Week 6: Thoughts from a frantic Physicist

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Saturday, July 14, 2018


Phoebe Sharp

Disclaimer: No overarching theme that explores the depth of being a physics major. Below are some ramblings from this week. (Maybe this is another way I’m providing insight into being a graduated Physicist?)

It’s strange being a part of this program as a graduate. This program has provided me / is providing me many opportunities to stay in DC after its over, as well as valuable skills and connections to employers in this area. I mention this because my experience in this internship is different than those students that haven’t graduated yet. It’s like graduating is this ominous vail that has made this summer much more intense. In struggling to find what my next step is, I envy those other interns that have classes to look forward to or trips to Thailand for study abroad. There are so many amazing things that happen as a college student, and now being a graduate, I can say that students should really enjoy the time they have as students. It’s a race up until the end, and it becomes increasingly harder to appreciate those moments in life. Okay, I’ll get out of my rocking chair now (because I’m old).

Having four weeks left is a real reality check. I’m counting the number of projects I’ve had, the people I’ve met, and the goals I want to reach before August 11. The past six weeks have gone by faster and faster, making me think about time as a concept. I promise not to include my ramblings on time I wrote before deciding they were over-the-top, but if time seems faster, could I be traveling through space-time faster? Then, would I be aging slower? These are the weird things I think about.

We went on two tours this week. The Optical Society of America was so cool! They were so kind in providing us pizza after our professional development series with Danielle. They have such a nice building. The other tour was to Capitol hill. We went to a hearing, visited the Capitol Visitor Center, took the trains between the capitol and the senate building, saw Bernie Sanders’ office, and lots more. I enjoyed spending time with everyone (except Kristina because she was off doing some awesome AAPT stuff), but the whole day was exhausting with all of the information and walking around. RIP Mikayla’s heel.

To highlight a super awesome moment from the tour: we met Dr. Foster during the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Energy Subcommittee on Research and Technology hearing called “Big Data Challenges and Advanced Computing Solutions”. Dr. Foster talked with us for awhile before he entered the hearing, and he was very engaged, listening to all of the projects that we are working on and trying to provide some comments from his own scientific experience. I’m currently writing about Triboluminescence and Dr. Foster told me about sonoluminescence, this phenomenon that occurs from sound in water producing light. It’s very interesting, and for a representative to have talked about 13 other kinds of physics going into a hearing about data science to talk about this whole other kind of science for a brief moment is so cool. He is so smart and knows so much. He gives me hope for other scientists in politics.

Phoebe Sharp