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Jacob ZalkindJacob Zalkind
Shippensburg University
Internship: AIP History of African-Americans in Physics and Astronomy

Hello! I am a Physics Major a Shippensburg University with a concentration in Secondary Education and I am seeking a minor in math. Shippensburg–located in none other than Shippensburg, PA–is a small university about an hour south of Harrisburg, PA. I am very interested in teaching at a high school level after I graduate and am seeking to teach in a variety of subjects. I have just joined SPS this year and seek to continue to be involved with the society.

My hometown is in Downingtown, PA, about an hour outside of Philadelphia. Other than physics, I have a variety of hobbies and interests. I am a member of the Shippensburg University varsity men’s swim team and have been involved with the sport since I was 6 years old. I also like to read, hang out, play and watch sports, watch movies, and am always up for trying something new!

View Jacob's Final Presentation
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  • Week 1
  • Week 2
  • Week 3
  • Week 4
  • Week 5
  • Week 6
  • Week 7
  • Week 8
  • Week 9
  • Final Reflections
Week 1, May 26-June 1, 2014

The Beginning

New jobs are always an indicator of a new beginning. It is an opportunity to meet new colleagues, supervisors, bosses and networking opportunities as well as become a part of something much greater than ourselves. In some cases we are able to learn something new so that this new knowledge may be passed on to others so that they may use it as well. It is for that reason why I am excited to be here.

As stated in my bio, my name is Jacob Zalkind (you can call me Jake). I will be going into my senior year at Shippensbug University with a major in Physics and a concentration in secondary education. I am working in the Center for History of Physics to research the subject of African-Americans in Physics and Astronomy as well as make a guide for teachers to use to teach the subject in a high school or college level setting.

Here's our office/the storage closet -- so much productivity.I am originally from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, a town outside of Philadelphia. I arrived in Washington on Monday after spending the weekend at my aunt's house, outside of DC, with my family and her's. After finally getting unpacked and settled in I met my fellow interns as well as our supervisor Kendra, and we enjoyed a nice lunch in the city. We then walked over to Constitution Avenue to watch the Memorial Day Parade, which was really cool and interesting to watch. Over the next few days more of the interns began arriving and we were able to do more activities as a group, including walking around the National Mall, seeing a few of the Smithsonian Museums, going to the top of the Washington Monument, eating a bunch of delicious food, and of course, attempting (and sometimes failing) to take pictures of ourselves at the various places we visited.

Work started on Wednesday of this week with orientation, where we took the metro from Foggy Bottom to the American Center of Physics. Here, we met several of the other employees in the building, including our research adviser, Dr. Greg Good, as well as a special guest who had been invited to orientation for the day, Nobel Laureate Dr. John Mather. It was really cool to see that someone as important as Dr. Mather is really just a regular person like you or me! The next day we began our actual work, where Dr. Good, with the help of the library staff, found and assigned us a few books to read to begin our research. He then showed us to our office (which also doubles as a storage room!), and from that point, our project, our work, and this summer had truly begun.......with lots and lots of reading!

Photo: Here's our office/ the storage closet -- so much productivity

~Jacob

Week 2, June 2-8, 2014

Right into the Thick of It

During this first full week of work, we in the history department wasted no time in getting right into the thick of our work. So far this week, Simon and I have visited the library at least 3 or 4 times and have checked out and checked back in at least a dozen or so books between the two of us. While this seems like a daunting task to read all of these books over the course of a week, it is not as hard as one might think it to be. Once you start reading through a book looking for any information that might be useful, you can soon tell whether the book you have chosen is either an asset or one is not really useful for your purposes. Regardless of whether I can use a book or not for this particular project, the material in all of the books I have encountered so far is really interesting and provides new learning opportunities with every turn of the page. This project is also providing a great experience for me as an individual because I am given an opportunity to learn about a subject I otherwise would not have learned about. There's so much about this subject that I never thought to even think about before or consider. Though this week really consisted of making heads or tails of the chaos of all of the books and readings that have been given to us, I feel like we are making good progress for only the second week. We still have a lot of work to do and a lot more books to read and check out.....Challenge Accepted!

Photo: My Current Reading List

My current reading listAlthough working at AIP is very important to me this summer, all work and no play would be incredibly boring, especially in a new place to explore like DC. Last weekend we explored more of the National Mall visiting the Freer Art Gallery first in the day. There was a lot to see in that place, especially once you started going into the lower levels. At one point, I thought I found myself in another museum entirely because I had walked so far into it. Later in the day we went and explored Arlington Cemetery. It was a really humbling experience seeing how many people died protecting our country. In the cemetery we also found Kennedy's Tomb and the eternal flame there, we walked through the Arlington House and watched the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Then on Sunday in the morning we participated in the Washington Post Hunt- a scavenger hunt consisting of a series of riddles and puzzles that required groups to think outside of the box in order to finish the hunt towards a cash prize of $2000. The interns split into two teams for the first part of the hunt and then for the last part we combined our wits to try to solve the final puzzle, but unfortunately we didn't win the $2000. Later we were invited to Toni's house for a barbecue and had a great evening there with some great food and people. Overall it was a great second week!

~Jacob

Week 3, June 9-15, 2014

Reading, Reading, Reading

This week has been extremely busy here at both the ACP and in Washington itself. After spending a great weekend at home celebrating my sister's graduation from high school, it was back to work bright and early Monday morning. Together, my colleagues and I have been working to get through our reading list in a timely manner so that we can gather all of the information that we need and move into the next part of the project this summer. We have made excellent progress the past three weeks and have gathered tons and tons of information in our area of research. Specifically we have found lots of biographical information about our list of African-American physicists, what they have accomplished, the colleges and universities that they attended for both undergraduate and graduate studies as well as lots of interesting bits of information that would, in turn, make for really interesting lesson plans. As this week comes to a close, we hope to have the bulk of our research finished, allowing us to start brainstorming more ideas for lesson plans and how they can be seriously implemented in either a history class or a physics or science class. The possibilities are endless of what we could do!

Other than the mounds and mounds of reading material to keep sorting through, the other interns and I were presented with a unique opportunity this week: helping out with the National User Facility Organization (NUFO) expo held at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. The event was held on Tuesday of this week and not only were we allowed to sleep in a little more than we usually do (BONUS!), we also got a chance to see Rayburn, where part of the government is at work, as well as see some really cool science things that people are doing today while practicing our networking skills. It was really cool to get a taste for what the private and academic sectors are working on these days-- we saw everything from the use of nanotechnology and its applications, to the advances in nuclear physics, to even genetic engineering advancements. What really struck me, however, was how much of an emphasis some of the demonstrations had on education. There was one demonstration, a man who was working on constructing nano-wires, who was trying to make his work accessible to high school or college classrooms so that students would be able to see a new side of physics and chemistry and how it is used today. It was a tremendous opportunity to see many people much smarter than I am at work in the private sector trying to advance science and make it available to everyone. So cool!

~Jacob

Week 4, June 16-22, 2014

Lesson Planning

As the summer keeps moving forward, so too does the work being done at the ACP. The work week began, much as it did last week, with returning to DC after a brief weekend reunion with my brother and the rest of our family, celebrating him being awarded both his Master's and Bachelor's degree. The group of us working on this project, including Simon, the two graduate researchers Sine and Sharina, as well as Dr. Good, had resolved at the end of last week to finish the bulk of the reading that was required for this project at least by Monday of this week. With much of the reading behind us, work could now commence on the next stage of our project: creating the lesson plans and related resource documents. This stage of the project had been in the back of our minds since the beginning of the summer, because we wanted to make sure to take note of anything important, or at least interesting, that we came across in our research that could potentially make for a lesson plan that, number one, drove home an important lesson in a classroom, and two, would keep students engaged and hopefully spark an interest in the subject matter; this is where the creative juices started to flow in this project. So as we were doing our research for the past three weeks we recorded our ideas in a document to be reviewed at a later period....this week is now that later period. When we all finally got together and sat down to discuss our ideas for potential lesson plans, the "final" list that we came up with was actually pretty impressive. In total we came up with just short of thirty different lesson plans, each one relating in some way to the study of African-Americans in physics and astronomy. In order for teachers to get the most out of these lesson plans, we also need to put together various resources that teachers can use to effectively teach the lesson plans. These include compiling handouts as well as biographies for some of the scientists that we plan on doing case studies of. All in all, it looks like we have the next few weeks of work cut out for us with putting together these resources and designing these lesson plans.

Something else that I did this week was get involved with outreach activities with my fellow interns Kearns and Mark of the Science Outreach Catalyst Kit (SOCK) project here at the ACP. This week, they were charged by the SPS director Toni, to journey out to Falls Church, Virginia to Tuckahoe Elementary School to do a few science activities with one of the SOCK themes for the year, light. Kearns and Mark went around the building asking the SPS interns if they were free to help out at the school and when they came to our office I gladly agreed to go along. So we took the metro Thursday morning out to Falls Church and met up with another AIP employee, Joe York, and made our way to the elementary school. Working with young kids in past jobs, I knew that they had the potential to get a bit rowdy, if not completely bouncing off the walls, but this class was surprisingly well behaved.....and sharp too!. So we led the class through a few activities involving measurement and finding a standard of measurement (conducted by Mark), a demonstration on how polarization works and some cool effects that are the result of it (conducted by Kearns) and a final demonstration on spectra and diffraction patterns (which I conducted). Overall it was a really great experience going to the school to show kids how cool science really is. I do have to say however, Kearns got the biggest "WOW" out of the kids that I've ever heard, and Mark should pursue a career in teaching because he did so well with it. Ha Ha Ha!

~Jacob

Week 5, June 23-29, 2014

Meetings, Model Airplane and More Lesson Plans, Oh My!

This week has by far been the busiest week that at College Park since my arrival here 4 weeks ago now! After a nice relaxing weekend in DC (the first weekend I've actually been here since week 1) with the other interns, I began the busy week by jumping right on into it! Last week, our team, consisting of Simon and I, as well as Graduate Research Assistants Sine and Sharina, was charged with creating two lesson plans apiece ready to show to Dr. Good on Monday by 3:00 to demonstrate the fruits our research has yielded. By the time that we were to have "tea with the professor", we all had our lesson plans in hand ready to be shared with our group. The two lessons that I came up with were ones that I was quite proud of by the time they were ready to be shown to the others. The first one was a lesson about African-American Physicists and Astronomers who were involved with the military in one form or another. During my research I identified several scientists who were involved in the military at some point in their lives, so I made a lesson centered around student-based research of these individuals studying aspects of their involvement in the military, as well as their accomplishments in both the military and in their respective fields as scientists. There is really a rich history behind these people and there can be a lot more information derived from learning about them regarding things like drafting to the military and segregation in the military. There's a lot to see and study in a lesson like this. The other lesson I created was more physics oriented and involved the study of African-American physicists with interests in arts and athletics. This lesson involves taking a look at the science of a lot of these arts and sports and the people involved with them. After a brief discussion of these aspects of the lesson, the class would move forward to do a case study of a particular physicist-athlete who competed in a past Summer Olympics and do various calculations regarding his story. So as you can see, that was already a lot to put together and that was only Monday!

Some of the weirder planes that I made and tested out as well as some research material for the weekOn Tuesday we, as a team, had a phone interview with a member of another oral history preservation organization as well as a meeting with a person who works with the Statistical Research Center here at the ACP to see what more light we can shed on the subject of African-Americans in physics and astronomy. We also met with our buddy down in the SOCK, Kearns (Mark was busy on a 2 hour business call) to discuss integrating some of the SOCK experiments into some of our lesson plans that we are developing. Between everything else, we also have to keep chugging away at completing our list of lesson plans, but admittedly, towards the middle of this week I was struggling to think of some ideas that I felt would work well in a classroom teaching this particular subject. So I devolved to doing more research and reading on the subject so that I could better brainstorm more ideas for good lessons. By the end of the day on Wednesday, I didn't just have a brainstorm......it was more like a brain-hurricane! The lesson I came up with was centered around the evolution of Astronomy and the African-Americans associated with the science. This is a big lesson with multiple components that could be applied in either a history or a science classroom. Two of the parts revolve around reading excerpts, one from a source about Benjamin Banneker, an astronomer of the 1700s, and seeing how astronomy was used back then, and another from an interview with George Carruthers, an astrophysicist and aerospace engineer involved with the Naval Research Lab around the time of the space race. After these two parts, the lesson could diverge into one of two parts; one history focused and another physics focused. The history part would essentially be more follow up research regarding astronomers and astrophysicists from Carruthers' time on to see the further evolution of astronomy and the associated African-American scientists. The physics based part takes the obligatory catapult project from a high school physics class, and changes it into one that's more associated with aerospace engineering and physics, namely making paper airplanes. This part of the lesson would have students create various designs of paper airplanes and fly them against each other to see which ones would be the most stable and which ones would fly the farthest and try to figure out why one would be better than the other. It's just another way of trying to make Physics Phun!

Photo: Some of the weirder planes that I made and tested out as well as some research material for the week

~Jacob

Week 6, June 30-July 6, 2014

The Fourth of July!- Short Week!

Short week this week with the Fourth of July coming up, but before a time of playing and relaxing must come more work.The week began, as it always does, after a great weekend full of excitement. On the menu this weekend was exploring more of Georgetown, seeing the Waterfront, going to the Air and Space Museum and experiencing the Folk Life Festival (as opposed to the Coldplay festival which I misheard it as....sorry Mark, Kirsten and Ashley!). The folk life festival was cool, this year they featured Kenya and China as the countries to explore.......I'm not sure but it sounded like the Kenyans were having a lot more fun on their side of the mall than the Chinese were, but who am I to judge? Regardless of who was having the most fun at this event, it was quite an experience to see another country's culture in the ways in which the representatives there chose to exemplify it, be it in the form of the foods, the arts, the music or whatever, it was a cool and insightful experience! So after a great weekend of all that exploring and carrying on, we began the work week! This week, I was working on three different lesson plans to be finished up before the holiday, one of which I had started two or three weeks ago and others that had not even been started yet, so I guess you could say I had a lot on my plate this week that I wanted to finish. On Monday morning, however, a gift came via Amanda in the Archives Department, in the form of the Ron Mickens Archival Collection. Ron Mickens is one of the African-American Physicists we have been studying who has done a lot of work in obtaining and preserving materials regarding several other African-American scientists we are studying in this project. His collection brought to the table for us more information which we could not find in books or on the web, and which also provided some good primary source material that could be used in many different lesson plans for several different scientists. With the new material in hand, I was able to complete the lesson plan I had started weeks ago with some other material that I found on the Internet, revolving around a debate of the student protests at Fisk University in the late 1960s. So that's one lesson down.

The next lesson I wanted to finish by the time the week ended was a lesson centering on careers students could enter with a degree in physics or the physical sciences. We had, on our list of scientists, several scientists who had degrees in physics but were not traditional physicists in regard to their occupations. Some were geophysicists, some atmospheric physicists, engineers, chemical physicists etc. The only problem was that I had no idea how to make this into a feasible lesson plan until my fellow intern Stephen's ramblings about the projects that he is working on at APS reminded of something my physics teacher in high school used on us: use physics to explain how an MRI machine works. Stephen had been talking to us about incorporating physics in medicine, so I thought to apply the idea of medicine and physics to a variety of machines that employ physics in order for them to function. So right there, with the help of my fellow intern and my own experiences in high school, I was able to make a lesson to convey that there is more to physics than just pure physics.

Other than that, this already short week was made even shorter with a journey out to NIST with the SOCK interns and others to do a science outreach activity with the day camp kids at NIST. It was a good opportunity to see the NIST campus and help my colleagues work on their projects too, as well as a good break from my own work. This marked the end of the work week and the beginning of the holiday weekend! The weekend consisted of meeting up with my old roommate back at Ship for a day of celebration of the country in the Capitol, followed by watching the fireworks at the national mall with my fellow interns. That was quite the spectacle, the likes and size of which I have never seen before! The weekend concluded with a trip to the Air and Space Extension Museum to see all that that place had to hold.....as well as Nick and Kelby being forced to listen to my music on the way out. Good job guys!

~Jacob

Week 7, July 7-13, 2014

Scrambling

This summer sure has flown on by! It seems like we in the history department have only been here for a few weeks but already our end-of-the-summer deadline is approaching like an oncoming freight train. While some of the other interns have a few more weeks to get everything in line, we have to have all of our work pretty much finished by the 18th of July, the date of our Advisory Meeting. At this meeting, a small group of physicists, some of whom we have been studying for the past several weeks, will be in attendance of a presentation of our work so they can see what kind of progress we have made over the summer, and give us feedback. Looking back over the weeks, we have really made a good dent in the work that Dr. Good wanted us to accomplish. Between all of the researching and scouring for information, the writing of the lesson plans and the preparing of several other kinds of resources, its a wonder we got so much work done, especially since Dr. Good doesn't assign homework! While we have gotten a good portion of work finished, we still have a good bit to go.

This week I took on a pretty daunting task for our project: making a spreadsheet. This is no ordinary spreadsheet however, as this spreadsheet includes all of the African-American physicists, past, present and future, who we have been studying. Included in the spreadsheet are birth dates, death dates (if applicable, of course), places of birth, fields of specialization, institutions where they received their Bachelor's, Master's or Ph.D degrees and important and notable achievements and accomplishments made throughout their lives. The list contains a whopping 264 names, of which I found nearly complete information on almost 230 of them, which is way more than I thought would be possible! This was no easy task, especially since at least half of these scientists are just ordinary people who have gone through the rigors of a Ph.D program in physics and are now living their lives working in either the private sector or in academia. Not exactly ordinary people, "very extraordinary ordinary people" I think is what Dr. Good called them. Either way, three full days of sifting through the internet and all of our sources led to a near complete list of what we were looking for, so I'd say it was a real success!

NISTIn addition to all of the excitement at ACP, the interns this week got to experience all the excitement of fellow interns' Kelby and Ben Perez's work site of NIST. I had already been to NIST the previous week, but didn't get to see nearly what I saw this time around! We were given the opportunity to see the Neutron Research Center, complete with its own nuclear reactor and a computer powered by Windows '98. After seeing all the work being done with neutron research, we then saw the different kinds of electron and other high powered microscopes at the disposal of the researchers of NIST, as well as examples of the kinds of work being done with them. We were then directed through the nano-fabrication department and saw the lab that Kelby and Ben are a part of. Seeing all the research done at NIST as well as all of the scientists was pretty intimidating because it just goes to show there are some really smart people out there doing some really crazy things with science. It was a good experience to see where they work, what they are doing, and what kind of results their efforts are yielding.

Photo: One of the Crazy Neutron Research Machines at NIST

This weekend proved relaxing after a busy week. We were able to explore the city of Washington in an entirely new way this week....by water. Ashley, Kelby, Ben Perez, Caleb Stephen, and I rented out kayaks and paddled up and down the Potomac to see all that the river has to offer in terms of kayaking. We paddled all the way up from Georgetown to the Lincoln Memorial, then down the river around Roosevelt Island and down farther away from the city limits to a small outcropping of rocks and explored that island, also going for a swim in the process. That was so much fun, especially since it was the perfect day for it and it was Caleb's first time kayaking, so I'd say it was a successful adventure!

~Jacob

Week 8, July 14-20, 2014

The Meeting (Among Other Things)

All of our work throughout the summer, the hours of reading countless books and sifting through vast amounts of information, all came to a head this week. This week on Friday, we had our Advisory Meeting, consisting of several officials from around the ACP, as well as a few experts in the fields of African Americans in the Physical Sciences. Although the meeting was without a doubt the biggest part of Week 8, it certainly was not the only part of our busy week. This past week at ACP has consisted mostly of trying to finish everything that we wanted to finish before our presentation on Friday and preparing our presentation for the advisers. This included two one-hour sessions to practice our presentation and make sure that we knew exactly how we were going to present our information on Friday. With some minor adjustments to the material being presented we were able to fit perfectly into our allotted hour to present. In addition to practicing the delivery of our work, we also needed to put all the bells and whistles on our work to make sure that it all looked good enough to be presentable. By the time Wednesday afternoon rolled around, we were pretty much ready to go.

On Thursday, Simon and I also lost a day of preparation due to a field trip! This time we explored Nick and Kirsten's workplace of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center! This was an especially interesting visit because our fellow interns coordinated the visit perfectly with an event in which different departments at Goddard hosted tables and presented some of what they were working on. There was everything going on there from chemistry, to earth science to just about anything else you could possibly think of! Very cool! After a lunch with John Mather at NASA, we were then brought to another building to see the kind of work they do on spacecraft, specifically on testing them in various ways before putting them into space. They did just about everything to these spacecraft before putting them up in space - cooled them down, put them in vacuum chambers, you name it! The thing they were currently working on and preparing for this time around was the arrival of the James Webb Space Telescope. Although it wasn't at the facility yet, we were told it was arriving that night....talk about poor timing on our parts!

Then came Friday. After arriving at work at roughly 9:00 to finish a few odds and ends, as well as meeting with Dr. Good on his first day back after a conference on the west coast since July 7, there was not much left to do but to just go for it. We went to one of the conference rooms and saw some familiar faces from around the office and some familiar from our studies, including Paul Gueye, the current president of the National Society of Black Physicists, James Stith, a former Vice-President of the physics resource center at AIP, and Ronald Mickens, a well known physicist and science historian. After introductions, we gave our presentation as we had practiced, but of course not all things go as they are planned. We knew that we were going to be asked questions throughout our presentation, but our original one hour presentation doubled in time between all of the questions and comments. When it was all said and done and the dust had finally settled, the project was a success! Our team received great comments, criticisms and compliments to our project from almost everyone at the meeting. While there is still much to do for this project, it seems we have made several steps in the right direction!

~Jacob

Week 9, July 21-27, 2014

The Final Countdown (na na na na)

What a week of craziness! Between visitors, field trips, farewell shindigs, days of preparation and the everyday grind of life it's a wonder we get anything done at all! But to use the old cliché, where there's a will there's a way. After the success at our Advisory Meeting in week 8, I had a nice and relaxing weekend with my friend from back at Shippensburg as well as with my fellow interns. We also made a Gargantuan brunch complete with french toast and eggs any way we asked for, courtesy of Ashley, Kelby and their kitchen. Monday morning consisted of a change of pace, starting with a visit to the Pentagon in the morning and to the Capitol in the afternoon. The pentagon was a really cool place as it is more than just a building with a funky shape, there's a lot going on there between the swarms of army guys and girls and other staff hard at work in that building. While there we also checked out the 9/11 memorial at the pentagon and paid our respects there, another really humbling experience that really puts into perspective how small we all really are. On a more upbeat note, the Capitol was a really awesome trip, the likes of which I may never experience again! With Ben (Preis) as our tour guide for the first part of the tour, we saw the chambers of the house as well as some other really cool areas, including a really great view from the Balcony above where presidents are sworn into office. After seeing just about all there is to see in the Capitol building, we made our way over to the Rayburn Building to see the offices and committee offices over there, in particular Ashley's place of work in the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. I also meandered on up to my own representative Jim Gerlach's office, but sadly he was back home in Pennsylvania. That didn't stop me from looking in his office and sitting on his couch. After I met back up with the main group Ashley showed us the committee office and all there was to see in there. So cool!

Capitol hallwayThe rest of the work week consisted mainly of boiling down our presentation from the Advisory meeting, a one hour presentation, into a twenty minute presentation for Friday. Easier said than done, because all of the information in the big presentation I felt was really important but at the same time we really needed to discern what we needed and what could be cut from the original. The end result wasn't too shabby, if I do say so myself, although as we found out Thursday, during our practice run-through of the presentation, there was still a few things to fix. By the time Thursday rolled around, I had received another visitor in Washington, this one from closer to home. My brother came to town on Thursday evening to watch my presentation and spend the weekend afterwards celebrating. Good times!

Friday came just as it had went...pretty swiftly. I would say that our presentation went off without a hitch, but that would strictly speaking be not true, as the power to the entire building went out right in the middle of our presentation. That being said, we picked it right back up and after a few words to get us back on track, the rest of the presentation went by just fine! It was also great to see the culmination of my fellow interns' work too! I learned about everything from Eta Carinae (Eta as it is now colloquially referred to) to biophysics at NIST and everything in between. With just one week left at work, I wonder what the last week of the summer has in store for us. How exciting!

Photo: Cool Hallway in the Capitol

~Jacob

Final Reflections, August, 2014

Final Reflections

It has been quite the internship this year. After I had initially been hired I had no clue what to expect out of the summer, or if I was even the right person for the job. Until this summer I had not had a real "big boy" job yet, working various jobs around my hometown as a lifeguard or teaching swim lessons and as Kendra put it, this was my first "Non-water based job". So naturally I was nervous about the job itself, let alone who I was working with, living with, the people around the office, all of the typical new-guy-on-the-job stuff. As soon as work started however, all these nervous thoughts just kind of melted away and as the summer went on, I gained some valuable experience as a member, at least briefly, of the AIP community. I had also been given an opportunity to gain new knowledge on a subject that I would have otherwise not learned about, namely the history of physics, as opposed to the science of physics, which is the only part I had been exposed to until this summer. Our team was also able to break new ground on a project that will continue for a few years after we're gone from AIP. I feel like we made great progress and are at a good place for other future interns to pick up where we left off and continue our work. I'd also like to think that we set the bar at a good level with the materials that we have generated in the past weeks, but hey, nobody likes a guy who toots his own horn :) Overall this has been a great summer in which I have made new friends, made new connections, explored a new city, gained valuable new knowledge and was able to work through it all and be able to call what I did this summer a success. It was all thanks to the wonderful organizations of AIP, SPS and ΣΠΣ for allowing me the opportunity and giving me the chance to work here and prove to myself and to the world (cliché I know) what I can do as a physicist, a researcher and employee in a short time. To that I say thank you. To all.

~Jacob

 

The History of African-Americans in Physics and Astronomy

American Institute of PhysicsThe American Institute of Physics' Center for History of Physics works to preserve and make known the historical record of modern physics and allied sciences. Through documentation, archival collections and educational initiatives, the Center ensures that the heritage of modern physics is safeguarded and its story is accurately told. The resource for 2014 is a "Teachers Guide to the History of African-Americans in Physics and Astronomy."

Jacob and fellow SPS intern Simon are working on a teacher's guide to the history of African-Americans in physics and astronomy. They are working with the director of the Center for History of Physics, graduate research assistants, and library specialists to weave collections of materials in the Niels Bohr Library & Archives at AIP into a historical narrative, design the web resource, and provide outreach to young science students.

 
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