clubs

Our last full day in Switzerland

We got up early and ate at a riverside café for breakfast.

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culture

Vortex Mathemagics

Naturally, a large majority of characters in Shounen(targeted to teen male audiences) fighting Manga/Anime come with their own secret, all powerful, technique, which will, when activated, take down their opponent in a flashy explosive ball of fire, or otherwise materialized mass of destruction. One of my personal favorites is Zekka, a character from “Battle Angel Alita: Last Order”, whose ultimate technique, the Dragon Slayer, is a punch loaded with antimatter produced from the particle accelerator he molded out of his own abdomen. Zekka below: Large muscular men and flowers are totally compatible.And a detailed blueprint design of how to implement your own intra-particle accelerator.(read right to left)

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culture

Hawking and More

Hi everybody! Sorry about the long absence in my blog, but I suddenly got overwhelmed with work and simply didn’t have the time. (To be quite honest, I probably don’t have the time now, but writing this blog is another thing that helps me relax.) So, as promised last time, I’ll tell you how I got to meet Stephen Hawking (for the second time)! Now, I don’t consider myself a girly-girl by any means.

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research

Pre-frosh Weekend's SURF Panel

For those of you who attended Pre-frosh Weekend a couple days ago, congrats! It’s an exciting time for you, and I’m sure you’re choosing between many amazing universities around the country.

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research

U MAD BRO?

Heh, I’ve been wanting to label a post with that for a while! At least this time it will make more sense: MAD is the Caltech Y’s annual Make a Difference Day. We organize up to 20 different off campus volunteer projects for 200 volunteers. Usually these projects are tutoring, environmental restoration, working with animal shelters and serving at local homeless shelters. Last year, I led a group to help out at the Red Cross. We cleaned their cars and got to take a ride in one of them! The vehicles, of course, is equipped with much more than a normal car because the Red Cross provides emergency first aid and disaster relief services. This year, I led a group to help out at MACH1, “Move a Child Higher”. This group gives horseback riding lessons to disabled children. One of the regular volunteers there that we met actually used to receive lessons because of his autism. The horses are all very gentle, especially around the children. The organization was founded by a woman who suffered from polio herself, but was able to ride competitively nonetheless. She said that her goal in founding MACH1 was to give every child a “chance to dance” and that learning to ride a horse gave her the courage to overcome her polio. We deweeded, swept and raked the grounds for them, and also got to groom one of the horses, Heidi! Heidi is a Norwegian Fjord, and has a really beautiful cropped black and white mane. Her coat is a sandy tan color and she was very patient with us. We also met the other horses as well as a donkey. After getting freshly groomed, the donkey decided to roll around in the dirt XD As usual, I took a lot of pictures ^^

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clubs

Meeting the locals!

It was a Sunday, which means that most shops and things were closed, so we decided to go hiking instead. We took a bus and went to the nearby Hollgrotten Baar (Hell’s Cave).

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Rainy Day Exploration of Downtown Zurich!

Today, we took a very early morning train from Lugano to Zurich that was exactly 2 hours and 40 minutes according the the very precise Swiss train schedule. When we arrived in Zurich, it was much colder than sunny and warm Lugano and it was even raining heavily! We had to pull out our raincoats from the bottom of our backpacks since we had not used them since hiking in the Alps. Our hostel was right in the center of downtown Zurich and so it was a convenient location. However, we spent some time wandering around downtown in rain from the train station, looking for our hostel. Once we found it, we hiked up four flights of stairs to get to the hostel lobby since it was above a restaurant. Then, we climbed up another three flights of stairs to our floor! We decided to go exploring despite the rain. We ran into some graduate students who were attending the local university, ETH. One of them, Haffi, had been at Caltech for one summer as a SURF student when he was an undergraduate and they agreed to show us around Zurich. First, we visited the church, Gross Munster. The Church had beautiful stained glass windows and also a crypt in the basement. We also went up to the towers and got a very nice view of Zurich and the river. Stained glass in Grossmunster. *

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culture

Fleming's Momentum

Hi Alls,If any of you readers are familiar with A Certain Scientific Analysis from MIThttps://anime.scripts.mit.edu/miteiru/a-certain-scientific-analysis/you’ll know about Misaka’s railgun and the realistic numbers that go into analyzing it. If you’re unfamiliar, I highly recommend reading it. It’s quite an interesting read even for people who don’t follow Anime so much.

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research

Cake for Breakfast, Medieval Churches and an afternoon boat cruise in Italian Switzerland

This morning, we decided to satisfy our craving for sweets by searching for a bakery. When we were walking around in old town Lugano, I spotted a cool looking bakery with delicious and beautiful looking cakes and pastries on display in its window. We decided to go in and investigate. We ordered a slice of plum pie and a slice of cake with walnut and chocolate strings on top. We sat in the cafe restaurant and savoured each delicious bite. The fancy confectionary that we had serindipitously stopped by for a breakfast of cake was actually a very special bakery renowed also for its espressos and apparently used to be a nunnery.

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culture

Dolphins with Guns and Color Changing Humans

Hey guys, Long time no…blog? It’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks, but I have some exciting stories to tell you all. This term is looking fairly packed for me: I’m taking 52 units and auditing a 6 unit class, TA-ing an introductory biology class and working on a number of extracurriculars. My title must seem weirder than usual, huh? It’s every bit as fantastical as it sounds! For the class that I’m TAing, students are required to think of new questions or experiments to design. This class is required for non-biology majors, so they’re also encouraged to combine background from their fields with what we’re learning in class. I’ve heard of some pretty cool ideas, including dolphins with guns and humans that change color! Other ideas were simulating a HIV virus, and building a robot that could “feel” fear! TA-ing is a challenge, but it also forces me to think about the big picture about many topics that I’ve spent many classes about learning the nitty gritty details. Last Friday, a friend and I went out to watch Demetri Martin perform!

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culture

We saw Italy!

We took the advice of one of the girls we had met in our hostel and went to Morecote the next day. We got lost on the way while we were looking for our bus stop and ended up in a small neighborhood in Paradiso for an hour. We walked through narrow alleys between pastel colored houses. It seemed like a nice place to live.

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culture

I just got to take a photo with Stephen Hawking.

Only at a place like Caltech. Only at a place like Caltech can you run into an international academic celebrity like Stephen Hawking in the bookstore. And sometimes you just have to seize an opportunity when it appears - even if you start shaking when you walk up because you’re seeing one of your idols in real life for the first time.

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culture

Markets of Bern, the Life of Einstein and Wine Cellars

This morning, we went to the local street market near our hostel to buy local authentic artisan cheese and bread. Needless to say, both were was super delicious and made for a hearty breakfast. The bread was freshly baked and had a lot of different types of nuts including macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, etc.

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culture

A Certain Magical Mind

Hi alls,Now you’re on your merry way perusing through the lands battling monsters, rescuing damsels, and most importantly leveling up, and that’s all good. But then you realize, you’re really slow! Certainly, people have told you the entirety of Caltech fantasy-scape could be traversed in 7mins, and it’s probably true if by 7 they meant 15mins. Which is mildy worse but wouldn’t be a problem if only the Magic trainer and Swordwork trainer didn’t have their lessons back to back on opposite sides of the map. (Braun gym is on the South West side of campus while Annenberg building is on the North East.) So you decide it’s a worthy investment to get a horse (bicycle). Unfortunately, there are thieves prowling about, exiles from other worlds, waiting to get the chance to steal your horse. So it’s a natural idea to get safety in the form of a U-lock. This U-lock is about the size of a door and goes around your horse to keep it safely secured in a stable (bike rack). But sadly, the thieves are wily and have developed a method of splicing animals together. They no longer need your entire horse and are simply content to steal it’s back legs which are then kept in storage until next needed. Just a warning that although the honorcode makes sure no Caltech member will take unfair advantage of another, people from off campus do frequently steal bikes, occasionally taking them apart and stealing just wheels. Curiously, the back wheel of my bike, and the front wheel of someone else with a very similar looking bike were stolen. Mystery Nut X now has a full set of wheels…So careful where you park.

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clubs

Modern Art is Weird. Also, Italian Food is Delicious.

We decided to take the scenic route to Lugano, the next city we were staying in. First, we took a train to Luzerne. We had an hour to kill before our boat ride across the lake, so we stopped by a modern art museum e that had some weird exhibits and some really weird exhibits. There were a few that we just thought were stupid, but a few were pretty cool. One we really liked was a room with two guys continuously painting the walls. One painting them white, the other painting them black.

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research

Poas Volcano!!!

We had one free day in San Jose, so we decided to leave the city and head to the most visited national park in Costa Rica, Poas Volcano.

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clubs

Exploring Bern, the capital of Switzerland!

This morning, we planned to take the train to Bern, the capital of Switzerland, this day, but since all shops and restaurants are closed on Sundays, we were in no hurry to leave Lauterbrunnen. We decided to hike to Staubbachfall, which is the waterfall above the town. At night, the waterfall is light from behind so the cascading water is visible. Thus, Staubbachfall is actually more visible at night than during the day becuase the mist from the waterfall is also light up at night. Stuabbachfall is a 297m high single drop waterfall. Apparently, the frirst measurement of Staubbach Waterfall was carried out in July 1776 by a geometrist Johann Samuel Wyttenback. He used a team of helpers with rope and after ascending the mountain to the top of the waterfall, he tried to let the rope down. However, he had underestimated the height of the waterfall and so the villagers had to collect pieces of rope and knot them together in order for the length of the rope to be measured.

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culture

Los Ticos

To practice our Spanish and experience local culture, we stayed in host families in Cedros. I stayed in a host family with Meghana, an awesome frosh on the Y trip.

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clubs

A Day in the Life of a Caltech Athlete

At an academically oriented university such as Caltech, we probably spend more time with schoolwork here than at other places. But this is not to say that it’s all we do. Roughly one-fourth of Caltech undergrads participate in an intercollegiate sport, and I plan on playing soccer and tennis all four years. With tennis in season, a typical day for me still looks similar to one of a typical Caltech student. If I wakeup early enough, I’ll grab some breakfast from open kitchen before class. The kitchens are open to get food 7-11am, then 3-7pm. My favorite part about it is the berries. Everyday they provide blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries, and I love berries! There is also a toast/bagel station with jars of different spreads, juice, milk, Chobani yogurt, and other fruit like bananas. So anyways, depending on the day, I’ll have one or two classes starting at 10am. In high school, ten seemed super late because we would have already had three classes by then. But it’s a lot different now.

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research

The A in ASB

Of course, our alternative spring break trip would not have been complete without our service project. Our volunteer project was at Hogar Crea Damas, a rehabilitation program for women in Costa Rica. The program works with people coming from domestic violence situations, drug additions, and a variety of other histories, and attempts to help them reshape their lives. Hogar Crea has homes around Costa Rica. We worked at the one in Tres Rios, a small mountain town half an hour from San Jose.

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culture

A picture's worth a thousand words?

Over the past couple of months, I’ve accumulated a couple of photos on my phone from a range of events. And here they are! Every term each house has formal dinner. It’s like a house dinner, but we typicallydress up and the food is much better than that from usual dinner.

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Cookie Dough FroYo

Today I enjoyed the products of yesterday’s labor! I introduce:

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Spanish Movies

**

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culture

Pura Vida

After a long flight, we’re finally in Costa Rica!!!

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clubs

ASB-Yosemite

For the first part of spring break, I went on an ASB trip to Yosemite with a bunch of Techers (undergrad and grad). We did a bunch of out-door community service and hiked around various trails in Yosemite. It was wonderful. We were the first group for the 2013 season (it’s winter until end of March), so we got to start off by cleaning the campsites before it opened. This meant going around and picking up bits of trash, brushing the picnic tables and metal food containers of any dust and leaves. We picked up trash for the first and third day of our stay there, and we picked up so much trash! Now, there were occasional plates, spoons, sandals, and plastic bags. But kinds of trash I picked up the most were cigarette buds, pieces of foil, Capri Sun straws, bottle caps, and the bread-bag ties. Little things we might drop while munching on our sandwich or stuff we fail to pick up when the wind blows over the picnic table. But these pieces of trash not only make these common areas look dirty, animals eat them as well! That was so saddening! If we were not to be extra cautious, we could be littering and increasing the chances of putting jagged pieces of foil inside the stomachs of these animals! Second day was a bit more different than our first or last day of community service. We were relocating chopped up lumber from one site to the other. It was hard work, but with successful team work, we prevailed! Apparently, the park service uses trees that needs to be discarded (whether it be trees that needed to be removed, etc.) and provides them to their volunteers for firewood. Now, I thought that was a very odd thing to do, until the volunteer coordinator explained to us that they want to discourage people from bringing in trees far away from Yosemite to ensure non-native fungi will not be introduced to the forest! I learned and experienced so many things on this trip. It definitely made my spring break fantastically exciting. Yosemite was simply breathtaking. I do think I will definitely come back sometime in the future. There were beautiful waterfalls, great trails, great views, and cute animals. Seeing this entire amazing wilderness with people and cars coming back and forth, I feel recharged to start my next (and last!) term at Tech. I don’t know how, but I would definitely love to help find ways to help the environment (I’m thinking alternative energy, etc.). Though for now, I’m going to stick to what I know: saving electricity, water, and recycling plastic/glass.

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research

Organized Chaos

Hi all! My name’s Rachel, and I’m a sophomore in Electrical Engineering here at Caltech. Throughout the course of this blog, I hope to share with you a few of my experiences here.

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What's ASB?

Hola! I’m Katja, a junior chem major.

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Gender Neutral Night

**

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Hello Again!

It’s been a while since I last blogged, and it feels good to be back! First off, I’d like to congratulate the regular decision admitted students. If admissions accepts you, that means you can handle the workload. So don’t worry about it! I was intimidated by the academic rigor of this school before I came as well. Hopefully you all come to PFW; it’s a ton of fun!

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Little Shop of Horrors

So, it turns out my friends are pretty talented. I mean, everyone here is pretty talented. But, some of my friends (and some awesome other students, Caltech and JPL employees, and other community members) are really talented in the acting/singing/dancing department. Last weekend, I went to go see Caltech’s (EXPLICIT)’s spring musical, Little Shop of Horrors. Every year, they put on one play and one musical, and anyone in the Caltech community, including students, JPL employees, and professors, can audition and be a part of one of the productions. This year’s production of LIttle Shop of Horrors featured my friend (who went on Birthright with me!) Jeff Sherman as Seymour, the lead. Holly, a JPL employee played Audrey, and Alex Jose (also on the Birthright trip) was Orrin, the Dentist.

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clubs

Iron Chef Caltech

Every spring break, I spend my time doing these oh-so-productive activities:

  1. Sleep for 12 hours a day.
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research

New Horizons for Pluto

I reference my SURF topic in my post about SURF proposals, but I thought I’d elaborate more on what I’ll be doing here, while I wait for April 1 to hear whether my proposal has been accepted.

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research

The Classic Swiss High-Alpine Hike

When we got up in the morning, the clouds had cleared and we could see a light dusting of snow all over the mountains. Today, we decided to do part of the classic Swiss high-Alpine hike of the Bernese Alps, which leads from First to the Faulhorn summit (2670m above sea level) to Schynige Platte (2068m) via Berghaus Manndlenen. Along the way, the stunningly scenic views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains with the turquoise-blue waters of Lake Brienz shimmering deep down in the valley were heralded as a must-see! In the wintertime, there is a World Cup ski-cross course on First above Grindelwald.

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clubs

A Day at the Santa Anita Race Track

On Saturday, my house had a social event at the Santa Anita Race Track. If you’re not familiar with the Santa Anita Race Track, it is the race track at which Seabiscuit raced. It was a beautiful day, about 80 degrees out, and we had a great time.

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More Celebrations!

Last Friday was Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (IGED) hosted by the Caltech Society of Women Engineers (SWE). The name is pretty self-explanatory, but we basically introduce high school girls to what engineering and science is like through lab tours, demonstrations, design contest, and more. As historian, I took photos during the design contest, in which the girls were given some materials to construct a structure that could hold to most weight (books). I think the girls had fun and hopefully some of them will put some serious thought into becoming scientists or engineers someday.

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culture

VDay Brunch and CNY Hot Pot

So this past Sunday, the men of Avery made brunch for all the ladies. Tom Mannion hosted the event at his house. The guys made omlettes, eggs benedict, hash browns, and quiches. There were also croissants, bagels, and fresh fruit. Our frosh UCC Saurabh also came back to visit, so that was a nice surprise. He’s working for SIG in Philly now as a trader. I believe that the UCC/house system here at Caltech truly makes this small community feel like a family. Saurabh always took us on frosh walk and talks, and made sure each of us were doing well. Now as a junior, I try to do the same unofficially by walking around the house when taking a break from sets and talking to all the frosh I didn’t get to meet last term while abroad. The class of 2016 is pretty cool, and I can’t wait to meet all you prospective prefrosh in April for Prefrosh Weekend (PFW)! :)

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clubs

Celebrate Valentine's Day, the Fleming Way

As the recently elected Social Chairman of Fleming House, I am in charge of organizing weekend social events for Fleming. This past weekend we had a Valentine’s dress dinner, for which Tom Mannion cooked. If you haven’t heard of Tom Mannion, his official title is Senior Director for Student Activities and Programs, but we like to call him the Senior Director for Student Happiness because that’s exactly what he does. He’s also an outsanding cook and the instructor for the cooking class that I’m currently taking.

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culture

Rainy Day Hike of Lauterbrunnen Valley to the Phenomenal Trummelbach Falls

When we woke up in the morning, dark grey clouds hung over the Lauterbrunnen valley and obscured the sunlight. It began raining soon after we went to the CO-OP supermarket for a quick breakfast of bread and cheese. We decided it would be the perfect opportunity to hike along the valley and to see the Trummelbach falls, which are a series of ten glacier waterfalls. The rain picked up very quickly and my water resistant jacket became insufficient. We stopped by a local store and I had to buy an very large blue poncho to shield against the persistently pelting rain.

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High Particle Physics and the United Nations

Today Carly and I got up early to go on a fascinating up close tour of CERN, which is also know as the European Organization for Nuclear Research. (The acronym CERN actually comes from the French name for the particle physics lab:Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire.) We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to get an insider view of CERN byJavier Duarte and Alex Mottof Caltech Professor Maria Spiropulu’s experimental particle physics group. We had read about the research and facility in the news and seen pictures, but we were definitely very excited to get a firsthand look especially in light of the recent Higgs-Boson discovery. We first met with Javier who drove us across CERN to Point 5. It took us approximately 15-20 minutes just to drive across CERN and we were impressed with how large the instrument actually is in real life, as part of it lies in France.

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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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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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