Week 4: Week of the Curious Transactions

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Friday, June 28, 2013


Caleb Heath

[At NIST] we standardize everythingNicole and I visited NIST last Friday to get prepared for the upcoming Summer Institute. There was a fruitful discussion of ideas, some precipitous meetings, and then we got to unpack toys. The middle school teachers are sure to have a good time. Added to this, all twenty-something of them are getting a SOCK as well, or at least a multi-sensor theremin. Maybe a laser harp too.

This week we really began shopping, an activity I love. Who doesn’t like optimization problems? The inventory started rolling in yesterday, and it’s quite a party package so far: wire, conductive thread, copper taffeta, velostat. The last are three necessary components for bend sensors, which I’ll commence to making this afternoon. I can’t wait for the breadboards to come in. They’re colorful things, not more than two inches on any side.

This place is going to be a mess soon.

It’s a bit quiet here, owing to Nicole’s absence. She left for NIST earlier this week, and will be onsite for a few more weeks. I’ll be traveling to NIST occasionally though, especially once the Institute is underway.


We had rare occasion yesterday for all of us interns to be together: a reception with the AIP Development Board. Great fun, and we have another function tonight with the SPS Executive Committee. We’ll have dinner and then Metro downtown for a performance by the Capitol Steps: “We put the Mock in Democracy!”


I’m something of an art freak- I’ve too little knowledge to be an aficionado-and I’ve been devouring the collections and theaters of the District. This is my favorite part of living in the big city. All those passions and ideas bubble up and materialize into food for the soul.

If you love contemporary art, I cannot recommend the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden enough. My camera is now full of oddities from their collection. Perhaps it’s because I’m a child of the digital age, but such strangeness holds my interest more easily than realistic pieces. If I’m given the choice between the work of a Renaissance master and a room papered in post-it notes and inhabited by cabbage-eating snails, I’ll go with the snails.

This is also a great town for performance art. We’ve been to the Kennedy Center a few times before, as I’ve mentioned in previous entries, but there are also many theatres. There’s the Shakespeare Theatre Company, where even the student actors are veteran professionals. I watched a performance by this student group Wednesday, “The White Devil” with lots of murder and intrigue. I wanted to see them do “Measure for Measure,” but the final performance is sold out. Still, I’m on the wait list, and I’ve had good luck with those lately.

Caleb Heath