Saturday, July 18, 2015By:
We had the NIST tour this week, which was very exhilarating and rewarding. Aside from touring our building, the PML (Physical Measurement Laboratory), we toured the CNST (Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology) Nanofab, and the Center for Neutron Research. At CNST, Dr. Vippin Tondare showed us the SEM(Scanning Electron Microscope) and SHIM (Scanning Helium Ion Microscope). We walked along the cleaning rooms, where wet chemistry, silicon, light, and electricity create beautiful and detailed nanoscale structures. Dr. Patrick Egan provided a very informative lecture on how a meter is measured (distance light travels in 1 / 299,792,458 seconds ) and his work involves improving this technique, again emphasizing how NIST holds many standards of the units of measurements. After lunch, we attended a creative lecture on “Time, Einstein, and the coolest stuff in the universe” by Nobel laureate Dr. William Phillips. He talked about his work in laser cooling and magnificent achievement of reaching very, very, very low temperatures with this technique. He spilled quite an amount of liquid nitrogen on the floor as he was doing his demonstrations. After the lecture, we headed over to the Center for Neutron Research, this tour was cordially arranged by Teresa as this is where she interned last summer. This facility was phenomenal, I was taken away by the equipment in here! Such as the neutron scattering instruments, the Residual Stress Diffractometer, and the Neutron Spin Echo Spectrometer to name a few. We saw the aCORN apparatus, which is being used to study the decay of a neutron. We finished off the tour of NIST by paying a visit the the incredible descendent of the apple tree that inspired Isaac Newton.
Outside of work this week, we had a nice social media roundtable dinner with the SPS folks at Tracy Schwab house. Aside from accomplishing a thorough and effective conversation on the use of social media for outreach purposes, this conversation emphasized in me the importance of communicating science to the people not involved in a science field;an importance of the intertwined bonds of civic engagement and science. Another exciting event of this week was visiting Mount Vernon on Saturday! Brean and I headed over to Mount Vernon,VA around 8am and spent practically the entire day there visiting George Washington’s mansion, gardens, farms, tombs, distillery, gristmill, and the memorial of the persons he enslaved.