Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Today's class went a little differently than the others.  In the morning we learned how to use an oscilloscope, the same device that monitors heartbeats in hospital rooms.  In the lab, we used the oscilloscopes to measure the speed of sound and the speed of electricity.  Now that we are in the second week, I am getting better at understanding and executing the labs, which makes me enjoy them even more.  We completed the morning with a guest lecture by Professor Kenneth Lande.  He spoke to us about the current issues of climate change and alternative energy.  Instead of telling us the same old story, he taught the physics side of what is happening with the world and how we may be able to counteract it.  These issues hold great importance for me personally, so the morning was, as always, amazing.  

My lab group with Dr. Thomas
In the afternoon, we were joined by astronaut Dr. Don Thomas.  He spoke about his career living and working in space, as well as a little bit of the physics in zero gravity.  The most intense and inspiring message from his talk was to never give up on a dream, no matter what.  He tried four times, over the course of many years, to become a NASA astronaut, something he had wanted since Kindergarten.  Despite the obstacles, when he finally took off in to space, he experienced the most amazing feeling possible; he truly achieved his dreams.  He is living proof of the motto, "never give up," and the message really resonated with me.  

I also enjoyed his pictures of his space missions.  Every 90 minutes, he would go through a cycle of night and day. He said the only boring part of space orbiting the Earth is the twenty minutes that the shuttle is passing over the Pacific Ocean.  Seeing pictures of the Earth from space really put life in a different perspective.  We live on a beautiful and amazing planet.  

After a hands-on demonstration about surface tension, Dr. Thomas told us about the future of the space program.  In my life time, we may see humans on Mars or a space station on the moon.  I've said it before, but learning a subject that is constantly changing and growing intrigues me to no end.

Our class went all the way to 4:30, so I only had a little time to return to my dorm and regroup before dinner.  On my way over with Chloe, Alysa, and Ivette, we were stopped by a group of students who asked if we could answer some question for a documentary.  They asked for our definition of "Home" and how we would feel if we were forced to leave.  The questions made me a little homesick, so I called my mom between dinner and a run.  

Today was full of new knowledge and insights.  Day after day, this program continues to amaze me.  No matter how hard it is to get up in the morning, I go to sleep every night looking forward to the next day. 

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