Thursday, July 5, 2012

I'm Not Poking You, You Just Think I Am

My alarm clock went off at 7 AM this morning, which was entirely too early after my late night partying it up with the Penn Team at the Fourth of July festivities. However, I dragged my sorry carcass out of bed to make it to breakfast and morning lecture. Even though I was exhausted, I wanted to make sure I was totally focused for the morning’s teleconference with CERN. Thanks to my physics term paper on dark matter, I wasn’t completely lost when it came to terms such as neutrinos and bosons. The subject matter was sufficiently complex and new that I knew I’d need to concentrate extremely hard to be able to follow the conversation, but I did and I think I understood most of what the particle physicist was talking about.

Besides the teleconference, we also reviewed dynamics, or Newton’s laws. Although we spent days covering force=mass x acceleration in physics class this past year, I still managed to learn something new. Craig, one of the assistant teachers, explained to us that all forces that we see in our everyday behaviors, except gravity, stem from electromagnetic force. This means that you can never actually touch anything. WHAT!? For example, just say that I wanted to poke Clara in the shoulder. As my finger got closer to her shoulder, the electrons coating my hand would get very close to the electrons on her shirt. Electrons repel each other, so the electrons on her shirt would push down on the electrons on her skin, which would push down on her muscles, and so on, giving the sensation of contact. This puts a whole new spin on all those annoying car games I played with my little sister years ago.

After class, I took a brief nap in my room to recover some of the lost hours of sleep from last night. I then went around to Clara, Ivette, and Chloe’s room to collect laundry. Our cohort ended up having a little laundry party down in the basement, combining loads to save water.

Dinner was at Houston, as per usual, and I ordered salad. Although Clara and I are on a mission to try everything offered at the dining hall, I’m a little worried to try their Mexican food because I think I’ll be disappointed. The thing I miss most about home is the food, although dorm food is better than I was expecting. There is more fresh fruit than I hoped to find here, and by eating lots of salad I’m getting in my vegetables.

On the subject of being healthy, Ivette and I went to the gym together after dinner and worked out for an hour. I felt much more awake afterwards, probably due to the adrenaline rush, and was really glad that we decided to go. I hope to establish a routine for the next few weeks, and I definitely plan to have a strong fitness component. After all, I have to justify the large amounts of popcorn I’ll consume tomorrow when we go to the movies for mandatory movie night.

1 comment:

  1. Mandatory movie night? What have we gotten you all into?

    Last year while at Penn Station a request came over the PA system asking of anyone spoke Spanish so they could translate for a passenger. This suggests that maybe there aren’t all that many Spanish speaking people in Philly--or at least not working at Penn Station.

    The point to this is, if there aren’t a lot of Mexicans in Philly, why would you think that the Mexican food they’re going to serve you would resemble the Mexican food you get at home where there are real live Mexicans every where you turn? Think about it. It’s not the same as watching the cooking channel when they have International Week and thinking that you’ve mastered foreign cuisines.

    And as for the poking routine, if someone pokes their electrons into me I’m going to poke my electrons right back at them with even more force.