Week 4: Adventures at the Mall

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Monday, June 26, 2023


Janessa Slone

Hi everyone! Thanks for joining another scrapbook blog (I’m improving on my doodles). 

I had various meetings this week starting with a meeting with the MONSTR club to discuss the work that we were currently working on. I spoke about finally finishing the derivations for the Tavis-Cummings Model and how my results were interesting. The Tavis-Cummings Model allows for more than one exciton in the cavity, and the equations that I derived have similar structure and two of them are actually the exact same. Jared is going to look more into this occurrence in order for us to fully understand it. I have yet to get my badge, so I’m still working from home with daily meetings with Jared and Giuseppe. Jared sent me some code to look at and run so I spent a little time installing Julia on my computer and learning how to use it. I started reading some of the code to understand our one quantum simulation.

A few of the interns got together to go listen to some funky jazz at Jazz on the Rocks at Tonic (or Quigleys). Some people got food and I myself got a yummy basket of french fries. After a split brownie sundae with Jenna, we headed back to Amsterdam and watched a show called Heartstopper on Netflix. It was so good and I recommend anyone to watch it! We watched 3 episodes and had some chocolate chip cookies provided by Jenna. 

I started looking closer at the code I was given after I was able to compile and run it. I had a meeting with Dr. John Mather and Dr. Brad Conrad about Starshade. If you have not heard of it yet: The NASA HOEE Starshade Undergraduate Challenge is intended for Physics/Astronomy/Engineering students to showcase their skills by designing and building a Starshade. For more information and to sign up, visithttps://aip.org/starshade or contact Janessa Slone at slonej1 [at] my.erau.edu.

Wednesday night I went bowling with a few people at Bowlero. We played arcade games first, then grabbed a lane to start bowling. I’ve never been great at bowling even though I worked at a Bowling alley. I can never seem to throw it hard enough. BUT—I did get an *accidental* strike so that’s a win. I used all of my arcade tickets toward peanut m&m’s at the end, so, double win. 

The next day I got to see Dr. John Mather once again, but in person! John came to the American Center for Physics to have lunch with all of the interns and give a talk about his current projects. It was great seeing him again since the last time I saw him was Physcon 2022. John has been a great friend this past year and I am incredibly grateful to be working with him on Starshade. I believe we both have a goal of continuously advancing science, but getting the most people interested and involved. He was very interested in learning about the interns and our stories, so it was nice being able to sit and enjoy greek food with him. I later had a meeting with the team and I felt like we all enjoyed that call. It felt very productive at the end where we planned future meetings together and the next steps we wanted to take with the project.

Guiseppe prepared a small lecture for both Jared and I regarding Feynman Diagrams in the Polariton Basis. Learning this can give us another way to approach our goal rather than the ‘brute force’ way. It will take some time to really understand it all, but I have a solid foundation of the math and physics behind it now. We are continuing these small lectures in the next coming week. After our meeting, I started working on diagonalizing the Jaynes-Cummings Hamiltonian. Since the Hamiltonian is an expression, I have to first make it into a matrix, which is what I spent the majority of Friday learning to do. 

Later at night I rallied the interns in going to the Monuments at Night. I am so glad they came with me because it’s an experience people have to do at least once!


We spent Friday in Emily and Melissa’s room learning how to do our assigned demos for Astronomy on the Mall. Astronomy on the Mall was on Saturday and got moved inside since rain was forecasted. I don’t think it rained at all but it’s better to be safe than sorry. The event went so well! I actually enjoyed the fact that it was inside so that the interns could walk around to the various booths. I talked to the employees at the NASA Hubble Space Telescope booth and Ball Aerospace booth. I also met a professor from George Mason University who talked to me about Starshade and his work with John Mather.

Megan, my best friend/roommate from college, came back down to D.C. to help out with Astronomy on the Mall and go with me to the Smithsonians at Night. We first went to the African American Culture & History Museum then met with other interns at the Natural History Museum. Both of the museums were crowded but we were still able to go to some of the exhibits. 


In the morning, Megan and I met Jenna and Devin at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market. I was on the search for apricots since my boyfriend, Randy, and I are challenging each other to incorporate one new ingredient in our meals weekly. This week mine is apricots and Randy’s is zucchini. I had no luck finding my apricots but hopefully another market has them! We also went to the stand ‘Lemonade Love’ which has a variety of lemonade flavors. This is one of my favorite stands! 

Clay, Jenna, and I all went to the Washington Monument to write our blogs and listen to music on Sunday evening. 

See ya next week,

Janessa Slone