Week 3: Reading, Celebrating, and Relaxing

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Friday, July 5, 2013


Fiona Muir

Despite only spending three days of it at work, this week has been more hectic than the last two put together. Last weekend I headed up to New York to see a friend I hadn’t seen in over a year and tried to fit as many tourist attractions as possible in to the twelve hours I was there. We managed Madame Tussaud’s, the Empire State Building, Times Square, window shopping on Fifth Avenue, Central Park, Soho and still left some time for shopping and Serendipity’s famous frozen hot chocolate.

This week’s work went by very quickly – mainly because it was only three days long. We’re working our way through a mixture of books and online resources about women in physics and moving on to minorities next week. On Wednesday morning we heard that the other books we had ordered had arrived at the University of Maryland libraries so we took another trip out there to have a look at some of the reference books, as well as pick up the ones we’d requested. Our list of books we’ve read is getting longer and longer it’s really interesting to find the female scientists that don’t often get mentioned.

Thursday meant 4th of July which meant a day off and a holiday that I’m definitely not used to celebrating! A bunch of the interns headed out to Virginia for a barbeque and had an (apparently) traditional day of relaxing in the sun, eating huge amounts of food and not doing much at all. That evening, we headed back in to DC to watch the fireworks on the mall. We’d been hearing from everyone about how crowded and hot it could be and we set off pretty cautiously. There turned out to be plenty of room right under the Washington Monument and we had a perfect view of the fireworks. We also made it easy for everyone to spot the physics students in the crowd as Jamie provided us with diffraction grating glasses and made the fireworks look even better.

The rest of the four day weekend was just spent relaxing and taking a break from the early mornings and daily commutes that we’ve all gotten (almost) used to. On Friday, I headed off the Newseum and managed to find a couple of people I knew who I didn’t even know were in the DC area. It becomes an even smaller world when everyone’s looking for somewhere air conditioned in this heat! On Sunday, a few of us visited the Folklife festival on the mall and the huge selection of Indian, Hungarian and lots of other kinds of food was definitely the highlight. While looking round the various stalls and attractions, we thought we were just listening to a tattoo artist talk about his work until we saw the stack of waivers on his table and had the slightly strange experience of watching a girl get a tattoo in a tent in the middle of the mall. Sunday also brought the news that Andy Murray had won Wimbledon as the first British champion in 77 years and, from what I could tell, the surprised celebrations in Britain were only one step down from 4th of July in DC!

Fiona Muir