academics

Electromagnetism too hard

Ugh, this was suppposed to be such a good week, but this freaking class Ph106. I should give a bit of background on the classes I’m taking:

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culture

Rocks for Dinner

All freshmen are required to live on campus, and thus, are required to be on the Caltech meal plan. This gives us access to all-you-can-eat open kitchen food Monday to Friday from 7:00am – 11:00am for breakfast, 3:00pm – 5:00pm for mid-day snacktime, and 5:00 – 7:00pm for dinner. On top of all that, we have $450 every term to buy lunch at Chandler or Broad Café on Weekdays, go to CHouse Sunday through Thursday nights, or buy snacks/meals/convenience store items seven days per week from the C-Store.

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research

Just Doing some Good-en

The past week was the middle school Science Fair at The Gooden School in Sierra Madre. A good friend of mine, senior physics student Valère Lambert (see his awesome blogs here!) asked me if I’d be willing to help out the next Tuesday. I didn’t have class that morning, so I said, sure! We got up real early (7 am, can you believe it?!?!) and headed out. The tri-fold boards of all three grades were lined up on tables in the gymnasium. Val with his coffee and I with my tea, we walked around as we waited for the first period to begin. Some experiments looked very impressive for middle schoolers! First up was sixth grade. Val and I got our clipboards with grading sheets and pens. The procedure was as follows. Each student would give his or her presentation in front of the entire class, their teacher, and us (the judges). All of the sixth grade projects were in the earth sciences, seventh grade projects were in the biological or chemical sciences, and eighth grade projects were in the physical sciences. Several of the students’ projects were very impressive considering their age!

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clubs

Road to the Rose Bowl Part 2

Jan 1 - Morning (in retrospect)** The Rose Parade begins at 8am but if you want a really really good seat, you’ve got to camp out your spot. Walking down Colorado St. the night before, you can see residents putting down tarps and putting up tents to claim their territory. We didn’t go to such drastic measures but were still lucky enough to get standing room on the curb. One of the silliest things about the parade were the organizers you could see walking around, keeping people back. They were wearing reallybrilliant white suitswith red ties and bright red socks and looked altogether ridiculous. Combined with thebrilliant whitemopeds that a few of them were driving around just brought it all together. The floats were beautiful and grand, just what you would expect from such a huge national event. It was hard for us to take nice pictures, but here’s a sample of my favorites courtesy of the official Tournament of Roses Facebook page.

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culture

Holiday Décor

Throwback Thursday! Tom Mannion is someone who needs no introduction. But since you, dear readers, probably haven’t met the man behind the magic, I’ll give you a brief one. Tom Mannion works for Caltech and lives a short block away from the undergraduate houses - practically across the street from the Admissions building. Tom loves to throw free (or veeeery highly subsidized) events for students. Some call him a professional entertainer, the coolest of cool, a space cowboy, the gangster of love, “Maurice”, but everyone can agree that Tom is THE MAN. (Check out “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band if you missed those last few references.) Over winter break, Tom is hosting several events to entertain students that are staying on campus and to make sure that we are in fact still eating. (Practically every Mannion event begins or ends with stuffing your face). Tonight was a trip into different parts of nearby Los Angeles to view some particularly spectacular Christmas decorations.

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clubs

Geology rocks! (;

Hello again! This weekend reminded me again of how blessed I am to be at a small school like Tech. My menu course, Ge 1 (Geology), had a trip scheduled to see all these different landforms that we’d been studying.

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culture

Easter Day

For Easter, the UCCs organized an egg hunt for the house. The eggs were hid around the house and at noon, we were given colorful baskets and set free to pickup eggs! There aren’t many good hiding places for eggs in a college dorm room, and also we wouldn’t want the candy to rot in the case the egg wasn’t found, so they were placed in obvious places. But it was still really fun! And funny to see eggs about various places:

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culture

Reflections on Tennis Season

The conference tournament that we call SCIACs (that’s just the name of our conference) was this past weekend, concluding our season. It was especially hot this weekend, but as my coach always says, the sun shines and the wind blows on both sides of the net: what you’re feeling your opponent is as well. And after three matches, Caltech earned 7th place out of the nine teams in conference, which is quite an achievement and improvement from past years. You can read more about us here.

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culture

Behind the Scenes of Lloyd Interhouse

Ahoy ye landlubbers! Thar be merrymaking to be had hereabouts! All ye blokes an beauties, weigh anchor, hoist the sails, land ho! Feast yer eyes, point yer pegleg, or ye’ll be a-walkin the plank! Tis the time o’ Lloyd Interhouse! Lloyd Interhouse was exactly one week ago, and man, was it a party. The theme was Pirates of the Caribbean. While Jenny wrote a fantastic post about her experience that night, I thought I’d give you, dear readers, a behind-the-scenes look at the finest event of the year.

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culture

Easter Weekend

Hello there! Right after the prefrosh left us, Easter weekend stopped by. (Personally, I think everyday should be Easter! :D) Some of my friends from the Caltech Christian Fellowship (CCF) and Life Church Fellowship (LCF) spent our Saturday evening at the Union Station Homeless Services Center, making food for and eating with the residents there. We got to talk to some really amazing people and hear some of their stories.

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culture

Welcome to the Greatest Birthday of Your Life

Biggie Smalls once said, “Birthdays was the worst days, now we sip champagne when we thirst-ay.” In Lloyd House, however, Birthdays are always the best days, and we eat cake instead of champagne, at least once per week to celebrate.

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research

A Tutorial in Tea Staining

Lloyd Interhouse didn’t just require construction skills (see my past post, “Behind the Scenes of Lloyd Interhouse”), there was also quite a bit of art and décor that went into it. A project I ended up spearheading was making flyers to be posted all over the houses and the olive walk. Back in middle school, we had a project to study the American Revolution where we all had to decorate our own American Constitutions. Imagine, cute little Alison, scribbling pencil crayons all over an 8.5x11. Adorable, I know. I always remembered my friend’s project though. She took a scroll of paper and turned it into an aged, frayed, dog-eared piece of super-authentic-looking parchment. It was beautiful!With this in mind, I set out to make my own torn-parchment flyers for Lloyd Interhouse! What better way to keep up the pirate theme? In this post, dear readers, I will be giving instructions, along with a load of pictures, as to how you can make your own frayed pirate Constitution flyers! (Or other aged documents). Enjoy!

  1. Collect materials
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research

“My advice for you? Rent a rickshaw and drive it around Mumbai for a week. On second thought, maybe that’s not the most feasible scenario..”

In our product design class ME105, we frequently have guest speakers and lecturers. For the first 30 minutes of class, each team gives their elevator pitch as the guest asks questions and critiques the pitch. For the next hour or so, the speaker then talks to usabout his/her latest social venture or start up.

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culture

Caltech On Ice

Whew, this weekend was busy! Work-wise as well as event-wise. Seeing the other side of Prefrosh Weekend was certainly interesting. When we heard that there were too many lady prefroshlings attending to be fit into all the girls’ rooms on campus, my roommate and I said to each other, “Eh, why not?” and volunteered to take on not one, not two, but THREE prefrosh!!! I guess they aren’t kidding when they throw this meme around: Dearest prefrosh readers, I hope you had a wonderful time and definitely come and visit again! Wherever you’ve decided to go next year, I’m proud of you :) .

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culture

PFW

Hey guys! I’m back, this time with stories and pictures from some special guests! It’s about time: The rest of the members of the Prefrosh Yield Committee and I have been waiting and planning for so long to finally get to meet some of our darling prefrosh. I led a costume competition icebreaker that was super fun, and I was really excited to see some of the creative costumes people came up with!

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research

Gay Board Gaming

Hey everyone!

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research

Kitchen Chemistry

(Sorry for the delay in posts. The website was dealing with some issues, but we’re back now!)

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research

Blood Moon

This past Tuesday I watched the lunar eclipse! A bunch of us sat in the Fleming Hovse courtyard watching the Moon. The house provided snacks and we sat on our artificial turf. I imagine the atmosphere would be similar to an outdoor movie, though I have never actually been.

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research

The Importance of Note-taking

Our 8-day Galapagos adventure was jam-packed: we’d get up at 5:30 am to begin our day of hiking, snorkeling, more snorkeling, and more hiking. We’d return to the boat at 6 pm for dinner and lecture/ presentations. By 10 pm, the entire boat would be sound asleep, lulled by the boat’s gentle rocking.

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culture

Touring USC

It may surprise you that I had never visited USC, since I’ve spent nearly half my life in Southern California and have several friends who went to USC (and invited me to visit over the last several years). But after my cousin Sarah visited us in Pasadena a couple of times for my post-wedding party at the Hill Community Church, I promised her that I would visit her as well some weekend.

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clubs

Road to the Rose Bowl Part 1

Dec 17 (published in retrospect) It was a beautiful blue sky – cotton ball cloud kind of day, so I decided to bike across Pasadena to visit the Wrigley Museum and Tournament of Roses HQ. It was a nice ride through a part of the city I’d never seen! The Wrigley mansion – yes, that’s the billionaire guy who started Wrigley’s bubblegum – definitely stuck out on the street. Imagine a pristine white two story building sitting on a wide, manicured grassy lawn surrounded by tall palm trees that I’m sure had to inspire Dr. Seuss’s Truffula trees and a multi-colored rose garden spanning the entire side of the house. Eh, why imagine? Here are some pictures!

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culture

Party like a Pirate

A lot of bloggers will probably mention Interhouse, but it wasn’t until I was talking to my prefrosh that I realized how insufficient was the attention for Caltech’s parties, and I’m not talking about study or set parties. Work hard play harder, right? Every year, each of the eight houses hosts a huge party for the other houses. We build, decorate, and make food all towards a theme. These parties are so impressive and well-known in these parts that students from USC and UCLA like to visit.

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research

Disc Golf 101

For those who haven’t been introduced to the world of disc golf, allow me to instruct you. It requires speed, stamina, agility, endurance, bench pressing, lifting weights!

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clubs

Pictures from Spring Break 2014, Part 2

I went to see my old high school orchestra on Thursday. Ugh, what a torture it is to wake up at 6:50 am once more! But seeing the faces of my lovely family of four years was definitely worth it. This is a picture of what we call sectional rehearsals, where the orchestra splits into its different instrument components (ex. first violins, second violins, viola, cello, bass) and rehearses according to section. The advantage is that each section plays the same part, so it is easier for section leaders to work on specific problem spots without the conductor having to worry about the whole orchestra.

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local

A Night of Music

“Music is the silence between the notes.” -Claude Debussy There is always something that needs to get done. I have accepted that. There’s is always a set to do, a book to read, or a paper to write. But sometimes, despite all of this, we need time off. Sometimes, we need the physical distance from campus to reinvigorate ourselves. This weekend, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to downtown LA.

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research

Galapagos Adventures

Exactly fifteen days ago, I found myself sitting cross-legged on my bedroom floor, with clothes, electronics, books, and shoes scattered around me. A third-party observer might just conclude that I’m a terribly messy person, but I was actually in the midst of prepping for my evolution class field trip to the Galapagos, taught by Professors Rob Phillips and Victoria Orphan!

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clubs

Eat

You might think this happens at all colleges, but this is Pasadena. We don’t just eat. Weeat.

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clubs

Pictures from Spring Break 2014, Part 1

Ever since our Venerable president Sherman had passionately advocated this Thai place on Colorado Street (just north of the Caltech campus), my roommate and I had wanted to try it out. We thought it was decent, but not great. Service was a little slow and the pad thai noodles were rather undercooked. Entrees range from $10.50 to 12 or up.

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research

Beats by Me

MAD Day is the annual day where Caltech students get together and get mad.

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academics

Tennis over Spring Break

While we travelled to Texas, we weren’t the only team to skip town; the baseball team played games in Arizona, and the men’s basketball team travelled all the way to Spain and played there! Also, the week before finals the men’s tennis team played in Palm Springs the same time as the BNP Paribas professional tournament was happening. So on one of the days they didn’t have a match they went to watch the pro matches, meeting Djokovic, the Bryan Brothers, and Kevin Spacey! Hardly a surprise, we, the women’s team, were quite jealous when they came back with photos and everything. But then we went to Texas and had quite our share of fun.

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research

See a concert at the Forum!

College kid bucket list item? Oh definitely.

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culture

What happens in Texas… goes up on my blog

This Spring Break, the women’s tennis team travelled to Texas! We played two matches against Texan teams; you can read about the matches here. And in addition to improving our regional ranking, we saw new sights and ate yummy food! (Fellow blogger Jenny is also on the tennis team so some of this might sound familiar.) I was surprised by how flat the land around Dallas is. And everything is so spread out; instead of having stores and houses lining the sides of the road, there’d be clusters of buildings here and there. And the UT Dallas campus is huge! We discovered that when we were trying to find the tennis courts for the first time; thank you satellites feature on googlemaps! Their facilities are super nice; I couldn’t help but take a photo of their tennis courts.

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clubs

To Texas and Beyond!

It was a bright cold day in March and the clocks were striking 7. Yes, you read that correctly: 7 am. I don’t even remember the last time I was up that early. On normal days - normal days being any day during term, including weekends - I usually wake up at 8:30 or 9 am. If you ask around here, that would be considered pretty early (some people don’t wake up till past noon). Anyhow, back to my original point. I didn’t wake up at 7 am for nothing. Nope. I woke up at 7 am for a tennis match at 10. This wasn’t just any tennis match you see. For spring break, the entire team, all ten of us hopped on the plane bound for…you guessed it! Texas! We played two matches at UT Dallas this weekend. We played Texas Lutheran University and UT Dallas, both great schools in our regions and we were really happy to get not one, but two wins! This puts our record at 8-4 (wins to losses) which is pretty amazing because last season the team had 7 wins in total. The school record for most wins in a season is 11 from what I’ve heard so we’ve got our eye on the prize!

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research

Building Bookcases out of Boredom

Let me start by saying I have nothing to complain about. Last term (senior year, winter term), I took 6 amazing classes, did research I loved, and planned for my Galapagos trip over spring break! And yet, when I returned home for a week between term and the Galapagos trip, I found myself.. bored. My siblings are in school from 7 am - 3 pm and my parents work for most of the day. To combat this boredom, I decided to complete a project I’d started over winter break.

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research

Volunteering at JPL

“So what do you normally do for weekends?” she asked as she drove us back home to Caltech.

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global

Trekking the Narrows - Day 2 at Zion National Park

Our first day at Zion National Park was pretty close to perfect, but luckily there is nothing in the book of life that says you can’t have two perfect days in a row. While we spent yesterday climbing to the top of a summit, we spent today trekking through the very bottom of a gorge. The Narrows of Zion is a long gorge formed by the Virginia River. The gorge is named so because the river is narrow – only 20-30 feet wide at some parts, but the rock walls oneither side soar hundreds of feet upwards. This distinguishing geological feature, along with the fact that you have to wade through water during 60% of the hike, makes hiking the Narrows one of Zion’s signature experiences.

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research

Designing a Smartphone Application

Last December, I stuffed my suitcase with sunscreen, kurtis, my handy dandy notebook, and rupees I’d found lying around the house. As soon as winter break began, my 11 classmates and I boarded a plane to begin our product design class field trip. After almost 24 hours of travel, we reached our destination: Ahmedabad, India! There, we met IIT Gandhinagar students we’d be collaborating with and were soon on our way to visit local hospitals, construction sites, farms, villages, and even deserts (see Little Rann of Kutch). The purpose of this trip was to identify specific problems that people in developing nations face. Every day, after our field visits, all 30 of us gathered into our classroom to brainstorm solutions for the problems we’d drafted. After 7 days, we had come up with 250 different solutions (some more realistic than others). We narrowed the 250 solutions down to 50, and then voted on which 10 or so projects the class should focus on. After ranking our individual preferences, we were divided into teams of 4-5 for each project (2 Indian students, 2-3 American students).

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culture

A Timeline of February Fun

Since I haven’t written for so long, I thought I’d take a post to give a sort of timeline of some things I did in February.

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research

Painting a Fond Farewell

Tucked behind the Caltech Theatre House and past the Alumni House is a unassuming, two-story stark white garage. But inside this barren building is an explosion of color, stencils, silk, and paint. The first floor of this garage houses Caltech’s silk screening and shirt decorating room, while the second floor is home to our aclyric paint and charcoal collection.

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local

A Rainy Day in LA

There’s a metaphor that floats around campus that likens Caltech to bubble. To some extent, this is no myth. It takes a lot of planning and will to get off campus especially for those among us who do not have cars. However, there is a great literature class (which I am in) that encompasses a tour of L.A. Although the rain was pouring down hard, Professor Jurca’s enthusiasm was not dampened. I got to experience L.A. for the first time and I caught a brief glimpse into the history of this magnificient city. It is quite spectacular.

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academics

Disney’s Frozen!

Hello,

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academics

Wine and Food Pairing

Hi everyone,

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Spotlight


academics

My Trip to the Galapagos!

It’s been over three months since my trip to the Galapagos, and I am still thinking about it. For seven days, we all woke up at 5:30 am on the boat, ate breakfast together, and went out as the sun was rising on our morning hike to catch frigatebirds mating or iguanas spewing salt from their nostrils. Our days were spent snorkeling with turtles, sea lions, and schools of fish, and our nights were spent sitting on the bow of the ship, talking all together under the stars. It was truly a spring break I will never forget.

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culture

Caltech Food Tour

Caltech may be a small campus, but it has a large variety of food options. There are three main dining locations on campus — The Lee F. Browne Dining Hall, the Hameetman Center (which houses our beloved Red Door Cafe), and the Broad Café.

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academics

Some Late-Night Stress-Saving Food Runs

Midterms kept up its unrelenting attack on my sanity this week – at least a little bit. And how did I solve this? Two words.

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culture

Caltech Art Gala

Every year, Caltech’s literary and arts magazine Totem hosts the Art of Science competition.

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global local culture

Quick Trip to the Beach

Although there are a lot of smaller things, such as midterm smoothies and milkshakes (Blacker does something similar to this) and some larger things like Faculty Dessert Night, the soc team usually agrees that beach trip is the most work.

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