Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Astronomy Internship - Day 5

It seems that in my exploring of campus yesterday I managed to get a light sunburn. Oh well. Such things happen.

Anyway, today started off sunny for a change. My roomate got up early to go to the computer lab and work on the data reduction with one of the people that was having trouble last night.

As usual, I got up shortly before 8 and took my shower before heading off to breakfast. I didn't think it was possible, but the dorm food seems to be getting worse. The scrambled eggs are generally watery and I have refused to touch them after the first day. However, the hard boiled ones aren't bad. The pancakes would have been edible if there was some decent syrup.

After breakfast, Tiara and I headed to the lab building. Our morning session was finishing up whatever we hadn't last night. Given that most of us were almost complete this wasn't hard. However, I seemingly managaed to edit some of my original files in an incorrect manner last night, so I decided to redo the entire process.

However, since I knew how everything worked this time, I was able to complete the task in just over 20 minutes instead of the nearly 2 hours I'd spent last night.

Yesterday, there had been a miscommunication about how lunch was supposed to work. However that was straigtened out today and the group ate at one of the student unions. The food there was quite excellent. Unfortunately, lunch will only be provided there until until the end of the week. After that, it will all be served from the dining halls.

Once we finished eating, a few of us headed over to the library to see if we could find any materials that would be helpful in our research. Since my topic is very narrow, books are of little use to me (I'll need mostly journal articles which I get off the web), but I went along to take a few pictures of the inside of the library.

The astronomy books were located on the top story which had a nice view:

I ended up getting lost in the oddly laid out building on my way out.

For our afternoon session, we had a lecture on the statistics important in astronomical research, especially as how they applied to determining experimental uncertainty. For the most part, it was review as we have to apply most of these methods in the physics labs I'd taken. The only really new part was what's known as Poisson distributions which gives a simple method for finding the uncertainty in a measurement when you only have one and it involves counting a number of occurances over an interval of time.

Dinner was little better than breakfast and consisted of some sort of glazed pork chop. The meat was extremely chewy and not terribly good anyway. The corn was very soggy. The best part was the mashed potatos. Can you tell I'm from the midwest?

Once dinner was over, I headed back to my room and did a bit of reading.

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