Week 4: Night at the Museum

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Mariah Heinzerling

This week has been a flurry of meeting people and making sense of the technical side of the business case I am presenting at the end of the summer. I met a few of the people in charge of developing AIP's business case template. I think they will be wonderful resources as I start delving into the more technical side of this project. I don't have a ton of background in business and marketing, so having some people to reach out to will be very helpful. I've also started to work on my presentation at NIST in the next few weeks. Past years' SOCK interns have mostly discussed the current SOCK and have field tested some of the new demonstrations and activities, but this year I'll be asking them if they would find it helpful to have college students come to the classroom (perhaps after school) and lead activities out of the NGSS Manual. I am also adapting some of the past SOCK activities to be NGSS friendly, corresponding to the middle school standards unlike the project I am working on, which is primarily directed towards middle schools. 

In addition to working on the Manual, I have been putting together a demonstration for the Women in STEM panel coming up on Thursday along with Courtney Lemon. Our goal is to show lawmakers that funding for science is important not only for the sake of research, but also for practicality. We will be showing a light board with lasers, LEDs, incandescent and energy efficient lightbulbs, and tubes filled with different gases that will shine different colors. The topic is spectroscopy, and we will be showing guests how to identify energy saving light bulbs in the home and at work in an effort to promote more efficient lighting. We will also explain how spectroscopy allows us to find exoplanets with atmospheres similar to our own, an importnat discovery if we are to someday find life outside of Earth. 

This weekend was probably the most exciting weekend to date. Victoria and I went the the National Air and Space Museum for their 40th birthday event. The museum was open from 9 p.m. until 9 a.m. and event though we only stayed for a few hours, we had a great time. It was so cool seeing the exhibits without a crush of people around, and we heard some truly incredible people speak. A section of the Army Band okayed throughout the night, and as a music nerd it was a great chance to hear some free music. My favorite part of the museum has always been the Universe exhibit, but there is a new exhibit of Moon art and photography, which was stunningly beautiful. We excitedly watched a demonstration about gravitational lensing that was almost certainly meant for children and I took an exquisite picture with a cutout of a soybean farmer (pictured below). The night was really fun, and while walking back to the Metro we watched heat lightning in the clouds around the Department of Agriculture.

On Sunday, Maria and I went to Great Falls Park with two of her coworkers at NASA. We spent the morning and early afternoon hiking, watching kayakers surf the currents in the Falls and scrambling across rocks. I've been to Great Falls many times, but always on the Maryland side. It was great to go to the Virginia side because the hiking was more secluded and it wasn't as crowded. I wish I had brought my dog! After the hike, we got lunch at a Thai place in Bethesda, and I promptly fell asleep for about 3 hours.

The Fourth was a bit lackluster this year because the weather was so unpleasant. I had a night in with my mom, getting Smashburger and watching Foxcatcher. The burgers were great, though the cashier looked a little concerned that we were spending our holiday in a fast food joint. It was a relaxing way to spend a holiday, especially because I'm not one for the Mall during the fireworks anyway. 

Hope your holiday weekend was fantastic!

outside the museum
soybean farmer
heat lightning
great falls 1
great falls 2

Mariah Heinzerling