Friday, May 29, 2015By:
The first few days in DC included some friendship-building and touristy fun in the city before work began. Having not been to DC in many years, it was a great experience to explore the city and see many of the historic sites. Our first full day lead us to the National Mall where the Rolling Thunder was hosting their Ride to the Wall event, an annual motorcycle rally to bring attention to individuals in the American military that are missing in action or prisoners of war. We explored many monuments around the mall – including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial – with more than 300,000 individuals in the city for the event.
The next day, Memorial Day, a group of the AIP interns all woke up early to go to the zoo at 8am, in an effort to beat Memorial Day crowds. I was very impressed with all that the National Zoo had to offer, and is hard to beat with free admission. The elephants were the best part, by far. After lunch, we headed down to see the Memorial Day parade travel along Constitution Avenue. This was a cool experience because each part of the parade, which was sectioned into eras of American wars, featured functioning cars from that time period.
The week started on Tuesday, with all of the AIP interns meeting in the morning at the American Center for Physics. Along with learning useful orientation information, I got to meet and talk to Dr. John Mather, Nobel-winning physicist currently working on the James Webb Space Telescope. He is extremely fascinating and is passionate about solving problems in our world. Dr. Mather explained that he would like to find a way to encourage the scientific community to become more involved in politics, as it strongly affects scientific work, whether we would like it to be that way or not.
I spent the last half of Tuesday and the rest of the week getting to work at the House Science committee, working for the minority staff. After a hectic time last week, the committee had a slow week that served as a sort of break for the staff. This meant an easy transition into work. I spent the week learning the geography of the Capitol, transcribing videos of scientific panels, and researching potential witnesses for a hearing, among a myriad of other jobs. It will be interesting to see the committee in action with hearings next week!