Well, it partially works. The other day I ran my experiment. I came back the next day and saw something odd. What is classically thought is if we sit another fluid on the bottom (as long as gravity doesn’t hold it back), the fluid will diffuse, rising upward. What we saw with the latest run is the fluid took a very strange path; we discovered we have a mixing due to buoyancy issue. That’s bad; diffusion allegedly happens on its own; there’s supposedly no force (like buoyancy) that causes it). So part of my data is no good. I have to analyze it all, but I’m not optimistic about it.

As for the money situation with my other experiments, we’re very lucky (and I’m very relieved). One of the professors is able to get what I need from Argonne. The other thing is rather funny. My chemistry professor (I don’t recall if I mentioned I’m taking a class in chemistry but I am) and I have discussed my research project twice. Taking this class is quite fortuitous, because he knows a lot about polymers. I am more than happy to admit I know very little about them, but I also know I’m not afraid to ask for help from someone I believe knows more than I. I went to class on Tuesday (and I think I did decently on my exam), and he asked how things were going with my research. I told him we had a money issue, so we were still exploring the materials that he suggested. He then suggested that we use milk to observe the microscope stuff.

Miraculously, it worked very well. Milk is actually a colloid (particles suspended in a liquid), which is what we needed. Milk is also absolutely disgusting to look at on the molecular level; to me, it looked like maggots in something.

Other than that, my lab assistants are working well. The kid I had as a student is starting to feel useful (that’s what he said), even though I already thought he was being useful. I’ve written a small chunk of my thesis (3 pages, I believe) and will probably churn out another 3 pages within the next few days. I hear this is the hardest part, writing and motivating yourself to write. I think I’ve concluded there is absolutely no ideal weather to write in. If it’s cold, all you want to do is snuggle up in bed or sit around, sitting coffee or hot chocolate. If it’s warm, you want to be outside, enjoying the weather. However, I am going to write this weekend, no matter what.

Despite the setback, I feel like I have made progress. It’d be nice if I made more progress, but I feel like I am making some.

I just hope it all works out in the end.

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I’m running my experiment for the second time. I didn’t announce the other time, in fear that it would be jinxed.

It feels good to be up and running. I am really starting to make some progress with my thesis. I’ve written about 2 pages (not a lot, but it’s a start) and my research assisstants are working out well. I’m glad to have their help; one of the things I’ve realized a while ago is that I can’t do everything myself. When only considering time, it’s impossible to get everything accomplished.

I think I’m at a good palce for my projected defensive date. At least I’m hoping.

One of my experiments is up and running, thank goodness. I have been running it for almost a week, and we are still waiting patiently to see data. I might let it run over the weekend; there is some concern that the fluid will float to the top and not show diffusion. I’m doubtful that’ll happen (mainy because I saw how fast things float to the top before with this experiment), but we’ll see.

While I’ve been waiting, I’ve been looking this past week at different dance forms to explore. Why? I like trying new things, and I’ve been doing Middle Eastern dance solid for a while. I’ve read various people’s thoughts about cross training in different dance forms, and I tend to side with the much favored school of cross training. I think it’s a good way to balance the body, for starters.Certain dances tend to work one part of the body extensively and not the other. Because I’m interested in fusion dance, learning the dances in their “pure form” is important. I’ve learned that if I want to some sort of tribal fusion, for instance, I need to learn the original form. Without careful instruction or observation, it’s easy to miss subtle parts of a move that polish it. I’m of the learning the original school of thought, just because “you can’t break the rules until you know them.” I also am genuinely interested in moving beautifully, and learning other dances for me has been a means of learning how to move beautifully.

Since Odissi and Bharatanatyam appear to be non-existent in Chicago without car access, I decided to seek out something else. Danielle suggested that I look into Flamenco; she herself is a Flamenco fan and huge advocate of the dance. To tell you the truth, I know very little about Flamenco. By very little, I knew it is Spanish, they wear shoes, and I believe play castanets. I still know very little, but this clip sold me on learning:

I’m not sure if it’ll be my passion, but I found the dancing in this clip gorgeous. I’m not sure if it’s good Flamenco, but I liked the dancing a lot. I take it as an excellent sign that I should learn Flamenco, because the basic class is on a Wednesday, when I used to learn veil. Veil was moved to Mondays for some reason, leaving Wednesdays free to learn Flamenco. I’m excited about learning this. I start in 2 weeks.

Spring break is almost gone (one more day). I didn’t do anything glamorous, and I didn’t really break, but I feel sort of rested.

  • Research: The addition of the new kid, M, is good. He is quiet but works well, is intelligent, etc. He has come in at a good time, because my advisor has added on projects. We have density tested three various mixture, and I think we have a direction. The behaviors of our fluids were very strange; even something that we measured less dense than the background fluid somehow sunk. However, all these failings have prompted my advisor to realize we need a new direction, because his idea for the experiment simply does not appear to work. We’ve been working hard with the microscope (T, my significant other, has been working on that, since he’s much better with optics than I), and I think we’re making progress. We’re having a meeting on Monday, which I think will be good. It’s to introduce M to the lab people more and discuss the quarter’s plans.
  • Yoga: Yoga was much welcome return to my life. T and I went to yoga together. Despite being a complete newbie to it and rather inactive, he did well and better, enjoyed it immensely. He wants to start going weekly, which will be good for both of us.
  • Dance: I continued going to veil class. I ended up treating myself to a new veil, a subtle tie dye in fall leaf colors. It’s beautiful. I wanted to go to a second class today, but I had set my alarm for 5 AM, not 5 PM, so I overslept during my nap. After spending my evening here vs. going to a class, I decided that my body needed to rest more than it needed to move. Tomorrow, I will resume practice.
  • Volunteering: I try to volunteer once every two weeks at a hospice for Alzheimer’s patients. I pay several people visits. Only one lady can communicate with me, and she and another lady are the only ones who look at me when I’m in the room; the rest may react to me holding their hands. I find going to the hospice as means of putting my life into perspective; my life can always be worse. I also sometimes like talking about my problems to the one lady who looks at me but doesn’t speak. What I’m supposed to do is talk to them or watch TV with them (I watched Karate Kid Part III with one of them once).  I’ve started feeling less awkward around them, because I’m getting used to making one sided small talk. I think I’m getting better at it. The other good thing that has happened is I found the two people who look at me will look at photos with me. When I was telling one of them about my week (I took my female cat to the vet), I showed her some photos on my phone. She definitely looked at the photos on my phone and then looked at me. I’m planning on loading up my camera to show them photos of the cats and other stuff.

I wish I could’ve taken more time off, but that’s life. How was everyone else’s week?

I crashed majorly today in terms of sleep. I had no idea that I had been that worn out. I knew I had been overworked, but I just slept so deeply last night and woke up to want to sleep more. Although I’m glad I went to veil class on Wednesday, I probably should’ve slept.

I did work on research, which was nice. Being in the lab has somewhat of a high for me; I spent an extra two hours in there, because I was so engrossed in work, as well as talking to the undergraduates in there. It was a good Friday, a nice calm before I dive into my final. I’m very close to the matched densities in the third decimal place. I think I can have everything running for real on Monday.

The end of the quarter is somewhat bittersweet, since I not only won’t have the same students next quarter but also I won’t be around in the physics department for class. I have decided to take a polymers class in the chemistry department; since finding out astrophysics wasn’t my interest, I decided going outside the department made the most sense and have been spent looking for another class. I looked into the math department, but I didn’t find anything suitable. The chem class looks promising. The only bad thing is that it is over 3 hours long and from 5:45 to 9 PM. The good news is that it lines up well with the dance classes I want to take.

Because I’ve been rather negative lately (worrying about applications statuses, which still have nothing), I would start focusing on the positive for next week:

  • Going to a dance class, probably on veil. I miss group classes so much, and I really love veil
  • Working on research. I’ve been seriously neglecting that. I’ve worked late at night, but I haven’t made much progress. I’ve density-matched up to one past the decimal and need to get three past the decimal.
  • Rest. Most assignments are due this week, so my workload is lighter. Also, last weekend I went all over Chicago for misc. reasons (dinner in Hyde Park with my boyfriend’s family, volunteering, workshop, art studio opening).
  • Good weather. It looks like Chicago might be in the high 50s for a bit.

Now all I have to do is get to that point.

Experiments unfortunately do not have a straightforward path (see: CERN), since not everything can be predicted.

We are density matching our food colored glycerin today. The scale that we use is sensitive up to 4 past the decimal. We can basically watch water evaporate, which is surprisingly really cool (or I’m not surprisingly nerdy).

Density matching means we are desperately trying to get one color’s density to match the other. It’s surprisingly not as trivial as it sounds. The densities must be very exact, or else, the one will sink or float.