person who heard about this café as he came into the restaurant! We also asked the audience what they loved the most about the café. Here we got many different answers. Many people said that beer with Dr. Gates was a great combination, while the rest answered the atmosphere and the question-answer session was the best part of the café. Our third question was about the venue, the response was great. Everyone loved that we got a separate room, with great beer and food. They also enjoyed the presence of many television screens feeding in from the projector. That was very helpful. Finally the part that made me the most happy was that everyone would love coming back to another science café.

I also had to write up a report for NOVA about my cosmic café. Kendra very generously edited that. Yesterday I had my last and final teleconference. The Fabric team in NOVA has been great to me. Rachel coming down to see my café was a great gesture. I loved it . Also it was great to know that everyone at NOVA was happy with my performance this summer.

Now as my project is almost done, I am helping the SOCK monkeys finish their SOCKs. SOCKs are hard and I am sure that together we can finish them and send them on their way to eager SPS chapters.

I am looking forward to this weekend though, its our last weekend together and we are going Canoeing and Kayaking on Sunday. I plan on going shopping on Saturday to get stuff for India. My mother is hooked on dried cranberries and she wants me to bring as many as possible.

So its time to hit the grocery stores.


Friday, July 22nd

WHAT A WEEK!!

I was greatly looking forward to this week, I had a lot of things to do!

It all started with Monday morning, when Kendra and I went to meet Dr. James Gates. I had heard a lot about him and although we were communicating all the time via emails, meeting him was a bit nerve racking. But he was the first man this summer who pronounced my last name absolutely correctly. What a surprise! Just as Jack mentioned he is a very cool customer. Kendra and I started talking to him about the possible format we were hoping to have and about the possible topics. He was gracious to accept one of my suggestions “The Powers of Ten: String edition” and he wanted to say something new for the second part of the café. His suggestion was “Adinkras”, which is something he is working on! He gave Kendra and I a small sneak peak at it and it was awesome.

I was much more comfortable with everything once I had met Dr. Gates.

The next big thing was the SOCK Monkey’s mousetraps! Erin and Amanda set up a wonderful experiment where we set up 270 mousetraps with 270 ping pong balls in an enclosure. Then someone throws in another ping pong ball to set off a chain reaction. This is a 3rd graders' version of a nuclear fission reaction. So we did the work, while Amanda was scarred for life from the horror of mouse traps, Moriel gently let a mini chain reaction loose on her during the set up. Other than that there were no major problems. I had also got my new shoes so nothing could go wrong that day. So after setting the whole thing up, we thought it would be a good idea to let Amanda throw in the last ball to start the reaction. We had 3 cameras ready for the whole thing, many SPS staff came to see the reaction and …..IT WAS AWESOME! Total blast, even though it only lasted about 5 seconds.

Even though it was science café week, it was also final presentation week! That meant tons of practice. Although I am fairly comfortable with giving presentations, it was a bit nerve racking the first time, and rightly so! The first time I gave my rehearsal presentation I was taken apart (well not fully but a bit). All the suggestions were great! The next morning I took care of most of it! But then on Thursday, I was concentrating mostly on what I wanted to say at the Café.

Rachel from NOVA was coming to visit my café, and it was great to finally meet her in person. The next thing I find out is that I was going to be filmed for my final rehearsal presentation! As Fidele pointed out, it was a ‘learning experience.' But in all fairness, I thought it went well.

Finally, after changing and getting a small talking points ready we headed onto R.F.D at about 4:30. We got there to see that everything was mostly ready; we needed to set some of the give aways out, check the sound and projector. Dr. Gates came in right on time and we were able to test everything with his computer. And as people started streaming in, I prepared to start the café at about 6:10pm.

We ended at about 7:45, and the café was awesome. People were very responsive with the questions and there was great discussion about many topics. As a college student I learned many new ideas and concepts - some of them I had to look up later on Wikipedia.

As if that was not exciting enough, during dinner Sigma Pi Sigma presented Dr. Gates with a special recognition for his services in Physics.

Friday, is presentation day. I had to stay up and put the science café slide in the final PowerPoint with some pictures of the night. By the time I came to AIP, I was so ready to go! But alas, I was going last. The presentations of the other interns were awesome, so there was a bit of pressure to live upto the standards that were set earlier. But I think my presentation was good. I did say ‘red-neck’ during the presentation. Finally we were done! Two great events in two days and I was still alive and kicking!

Rightfully that night we went to Clyde’s and I had Pesto chicken with mashed potatoes which was Heathers recommendation. It was the best dinner I have had in a while!!

So am I ready for the last full week!
…..Nope I'm not ready for school yet !

Friday, July 15th

This summer is flying by, it’s almost impossible to believe that our final presentations are this week. There is a ton of work to do, so I will keep this rather short.

The highlight of the week was definitely the NSF tour. We went there once for a science café but that was downstairs and the atmosphere was very different. Although the security was not as tight as NIST, NSF was clearly more professional. We were lucky to have Pat Engel, a former SPS intern, with us. She guided us through the tour and did a great job answering our many questions.

Our tour started with Jack ever so awesomely explaining to us how NSF worked and started. Soon we went to meet Kathy McCloud who is the program director for Physics. After a short introduction she explained to us about the work she does. She has the huge responsibility of maintaining all the grants for researchers and REU’s. Soon after, at about 10am, we were joined by Tess and Sean, the program directors for the division of Materials Research. Although they were both interesting men, Tess was from France so I was curious to hear him talk about life as an international student. It was nice; he gave us some great advice. What I loved about these guys was that all of the people who came to see us were super important people who have so much work; including Dr. Cora Marrett who is an awesome lady… her ‘leave behind speech’ was pretty epic indeed.

Then we went for lunch at One Gen Thai with some science assistants, most of whom are going to Grad school this summer. I had a great chat about economics with Matt Pines. I enjoyed lunch a lot, and they had the best limeade I have ever tasted!

Apart from that, work is going good. The science café is creeping up pretty fast. Kendra and I went to see the venue again and worked out some details with the manager. R.F.D. looks like a great place to host this event; they have a good room, good sound system and good BEER.

I am a bit nervous about moderating the café, but Dr. Gates is a great speaker, so hopefully I won’t have to do too much talking.

So that was week 7!

Live Long and Prosper

-Anish

Friday, July 8th

Last weekend was the 4th of July weekend and it was awesome!

This is the first time I spent Fourth of July in the capital, and everyone around me was getting excited. I really didn’t know what to expect, but from the moment we went near the mall, and I saw the number of people gathered at 3 pm for 9 pm fireworks, I knew this was going to be special. Originally we were going to sit at the Jefferson Memorial, but we found a nice spot in the shade, near the side of the Lincoln Memorial. It was sunny and nice out. Erin, Paul, Cabot and I engaged ourselves in some Super Ultimate Frisbee.

All in all it was a fun evening. At about 9:10 pm the fireworks began with some catchy music playing in the background. I loved the fireworks, probably the best I've ever seen! The coolest part was that from where we were sitting, we could feel the shock waves.

After that lovely night it was time to work again: my science café plans are coming along nicely, and we finalized a poster and some other minor details. We also made good progress on the format of the café and I think I have a fair picture in my mind of what I want from my science café. The key will be to get Dr. Gates on board and then execute the plan perfectly. This week will be a very busy one - we have a lot to do.

On Friday, we went to tour NIST, and it was amazing! We saw many things that completely blew my mind. We were given a great tour by Binayak, who mostly told us to read what was written underneath every instrument. But in all fairness, they were hard instruments to understand. NIST was also cool because it had an apple tree cloned from Newton’s own apple orchard. Among the most interesting things we toured, I was completely fascinated by their Nano lab. I have seen Nano labs on TV and this was the first time I saw one up close. I had a ton of fun at NIST. Oh, and we also saw the last shuttle launch! Great Day!

So it was an interesting week, and this new week is going to be a lot of work…looking forward to it!

Friday, July 1st

How are weeks running by so fast? It’s incredible!
Since it’s already Tuesday, I am writing this Journal a bit late, but in my defense we had a long and exciting weekend.
Last week consisted of mostly tours and hanging out with everyone. We had about three days of work and I had a lot to do.

As the countdown to the science café on July 21st has already begun, slowly but surely many things are straightening out. RFD gave us a scare saying they double booked but thankfully it worked out and we are still having our event there. Aaron the bar manager said that he would throw in some extra happy hour deals for us, which is awesome! I want people to be happy during my science café.

I am starting to compile all the information required for the SPS chapters to host their own café. I believe this is the hard part, although I have collected a lot of information about science cafés and how they work. Organizing them into a nice format will be a challenge. Organization has never been my strong suit, nonetheless it shall be done! So from a work perspective it was a nice week.

But the real fun started on Thursday, when all the interns came to visit the American Center for Physics. We had a number of events planned. We learned about AAPT and all the things they do. We got a very informative back-stage session about how Physics Today was run. I was shocked to learn that only a team of about 25-odd people run the whole magazine! We then learnt about the Neil’s Bohr Library and the things they do. Contrary to the popular belief that the second floor is a napping area, I think it’s way too cold to nap there without a warm and fuzzy blanket (I do think Doug probably has a nice napping station there, maybe he can hook me up).

Next Gary showed us a couple of demos with Slinkys and PVC pipes. We made standing waves and used PVC pipes to show the effect of polarization. Cool stuff!

After a nice Chinese lunch Erin and Amanda showed the rest of the gang their demos and Heather used Garrett as a guinea pig for testing out the demos. I thought he did a good job and figured it out even while being jet lagged; poor man, the things he has to endure for his girlfriend, all in good spirits though.

We then left for Dr. Berg’s presentation at University of Maryland. He showed us about 15 demos, for each of them we had to predict the result within a couple of minutes. It was exciting to be using classical mechanics again; I have to admit I was a bit rusty and took some time figuring things out. The demos were very counter intuitive and it made the whole thing more challenging. It's things like this that makes learning Physics so much fun!

Later that evening we went to Dr. Fred Dylla's house for a fantastic barbeque. Along with fantastic food and drinks, the company of the people there was truly awesome. I had a great time! I got some great career advice from Jack and Fred. Bo gave me useful tips about socializing; I also got to talk to Dr. Mather and his wife about a wide range of topics. Finally I heard the story how Gary became Gary White. Finally at about 10pm we thought it would be a good idea to let Fred retire to his house and we left for home.

Oh and here is a SHOUT OUT to grilled Portobello Mushrooms we got at the barbeque.

On Friday we had a special Capitol tour planned. Before the beginning of the tour we had to choose between Cabot and Courtney as our tour guide. Amanda, Fidele and I, among other interns, chose Courtney and she did a great job! I now know much more about the Capitol than I knew previously. Cool stuff!

I will wait till the next journal to write about the epic weekend we had! Right now it’s time to get back to work!

Live long and prosper!

Anish


Friday, June 24th

So this is the end of the fourth week, which should means we are a month in. That’s unreal because it seems that I have been working here for a much longer time. This week was an interesting week.

Last weekend we went to the Holocaust memorial; it was a deeply emotional place. There was a huge exhibit about the propaganda techniques used by Hitler to get votes. It was shocking, and it was a prime example of what the misuse of power and talent can lead to. One of my favorite lines that I saw at the museum was “Education for Prevention”—it was very apt for the memorial. Another scary thing was the exhibit about similar genocides going on in Africa, and how the world is ignoring it. How the Rwandan leaders can get away with 1994 genocides, and how the world can ignore Darfur is strange to me. The Holocaust memorial made me realize how lucky I am to not have gone through what millions of families had to go through, and how deeply thankful I should be for that. After finishing off with the Holocaust memorial, we took a long walk back home. It was a nice and warm day, and the walk was a great way to end the afternoon.

Monday was the start of what was going to be a very interesting work week. I had finally found a nice place to host my science café. RFD’s Washington is a bar and grill with perhaps the most awesome beer menu I have ever seen. Unfortunately I don’t like beer, but I am sure the audience will have a good time with it. They have a giant back room which holds about 200 people. So we could have tons of people, although that would be a bit hard to manage. They are also throwing in some drink specials and happy hour deals for me, which is great!

Thankfully, I also found a great speaker: Dr. S. James Gates. He is a world renown theoretical physicist. He has done tons of work and is best noted for his work in super-symmetry. He was also featured in NOVA’s Elegant Universe program. He is a great speaker and a very nice person. All the people in the office are excited about this, and as for me it will be EPIC!

On Tuesday we went to a science café in Rockville which is a bit far away. I rode with Kendra, and as usual she had ninja like driving skills. We used the carpool lane effectively. We made it well before anybody else could, and hence we could get a table of ten reserved for all the other interns. The science café was held at Branded 72 barbeque pit, and it had all sorts of meats. I had a pulled pork sandwich with mac and cheese (Heather ate it all) and baked beans. I however loved my beans and sandwich. The topic of the science café was “Nano Science: teaching old material new tricks”. Michael S. Fuhrer was the guest speaker. He gave a long yet informative and interesting lecture about Quantum Dots and Nanotubes. I personally loved it because I love hearing about Nanoparticles. It’s a very cool and progressive area of physics research, and to me, its super interesting. From a science café perspective this café was a bit different. It was a lecture based café, and even though there were a lot of people, there wasn’t much discussion. Our table had a lot of discussion, but the whole café in general was a bit quiet. Which I guess is natural because the topic was hard and it took time to understand such a difficult concept.

Wednesdays are our weekly concert day, so we went to Farragut north and it was popular music time again in the square. I love going to those, it’s fun. Although I was tired and hungry, it was very pleasant to slow down and lie on the grass with my friends while listening to music. After the concert I had to go get chipotle (delicious as usual), but then it meant that we couldn’t go swimming that day. I thought my stomach deserved some good food after the run Heather and I took the day before.

Yesterday (Thursday) I had another conversation with Rachel, Jen and Maiken about the progress of my project. I think it went well. Apart from the science café, I am trying to connect to physicists across the country and get names of people who are interested in being guest speakers of a science café. Currently I am drafting the email to send out, and the responses should be really interesting.

Yesterday evening I finally went for a swim, and I was amazed how out of shape I am. Although I do workout sometimes, I could only do about 20 laps before I totally lost steam and had to get out resting. After the swim Courtney, Heather and I had a go at racquetball, which was quite fun.

Today Doug is driving us to Chipotle for lunch and it’s going to be awesome! Also after work we have a pretty nice weekend planned out for us. I have been really enjoying hanging out with the other interns; it’s been a lot of fun so far.
See y’all next week!

Anish

Friday, June 17th

This week was another interesting week for all of us. Starting Saturday I went to the gym and got a real workout. We had swimming on our agenda too, but we were too hungry and tired for that. The rest of the day was pretty lazy and we made some Indian food for dinner….it was tasty.

On Sunday after sleeping in till about 12, (score!) we went to Georgetown to look around. The ladies in the group wanted to do some shopping. Georgetown is really pretty, they had pretty houses and flower pots hung from the lamps, and it had a very rustic and refreshing look to it. My lunch in Georgetown was probably the high point of my day; I had a delicious Portobello sandwich with a fruit salad. It was AMAZING! On the whole I would say that it was a nice relaxing weekend, we didn’t do much as a group and I slept a lot.

Monday was important; we were going to Tuckahoe Elementary to present a demo. Actually Amanda and Erin were presenting, and the rest of us were helping them out. The elementary school was awesome, the kids were super smart. They knew a lot and asked all the important questions. I have to say that Amanda and Erin did really well with those kids, they were freaking out the whole weekend but in the end they held their calm and taught their lesson really well.

After the school performance, Gary got us ice cream, which was delicious. I love working here, we get so much free stuff all the time and I love it.

Monday night was also time for a science café, and this was organized by Ivan Amato. Joe Palca was talking about his new book, called “Annoying: the science of what bugs you”. All the interns joined us for this, along with Kendra, Gary and Jack. It was a nice atmosphere and I enjoyed the café a lot, the topic was interesting, the food was good and the author was interesting. Also Ivan did a good job moderating. I thought they did a good job, and the acoustic system was pretty good too. Hence I thought that this was a pretty good model, but there was a bit more people there than I would like at my cafe. Although the people were engaged, the discussion was mostly question and answers. On the whole it was a good café to have gone to see. I learned a lot from it.

Tuesday was work again; I emailed Dr. Gates and sent him an invitation to be the scientist at my café. Jack Hehn informed me that he is among the top 5 experts in the world on super string theory, so although it would be super cool to have him, my hopes are a bit on the lower side. But Jack is on the case and I do hope we can get him…..it would be truly awesome!
Wednesday was another important day, and Kendra, Moriel, Gary and I joined Erin and Amanda in presenting another demo to a couple of 7th grade classes. If the third graders were a challenge then Amanda and Erin did a really, really good job with the 7th graders.

On Thursday, I had a teleconference with Jen at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, and it was good to hear that I was on time with my projects and the timeline was working out well. My café date is coming near and there is just so much to do, but I love every part of it. I should really thank Kendra, Jack, Gary and the others for helping me so much here. This week we are going to a Noah and the Whale concert! Should be a lot of fun!!


Friday, June 10th

This week was cool, but in a very different way than our first week. When the weekend came, all of us had a nice sleep and woke up late on Saturday. It was beautiful out and we went for a long walk towards the Jefferson memorial and the JFK memorial. I thought that the Jefferson Memorial was stunning and with airplanes gliding down beside it, the white marble was cool and gleamed in the warm sunlight… it was a great sight. However the JFK memorial was more serene and peaceful, there was almost an aura of deep respect in the JFK memorial, it touched my heart deeply. After walking for almost 4 hours we finally returned home tired.

Sunday was the exciting day. We went to see the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and everyone was excited and we were totally ready for the awesomeness that was going to hit us. We had some Indian food for lunch and then went over to the museum. And true to its reputation the Air and Space museum stood out. There were ISBM’s on display, there was the lunar rover and the Sputnik. There were spy planes, the wright brother’s first airplane and even the Spirit of St Louis. I loved all of it.
During this week, I had many tasks to do. There was a science café going on in Arlington and I had to register everyone for it. It was an important event, because it was after a long time that I was going to a real science café. I was excited to learn all what I could from the organizer. The café was hosted in the Atrium of the NSF building in Arlington and the front page restaurant was in charge of the food. It was an interesting event, although personally the café itself what I expected, it was a good learning experience. I handed out evaluation sheets to the interns and the staff who were present for this, so that I could write a little case study for the whole experience.

On Wednesday, I was introduced to the Fabric of the Cosmos team in NOVA. Kendra and I had a teleconference and we shared many ideas. I also got to know more about the bigger picture of my project and involvement with the Documentary. It was very cool to know that my work was going to influence how SPS chapters all around the country host their own science cafés in November. Rachel Jennifer and Maiken were all nice, lively, and energetic people. It would be a lot of fun working with them over the course of this summer.
Later, after work we went to ‘Thai Place’, it was great food. I still have some left overs which would be great for dinner. I am trying to cut down on my spending, but the food is great out here and that has been very hard to do so far.

Today, I had an hour-long meeting with Jennifer, she is my supervisor based in NOVA. Our meeting was very useful to me, and helped me get a better idea about the things I should concentrate on to host a good science café. Among other things, she had great advice about being more organized and I realized something very important, I always write very personal emails even when I write to unknown people. She talked about how to mix professionalism to my emails. We talked about different scientists we can invite but at the end I think the agreement was to try and invite Dr. Gates from University of Maryland. He would be a very nice candidate, as he was already interviewed by NOVA on the fabric of the cosmos documentary. I think the biggest challenge in this ‘Cosmic café’ series is for it to be a true café. There has to be lots of discussion and for that to happen, the topic should be interesting. I think no one wants to listen and talk about string theory, but people might be interested in some application of string theory that they see in everyday use.

The SPS executives came in for their meeting today, and they had lunch with the interns. We were served with wraps and sandwiches which were pretty awesome, and it was great talking to the executives too. They were very nice people and asked us about each of our projects and clapped after each of us stopped speaking. I thought them clapping for us was pretty funny!
So it’s time to come to the end of the second week! So far so good!

Friday, June 3rd

Hi,
It is almost unbelievable that this is only my first week in Washington DC, and it’s almost coming to an end. It seems like I have been in the AIP office for a much longer time. My First week here has been great; I have my own cubicle which I have decorated with xkcd.com comic strips.

My stay at DC was supposed to begin on Sunday at 4 pm, but instead it began at 8 pm. The delay was due to thunderstorms and hail in Chicago. It seems like every time I travel something goes wrong with the plans. The last time I traveled, I was going to India to visit my family, and it was in December 2010. My flight route was Springfield-Chicago-London-Mumbai, but when I was in Chicago, I heard about a snow storm in London and soon after, about 3 hours before my flight was going to depart, London Airport was closed. What was thought to be a minor couple-of-hours delay turned out to be HUGE delay and I was stuck in the Chicago Airport for four days before I could finally get into a direct flight to India, and on top of that my Luggage was delayed too. But thankfully this time, I was re-routed through Dallas and got into DC the same day.

Sunday night turned out to be a lot of fun. Although I was exhausted from the travel, all of us decided to go to a pub and have a beer and some food. It was a nice dinner, and I got to know everyone. After the dinner we went to the Lincoln Memorial which was AWESOME, and the night lighting made the beautiful monument even more gorgeous. After visiting the Lincoln Monument we went to the Korean War monument, which I think is one of my favorites. The life like statues and the sweet smell of the flower wreaths are still very vivid in my memory. We then went to another memorial and this was the Vietnam War memorial. This was also a tastefully made memorial, the Vietnam wall and the lighting all around really depicted the how much the people all over the world were affected by this war.

On Monday, we were supposed to wake up at 1 pm to go to Target and buy things we would need for our dorms. Although I am really confident about my sleeping skills, and sleeping till 1pm is not a big deal for college students, all of us were wide awake by 10 am (I personally blame the new beds to this shameful act of waking up early). After getting our things at Target, we went to dinner at a Thai Place; the food there was awesome:)
After having an epic dinner, Binayak( my roomie) and I were awake by 6:30 am (I had set 4 alarms, each 2 mins after the other. But I needed only one... I am proud of that :) ). We boarded the metro from Foggy Bottom at about 7:30 am, and after about an hour later, we were welcomed to the AIP building with many smiling faces and donuts. No one can go wrong with donuts in the morning! Everyone at the building was super nice and introduced them to us, and it was so cool to finally be here and start the internship. Tracy took pictures of all us, and Gary showed us the marvel of spandex. But just as things were going great, the bar was raised by the introduction of Dr. John Mather. It was super-duper exciting to have a Nobel Prize winner among us. Definitely an EPIC start to the internship and the summer! After lunch we were given a tour of the building by Kendra. Finally we were shown to our desks and work started.
Wednesday was my first actual day at work, and the atmosphere in this building is super amiable. Doug keeps a very close eye on me so that I am not off to any mischief, although he has not been able to catch me yet as I have been working FURIOUSLY :D

I have also started working on my current summer project, which is learning how to organize a successful science café. This is a fairly new one, and I have not heard much about it before I came here, but the general idea of it is to reach out to members of the community and make them interested in the Science which goes on around them. In my science café the theme is going to be “Fabric of the Cosmos”. We are going to invite a physicist to come and talk about Brian Greene’s book and Nova’s documentary series too. I think the model we are planning to use will also have a small video show too. Oh and I almost forgot about the cool doorway prizes we are selecting! I found a “Universe Plushy” which is super cute and cool! Hence I think people who come to my café deserve a Universe Plushy. Here it is!


On Wednesday evening, I had a minor adventure. I was going to work out after returning from work, but the training room was filled with a ton of people, hence I decided to take a walk instead. I walked and walked till I actually became pretty lost. During this walk, I experience a lot of the DC culture. It was really cool to see people enjoying beers and glasses of wine with their burgers and pastas. The cool thing was the roadside bistros which had umbrellas, chairs and tables out on the side walk, and I thought that was awesome. Another aspect of this city that I absolutely love is the amount of greenery, it has to be about the greenest city I have seen.

Thursday evening we introduced Amanda to the joy of some of the Lonely Island and Bo Burnham songs, and in the spirit of true Physics interns, we paid tribute to the Physics gods by watching an episode of “the Big Bang theory”. I do however wish we had a Giant TV or a projector for movie nights, those are always fun.

This weekend we are going to see the Smithsonian Galleries and that should be a ton of fun. I guess the real question is “Do the animals come alive at night?”….I guess I will find out :)

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Name Anish Chakrabarti
Drury University
Internship: NOVA: Fabric of the Cosmos
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Final Presentation

SPS Fabric of the Cosmos Café

Abstract
Hosted by Brian Greene and based on his best-selling book of the same title, The Fabric of the Cosmos is a new four- part NOVA series that explores the deepest mysteries of space and time. Theprogram will be kicked-off by Fabric of the Cosmos science café grants for chapters hosting a café inthe fall of 2011, concurrent with the release of the Fabric of the Cosmos series. A science café is an informal discussion with an expert in a very casual location, usually a restaurant, coffee shop, or a bar. A science café is mostly discussion based, but has a lot of freedom for the format.

During the summer I assisted inplanning this kick-off, reviewing and suggesting revisions of resources related to the NOVA series tomake them relevant to an SPS audience. I also got to organize and moderate the first ‘Cosmic Café’. The science café that I organized was discussion based, with our speaker Dr. James Gates starting with a short talk and then opening the floor up for questions. By organizing a science café I got real hand experience about the challenges an SPS chapter would face while organizing a café themselves.

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