Week 2: Shutdown

Share This:

Sunday, June 14, 2020


Anna Murphree

[All views are my own.]

Hello again! It’s wild to think we’re already two weeks into our internship; these months of social distancing have definitely made time feel relative. (For a great philosophical and physics-y read about time, I highly recommend The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli!)

This week, I kept working on my code to analyze extreme precipitation events (EPEs). I figured out how to make a lot of nice maps of wind speed, humidity, and more. My current task is figuring out how to write this data into a .nc file, a data format I had not worked with before 2 weeks ago. I will figure it out and then start running some statistics to correlate EPE characteristics with meteorological variables!

I also started a Python class that NASA is offering to their interns, which is quite strange for me. Don’t tell the grad schools I’m applying to in the fall, but I haven’t taken any formal coding classes yet! I have taught myself Python through various research projects, which inevitably leads to some gaps in my knowledge. Hopefully this class will help fill those in and give me more context for the coding I use all the time.

I got to know some of my fellow interns better this week, both at NASA and SPS. We had a Code 600 (NASA-speak for their science division) meet ‘n’ greet, where they gave us a brief introduction to all the cool science done at Goddard. They have hundreds of scientists studying everything from our climate to the cosmic microwave background! I joined a group chat with many of the Goddard interns, and I am excited to be part of such a diverse group of researchers. I also got to chat with some of the other SPS interns on Friday and I am happy to report that they are just as nerdy and charming as you’d expect!

Outside of this internship, protests against police brutality have continued around the globe. I appreciate AIP and SPS for taking part in the #ShutDownSTEM strike on Wednesday and encouraging us to examine the history of racism in STEM and beyond. Here’s a great article by one of the strike’s organizers: https://chanda.substack.com/p/what-i-wanted-when-i-called-for-a (I also highly recommend following Dr. Prescod-Weinstein on Twitter). I made sure to make time for reading and watching works by Black creators; I am currently working on In the Wake: On Blackness and Being by Christina Sharpe. As it is also Pride month, I want to acknowledge how important it is that this BLM movement is intersectional. Black trans women, famously Marsha P. Johnson, have always been at the front of queer rights movements and still face increased rates of violence. We have so much work to do, but the recent outpouring of support for the trans community is promising.

Anna Murphree