Week 3: A Lot of Physics

Share This:

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Ashley Finger

Last weekend really set the pace for this week. As I wrote about in my last journal entry, we had a dinner with AIP staff, stargazing, and a community outreach event. In continuation of the overarching theme (physics), I spent Monday reading the P5 (Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel) report and witness testimony in order to prepare questions for congressional representatives to ask in a hearing titled "A Review of the P5: The U.S. Vision for Particle Physics After Discovery of the Higgs Boson," for which I was the lead intern. In addition to preparing questions I also prepared binders for the staff, set up the dais, and took pictures during the hearing. It was extremely refreshing and exciting to see all of the congressmen fascinated and enthused by the discoveries and advances in the field of particle physics. That afternoon, I shifted gears to a small project for the Subcommittee on the Environment—a chart involving monetary costs and benefits that could potentially be published.

The copper nanowires I made at NUFO.Once I finished my work for the day, I headed over to the National User Facility Organization Exposition, held in the Rayburn building on Capitol Hill. Here, scientists from NIST, BNL, CERN, Los Alamos, and many more presented their research to congressional representatives and staff members—including me! Not only did I learn a lot, and meet incredible scientists, but I also became the 433rd person to make nanowires utilizing a new technique and received an invitation to tour CERN. I stayed until the end of the event, at which point the other interns and I helped disassemble the displays after which we were treated to an incredible dinner (food came out from the kitchen constantly for over an hour) with some of the scientists who presented at the NUFO Exposition.

The next morning didn't wind down as the committee prepared for a "contentious" subcommittee markup at noon on the Department of Energy Research and Development Act of 2014. While our legislative branch is often mocked for manipulating the subtleties of the law, I found it fascinating how congressional representatives utilized legal nuances in order to demonstrate a strong position.

The end of my week slowed down a bit, but I learned how to record and edit videos of hearings for our YouTube channel and learned the ins and outs of sitting at the front desk. I'm looking forward to this weekend as we meet new people, discover new places, and learn about ourselves and each other. Three weeks have gone by far too quickly.

Ashley Finger