Week 3: Reading, Reading, Reading

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Sunday, June 15, 2014


Jacob Zalkind

Reading, Reading, Reading

This week has been extremely busy here at both the ACP and in Washington itself. After spending a great weekend at home celebrating my sister's graduation from high school, it was back to work bright and early Monday morning. Together, my colleagues and I have been working to get through our reading list in a timely manner so that we can gather all of the information that we need and move into the next part of the project this summer. We have made excellent progress the past three weeks and have gathered tons and tons of information in our area of research. Specifically we have found lots of biographical information about our list of African-American physicists, what they have accomplished, the colleges and universities that they attended for both undergraduate and graduate studies as well as lots of interesting bits of information that would, in turn, make for really interesting lesson plans. As this week comes to a close, we hope to have the bulk of our research finished, allowing us to start brainstorming more ideas for lesson plans and how they can be seriously implemented in either a history class or a physics or science class. The possibilities are endless of what we could do!

Other than the mounds and mounds of reading material to keep sorting through, the other interns and I were presented with a unique opportunity this week: helping out with the National User Facility Organization (NUFO) expo held at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. The event was held on Tuesday of this week and not only were we allowed to sleep in a little more than we usually do (BONUS!), we also got a chance to see Rayburn, where part of the government is at work, as well as see some really cool science things that people are doing today while practicing our networking skills. It was really cool to get a taste for what the private and academic sectors are working on these days-- we saw everything from the use of nanotechnology and its applications, to the advances in nuclear physics, to even genetic engineering advancements. What really struck me, however, was how much of an emphasis some of the demonstrations had on education. There was one demonstration, a man who was working on constructing nano-wires, who was trying to make his work accessible to high school or college classrooms so that students would be able to see a new side of physics and chemistry and how it is used today. It was a tremendous opportunity to see many people much smarter than I am at work in the private sector trying to advance science and make it available to everyone. So cool!

Jacob Zalkind