Week 6: Planes, Spacetime, and a Push to the End

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Monday, July 18, 2016


Samantha Spytek

I have completed my sixth week as an SPS intern. That's 60,480 minutes or 3,628,800 seconds. Aaaaaand, we're done! We're done we're done we're done! Our group has finished going through all of the the previous lesson plans, dotting all of the i's and crossing all of the t's. All of the files have been transferred over to their final locations and renamed appropriately. Our list of lesson plans are all color coded to be 'finalized' and I've never been so happy to turn excel cells blue. We are all, as we knew we would be, incredibly satisfied with ourselves and the work we've done, even though it became incredibly tedious and boring. Not all parts of a job get to be fun. But now we're done, and we're so glad we are! While the work wasn't fun, it was necessary for the continuation and organization of our project once we're gone, and at the end of the day that is really our job. To celebrate, I took my mom out to a nice dinner last Friday. We went to a place called Trattoria Alberto on 8th St. It's one of our favorite Italian places. We ate Canneloni, Pesto Linguini and Creme Brulee. 

Trattoria Alberto

Not all of last week was work though. On Thursday, the interns went to the College Park Aviation Museum for dinner with some AIP execs and John Mather. The food was delicious, and once dinner was over, we were taken on a private tour of the museum, which was quite interesting. We learned that the airport attached to the museum is the oldest and longest-in-use airport in the world. It was founded by the Wright brothers around 1909 and was where they trained the first two army pilots that would be the start of the U.S. airforce. We also learned that the Wright brothers were very suspicious and secretive of their inventions. They made their first planes out of wood, but because people would come to watch them fly, and to keep any spies from finding out what the planes were actually made of, they would paint the wooden parts a metallic silver color so that if someone tried to copy their design they would make a metal plane, which would have been too heavy to fly at the time. Once the tour was over, we were given full range of the museum to look around some more, and the interns found our way over to the Imagination Plane, which you can actually climb inside. Maria and I were the first to board.

Sam and Maria in Plane

When the dinner had been packed up and it was time to go, there weren't enough seats in the cars that were there for everyone to get a ride to the metro. A few of us ended up walking. This really wasn't so bad, since it was getting close to sunset and there was a nice breeze. On our way out, I snapped a few pictures of the planes and the sign for the airport. 

Planes 1

Planes 2

Airport Sign

We did one other activity this week as interns, and that was on Saturday, we went to the National Academy of Science and held a space time demonstration next to the Albert Einstein Memorial. We had pulled spandex across a large hoop made of tent poles and were useing marbles to make different gravity wells to help show how gravity and general relativity work. We had a lot of fun playing with the marbles, and many people who came up to play also enjoyed the challenge of getting a marble to correctly depict what a small mass does when it orbits a larger mass. The biggest challenge was getting the small marble to orbit in a figure 8 around two heavy masses, which is what planets do when they orbit a binary star system. 

space time demo 1

space time demo 2

Overall, this was a very succesfull week. Here's to the rest of them being like that too. 

Samantha Spytek