Week 2: Tachyon Snafu

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Monday, June 20, 2016


Isabel Binamira

My goal coming into this internship was to encourage people who had even the smallest interest in physics to pursue some study in science. I thought that students who were deciding on what to focus on in university would be the appropriate demographic to reach out to. One of the ways I wanted to extend APS’ outreach was via Snapchat. I got in touch with Snapchat on Monday, with the intent of learning more about partnership opportunities. I heard back a couple of days later, and I’m optimistic about finding ways to reach out to students using the app! This has helped me steer my project toward an attainable finished product at the end of the next eight weeks. I'm currently doing research into interesting ways to preview various topics in physics using Snapchat's formatting and visual focus.

On Tuesday we moved from one end of the floor to the other, as people are being rearranged to give departments more cohesive office spaces. During the move, little plush particle toys from the Particle Zoo came out of the woodwork. The photons, doodled below, have been hung around the new workspace. Stephen, an ex-SPS intern and current coworker placed a photon stuck through with thumbtacks on the divider between our desks. When I asked him why he had stuck tacks through it, he responded by asking me what the plush represented. The blank look on my face seemed to warrant being (lightly) bopped on the head with a rolled up poster.

“It’s a tachyon!”

I guess it’s back to particle theory for me… *

Wednesday was AIP Chatters, where the entire staff of the AIP gets together to talk about office updates, birthdays, celebrations, and concerns. The interns who work at ACP were introduced, and we were able to meet some of the non-SPS interns who work in other departments. Concerns about the new coffee machines were brought up, solidifying my theory that you’d be hard-pressed to find people more concerned about the strength of their coffee than a room full of physicists.

Everyone in the SPS Interns program was invited to dinner with the SPS Executive Committee on Friday night at Lucky Strike, a bowling alley in China Town. Bowling was so fun! I haven’t properly bowled in a few years (and it shows), but being out with everyone after a week of work was worth the gutterballs.

On Saturday I stopped by the zoo for an hour, right before it closed for the night. I wasn’t able to see many animals, but made it to the panda enclosure just as they were calling the last group of visitors in. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian were munching away on some bamboo, and Bei Bei made an appearance climbing around the enclosure! His mom really wanted to walk along the basin he was playing on, and pushed him out of the way, giving all of the visitors quite the shock.

It was Victoria’s birthday on Tuesday, and we had a mini celebration in our apartment for her on Sunday night. Tabitha baked a cake and bought candles for Victoria to blow out, however, we neglected to buy matches or a lighter, so we had to make do with pretending the candles were lit.

After the weekend, I’m feeling refreshed and ready for another week at work.

Until next time!

*Note: as tachyons are theoretical, and are not included in the Standard Model, I don’t think I actually learned about them in Modern Physics, so in some ways, I truly couldn’t have understood the significance of an acupunctured photon. (If we did learn about tachyons, I’m sorry for forgetting about them, Prof. Johnson.)

Isabel Binamira