Week 3: One more week! And crazy stuff!

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Sunday, June 15, 2014


Mark Sellers

This week has focused on testing out new demonstrations for the SOCK, planning for our classroom visit, and lots of networking! Monday was mainly taken up with writing up some new explanations for our demos, as well as figuring out what to take to the 3rd grade outreach event. We want to give the students a taste for the 2014 SOCK, so we're focusing on light, how we measure the speed of light, and diffraction/spectroscopy. After assembling most of the parts into a box, I refocused on the issue of new SOCK demonstrations. A big part of this week was spent working with Lego sets to try and accurately replicate crystal structures. After I finished the first models, I did some estimations on how many Lego bricks I would need for each SOCK.

It's an understatement to say I need a lot of Legos. So, we may try working out a deal with Lego to get the parts for a reduced price, if we decide to pursue that avenue.

Tuesday was very interesting, as we went to the Rayburn House Office Building to help out with the NUFO (National User Facility Organization) exposition. There were about 10 different groups from national labs at this exposition, ranging from Argonne to Oak Ridge to Los Alamos. All of the AIP interns and the Mather interns helped move in the A/V equipment for the exposition and set it up. We only had about 10 minutes to spare when we finished! I got to meet with lots of people from these labs and talk with them about their stories as scientists and students. Afterwards, the interns helped take down the set and the very generous people of NUFO took us out to dinner at Cava Mezze for a marathon of small plates, drinks, and socializing. I earned several business cards from NUFO officers and associates, which I quickly followed up on the next day. My evening was probably not as crazy as Stephen's though, so you may want to check out his journal entry for this week. Just a small protip.

The rest of this week has been spent prototyping new demonstrations as they come in--fluorescence under UV light, macroscopic structures that mimic atomic-scale crystal patterns, and printing our own diffraction gratings. It's been more of a whirlwind week, what with the NUFO event on Tuesday breaking up the normal flow of the work-week. It's really hard to believe that we are getting close to the halfway point for this summer experience. This internship is definitely picking up! Next week is definitely going to be key for finishing up the remaining demonstrations, ordering the last prototype parts, and assembling the first SOCK.

Mark Sellers