Week 2- From an Idea to a Reality

Share This:

Sunday, June 9, 2019


Nour Ibrahim

I feel like this week flew by so fast and at the same time, I feel like I got so much accomplished. The idea for the SOCK is pretty much finalized now, and the theme is...space and breakthroughs! The SOCK is going to explore impact craters and LIGO through very approachable demos using everyday items.

On Monday and Tuesday, I explored almost all of the internet to find the best deals on supplies that fit the budget. I think I am a total expert in online shopping now. Like you think that finding beads on Amazon would be a simple feat, but my browsing history will tell you another story. After two days of browsing, discussions, and lots of compromises, I finally had a semi-final list of all the materials needed to make the SOCK happen.

Wednesday is when the real fun started. I spent most of my day in the SOCK room, with thousands of colorful beads and the sole purpose was to figure out how many beads were needed to demonstrate impact craters. So, like a good scientist, I started dropping balls with varying weights in different amounts of beads and I recorded my findings in my lab notebook. The most important thing that I looked for was the splash pattern that the beads formed when impacted. At the end of the day, I figured out that we don’t need as many beads as I had initially hypothesized.  

On Thursday and Friday, I started working with the LIGO demonstration. The demo will use clear gelatin to simulate space-time, so my goal was to find the perfect proportions of gelatin to water that will allow it to be clear enough for a laser to pass through, but still rigid enough to support its own weight out of the mold. I made around 5 batches of clear jello over the two days. My first attempt was not that great because I was not patient and I put the jello in the freezer instead of the fridge, which now I realize is very bad for the consistency of the gelatin because of…chemistry. Luckily, my second try was very successful. It was actually the perfect clarity and consistency that I needed for the demo!! I ended up trying a very basic version of the demo using that batch and it worked out better than I could have imagined.

The goal for next week is to add more complexity to both demos and test out how they perform. It might sound weird, but since I left work on Friday, I’ve been waiting anxiously for Monday to come around again so I can get back to working on the SOCK!

Nour Ibrahim