Week 2: BBQ's, receptions, and more!

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Sunday, June 1, 2014


Simon Patane

There is no end to the exploration in D.C.! This past weekend we spent time walking through both the Freer Gallery of Art and Arlington National Cemetery. I was amazed by how many floors fit beneath the Freer Gallery! From the outside it appears to be relatively modest in size, but there are four floors of gallery space extending down below the National Mall. Arlington was expansive and humbling. We visited President Kennedy's grave site, Robert E. Lee's old home (Arlington House), as well as saw the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. On Sunday morning a friend from Vassar moved onto the George Washington campus so I helped him move in and get oriented with the nearby attractions. It was very odd seeing someone from Vassar because I feel like I've been in D.C. for weeks, but it was great seeing a familiar face! That evening, Toni hosted an amazing barbecue at her home. The food was delicious and we all enjoyed the great company. Kearns even made a new friend!

Kearns makes a friend

My research work into African-Americans in physics, astronomy, and related fields has been off to a strong start as well. The second graduate research assistant arrived on Monday. Our full team is now here in the Center for History of Physics and we met as a group with Dr. Good on Monday afternoon. Each day we have "tea time" as a group to discuss what we've been doing. It's very similar to a seminar style class at Vassar so it hasn't been too difficult getting the hang of our meetings. Jake and I are busy sifting through and analyzing different resources. For each one we fill out an evaluation sheet in which we are framing the beginnings of an annotated bibliography detailing the usefulness of each source. It's a good exercise in understanding the direction that the project is heading. My perspective is honed by my work in political science and each day I realize how much this coursework informs my own reading of the materials we find. It's an amazing intersection of physics and the social sciences and there is never a lack of work to do! On Tuesday, the four of us made our way over to the University of Maryland - College Park campus to try and get student ID's and library cards. Although we were unsuccessful due to some confusion with the process involved, we were able to stop by the library itself. One of the graduate research assistants recently finished a master's degree there and was able to check out some material for our work. It was quite an adventure trying to get back to the car though - the skies opened up and didn't seem to want to stop for anything! We eventually made it back to the American Institute of Physics, but not after getting thoroughly soaked. On Wednesday the interns working here at AIP attended the tail end of a Development Board meeting. This volunteer group focuses on the long-term goals of AIP and they are a really diverse group - much like the interns!

Panoramic view of the Mall in Washington, DC


Simon Patane