research

A different kind of education

First, some administrative business. I made the grave error of calling Kip Thorne “a friend of Prof. Hawking.” I need to add more detail. Let me say “colleague and long-time collaborator” along with “friend” to relieve my conscience.

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research

ASB Day 4

Today, we woke up at the crack of dawn for our final day of ASB in San Diego. We were excited for our shift to help rebuild a low-income family house in El Cajon with Habitat for Humanity.

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Food, glorious food!

First, some administrative business. Caltech’s regular decisions have come out already. For those of you accepted, welcome to the Class of 2016! I look forward to meeting you at CIAD/PFF/PFW during April. If I have any advice for PFW, don’t forget shower shoes, a towel, a sleeping bag (albeit my roommate and I have an extra mattress, but that’s because we are that awesome), AND your parents (they will be well-informed at PFW). Undergrad admissions has some fun stuff planned out, so you should definitely make the effort to come to the admit events.

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local

ASB Day 3

Today, we drove inland to Lakeside, which is almost near the desert to do a riverbed cleanup with the Lakeside's River Park Conservancy. We meet Monica, one of the Conservancy's wild life biologists at the trail and some other regular volunteers. Apparently, this area used to belong to the natives before they were moved to reservations and they had planted many edible plants that still grow to this day. This trail is frequented by members of the community: joggers, walkers and horseback riders. Thus, it was important to clear the plants that have overgrown the trail to ensure the safety of all those that use this popular trail.

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global

ASB Day 2

Today was the second day of San Diego ASB trip. When we were wary of the rain but this morning, we drove to Spanish landing of the San Diego Bay, which is the beach we adopted with the organization *I love a Clean San Diego*. *Adopt-a-beach* is nation wide program but is run in San Diego by I love a Clean San Diego. I had contacted and worked with the organization's volunteer coordinator beforehand and registered online, picking Spanish Landing as our beach to adopt.

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research

First Day of ASB in San Diego

Today was the first day of the our San Diego Alternative Spring break trip!We departed from Caltech super early at 7:30am in the morning to drive down to San Diego. We arrived to volunteer at the 23rd Annual Women's Resouce Fair at the San Diego Civic Center hosted by the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Programorganized annually by a Task Force made up of volunteers from the San Diego community. Even though the weather was gloomy and overcast, our spirits were high as we were eager to help out. We learned from Fair organizers that the fair provides a huge variety ofsocial, medical and legal services, as well as employment information and shelter referralsfor low-income, recovering, homeless and abusedwomen and their children. This wide spectrum of services is funded byLawyers Club of San Diego, the San Diego County Bar Association and the San Diego County Bar Foundation.

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research

It all ended with the big bang...

It has been a while since I put up my last blog, but you will probably understand why after this really long blog. So many things have been going on at Caltech, and in the lull of the reading period before finals, I can come out about everything.

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culture

Build ALL the Things

Whew, these past two weeks have been intense, without any time to write another blog. I suppose it’s necessary to write about why I haven’t been writing then! Mainly, it’s because Venerable’s interhouse party is this weekend and I have been helping as much as possible for the past two weeks (though not as much as one of the other freshmen, who has put in over 30 hours easily).The official theme now is Island Paradise, and together with the volcano, plane, hut, and all of the theme-provoking painted wallboards, we might get close to looking like an island. Construction has been working hard, and most things are up now, with two days to go. Here’s some pictures of the rough underbelly we’ve built for the party: First a picture from about a week ago:

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culture

A Tale of Two Parties

These last two days have been pretty intense. Friday was Avery Interhouse, so the house was scrambling to get stuff done, from cooking to construction and decoration.

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research

Cirque Du Soleil

Over this past weekend, the Master of Student Houses (MOSH) organized an trip to go see Cirque Du Soleil's show *OVO, *which played at the Santa Monica Pier in order to enhance and enrich student life here at Caltech.

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Love in the air FINAL

A belated Happy Valentine’s Day (or Singles Awareness Day) to everyone! Forgive me if I have a lot of bad puns throughout this blog, but Caltech can be quite the “romantic” place because of all the types of bonding that occur between different subsets of the population.

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academics

Hiking

I have never looked forward to relaxing on the weekend as much as I have here at Caltech. At the very least, without anything due the next day, Saturday is the day to just do nothing. This weekend since I had not been hiking, or even off-campus, for a long time, I decided to attend the Caltech Y trip with a few friends to see the monarch butterflies migrating in Santa Barbara and the wind caves in Gaviota. It was great to be able to relax and not care about any work (or midterms) I had coming up. Here’s a few pictures from the outing:

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research

The Un-Invited Topic

There seems to be a lack of academic subjects in my writing so for this blog I will indulge in complaining about the heavy work load I have at Caltech. In reality Caltech does not have to be extremely intense (you do still have to do quite a bit), but it is what you make of it. I’ll share my take on the load as I’m sure many of you may be wondering how things work at Caltech. To do this, I’ll begin by taking a look at my past week, but who knows where it’ll go from there.

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A Tale of Two C's in a Winter Wonderland!

Woohoo! Right now, it is winter break, which means school’s out!!! It feels great to bedone with exams and homework and have time to finally just relax! During the first few daysof break, I visited my good friend Carly in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. Some of youwho intimately follow these Caltech student blogs may know her from her blog about aresearch internship in South Korea this past summer. Both Carly and I have known each othersince freshman year as we both play the clarinet in the Caltech Occidental Concert band,have been on the Caltech swimming team and are on the Caltech waterpolo team together.Beyond our shared passion drinking of exquisite tea, we were also study and homeworkpartners for ACM95, which is an applied mathematics class many engineering majors take atCaltech; I would venture to say that we bonded over the triumphs and tears of many latenights working on problem sets.

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clubs

The Getty Villa

Often times, it's definitely worthwhile to venture outside of the Caltech campus and explore what the surrounding Los Angeles area has to offer. TheJ. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa in Malibu is definitely a gorgeous and must visted destination. The Getty Villa's most striking feature is not only the huge collection ofapproximately 44,000 works of art from the Museum's extensive collection of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities (over 1,200 are on view) but also the architecture and design.

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culture

Spring Festival

It's officially the year of the Dragon and what better way to celebrate than the annual Chinese Spring Festival Celebration Party hosted by the Caltech C right on the Caltech campus!! This event consists of a buffet style dinner with authentic Chinese dishes followed by a cultural performance showcasing the rich history and traditions of China through dancing, singing, skits, poetry, etc. to welcome in a new year.

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Birthdays!

I am sure every house has their own way of celebrating the birth of its members, but in Venerable we have this tradition where on the night before a person’s birthday we bake some cake or brownies for them, and then with as many people as are around we present it to them at 12 am. And last semester, my friend Sophie’s birthday was coming up so two of her friends (Corwin and Sue) and I decided to make a very interesting cake. The idea was to create a flower out of cupcakes, as seen below, which is **not **the one we made.

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Looking at the Itsy Bitsy (with lasers!!)

One of the central components of a Techer's life is usually and most likelyclasses (reality check!)*.*Most commonly perhaps, this invokes images of lecture style teaching with problem sets, reading and lectures.However, one of the classes I am super excited to be taking this term is my microscopy lab class titled "*Bi/BE 227. Methods in Modern Microscopy*". It is definitely different from my lecture classes because I can get to be hands-on using million dollar equipment to gain experience in confocal microscopy. Microscopy is definitely a widely used and extremely useful technique in lab research, as the improvement and use of microscopes has been essential to the progress and development of science.

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global

Beginning of Term and House Ski Trip

So somehow it worked out that I got back to Caltech on the same day that I started classes. I had arrived at the airport around 11:30 p.m. on January 3, but my shuttle didn’t drop me off until 1:30 am. It wasn’t too bad though, my first class started at 10 am so I was able to get a decent night’s sleep. And at least I wasn’t driving from Colorado- my friend Matt arrived around 4 in the morning after driving the whole day.

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culture

Fall Semester Reflection

Two hours ago I left the airport, and it felt like I was leaving for the first time again. With the trimester system, I won’t be home in Maryland for another six months. And my mom acted accordingly. Can it get more embarrassing than to have your mom call out to you and ask, “Are you sure you brought all your underwear honey?” That didn’t actually happen, but I did get the well-known hugs and kisses, which is really rather acceptable if you think about it.

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A Furious Flurry of Fun and our Final Field Trips

After spending a week in India hearing about it but having no formal conceptualization of what it meant, we had a talk addressing the elephant in the room: the caste system. Our speaker was Suguna Ramanathan, a mentor to Rita Kothari when she was a student and a Tamil Brahman from Tamilnardu. She spoke with the accent of a well-off British woman, though she claimed not to realize it when she was asked.

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Tournament of Roses

Happy New Year! I can't believe winter break is already over and classes here at Caltech are in full swing. School started this past Wednesday but I came back to Pasadena early with my family to see the world famous Rose Parade. This festival is definitely something that Pasadena is well known for and I figured it was worth seeing at least once during the four years I am here at Caltech. To my surprise, there were actually quite a few Techers who had also come back to school early in order to watch the parade and/or go to the Rose Bowl game. The Tournament of Roses consists of a parade that is just on East Colorado Blvd (about a 10 minute walk from the student Houses) and the Rose Bowl college game. It usually happens on New Year's Day but since it was a Sunday this year, the festivities were moved to a Monday, January 2. This year, the college football teams that were competing in the Rose Bowl were Wisconsin Badgers and Oregon Ducks.

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clubs

Marketing, Malls, Movies, and Village Life

Before I begin this post in earnest, I’d like to point out the effect of breakfast in limiting the amount of time that it takes me to get out of bed. Here in India, where I look forward to breakfast with a hunger that is rivaled only by my anticipation of the ends of terms, my wakeup time is practically negligible. I guess all I’m saying is that maybe I’d be *excited *to wake up early for classes if the Caltech Dining Services made it worth my while (hint, hint).

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clubs

On Being a Tourist and Celebrity in India

As a special treat, on the third day we got to wake up extra early to get prepped for a historical tour around the city of Ahmedabad. One of the coolest things about this city is that even the hundreds-of-years-old houses are still inhabited by real people. So, our historical walk was literally a walk around the partly residential the center of Ahmedabad, which is a stark agglomeration of the old and the new, the industrial mixed with the ancient.

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Monkey Mia and the Prince of Hutt River

Day 3 of the Western Australia tour was spent in Monkey Mia – a popular tourist spot famous for its bottlenose dolphins. These guys show up at the beach in the morning and whenever they feel like stopping by for free fish. Of all the dolphins in the area, only five of them, by now well known by the researchers on site, get a small snack so as to not mess too much with the local ecosystem.

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clubs

My Very own Cricket World Championship

On my first actual day in India, I drove past a man riding an elephant, ten to fifteen cows, and dozens of stray dogs. It was awesome.

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Sewing Lessons

I like a good graphic tee, and when I have a good one, I wear it, and then I wear it out. Usually, though, I do structural or staining damage to the shirt that makes it unwearable but does not affect the graphic itself, which is frustrating. I have this great graphic, but I can’t wear it… what’s a girl to do?

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Summer Travels in November - Perth

Hey y’all. Sorry it’s been a while. Between wrapping up the semester, a whirlwind of travels, limited internet, and coming back home, it’s been quite a busy month! Since my two final papers and exam were scheduled early in the examination period (which at UniMelb lasts for three weeks!), I had just over a month to spend travelling around Australia before heading back home. I hopped from Melbourne to Western Australia to Cairns, back to Melbourne to reset, over to New Zealand with my friends Holly and Maddi, back to Melbourne, and then up to the Outback with Holly for the final adventure. Not the most efficient route (grab a map and you’ll understand why), but it was the only way to do it considering that no one finished up with exams as early as I did.

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clubs

Happy Christmas!

I thought I had covered all the basic British holiday features in my recent post- wrong! I went out to Christmas dinner with the lacrosse team (we’re number one in the league!) today and learned a few new things.

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A long, eventful plane ride

I live in Rochester, NY, a city that has a winter climate about as extreme as Pasadena’s is mild. It’s the kind of town that provides plenty of things for teenagers to do, but only if they get a little creative and have access to a car.

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culture

No Time For Cameras

This past weekend, I decided to completely forget about my finals (forgive my minor aneurysm, Tech!) and go to a concert in San Diego featuring Matt & Kim and Two Door Cinema Club.

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global

Natural History Museum

I went to the Natural History Museum and was reminded of a widely recognized fact: mini and giant versions of animals are way cooler than the regular sized versions. The natural history museum has the bodies of pygmy: shrews, bats, and marmosets,giant: sloths and armadillos (5 feet tall!), and the very tiny ancestor to the modern horse. An utterly fantastic collection.

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global

ATTENTION

This weekend was my second to last in London and it was one I was particularly looking forward to because I saved a most special treat. I saved, you guessed it, THE DOCTOR WHO EXPERIENCE. For those of you who have not had the great honor of watching Doctor Who before today, please, do yourself a favor: stop reading and go watch it. Everyone else may continue reading.

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culture

Epicsgiving

This year, I celebrated Thanksgiving in the nearby city of El Segundo with my boyfriend and a couple of other Caltech alumni. We had been preparing for weeks, even christening the event “Epicsgiving” to properly relate just how much we were planning to celebrate. Indeed, when the day came, we had already made several dishes beforehand just so there would be enough room in the oven to make everything else! In light of this, please enjoy an extremely picture-heavy post full of silly and/or delicious moments.

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Day trip to Bath

My class was cancelled on Friday, so I jetted (actually, trained) off to the beautiful city of Bath. When I was doing my pre-trip research I was surprised to find that the whole city is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, but once I got there I was no longer surprised. It totally makes sense that such a beautiful place should be cherished and protected!

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Neuroscience Lab

As an individual with perfectly adequate vision, I’ve been fascinated with the idea of how people with astigmatism, long- and short-sightedness, and color-blindness view the world. This fascination is by no means unique, in fact it’s almost cliché. Many of the people in my class ‘Structure and Function of the Nervous System’ were very excited about our lab on vision this week because it included sections on how those with regular vision can try to perceive the world with astigmatism or color-blindness.

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Cooking on Campus

I have already posted about cooking off-campus and mentioned that I feel it is superior to cooking on campus. However, this does mean that cooking on campus is impossible. Occasionally something really awesome happens in an on-campus kitchen. If we’re lucky, it happens regularly. We are very, very lucky this year.

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global

Graffiti

While at UCL I’ve been doing a lot more walking than I ever do at Caltech. To keep myself entertained on these walks I listen to music and people watch, but my favorite pass time is to spot graffiti. Frequently it’s very obvious (like in the picture below), but there are lots of little pieces higher up on buildings that are easy to miss if you’re not looking for it specifically. London and Paris are both covered in graffiti and some of it is actually very good. Easy to recognize pieces are those by Bansky, Shepard Fairey (of President Obama poster fame), and Space Invader.

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clubs

Fall Break in Paris!

On a short fall break from class those of us from Caltech studying at UCL (Megan, Annie, Lei, and I) spent a few days in Paris! It was simply too temptingly close to London to pass up the opportunity! Getting to Paris was simply a matter of a couple hour train ride.

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Bellevue in Brief

Hello! Today I just made my way back from the NYU Langone School of Medicine, located in theeast side of Manhattan overlooking the East River. My host’s apartment was at 1st and 26th, which basically means there’s plenty to do no matter which direction you turn. Not to mention the medical school and associated hospitals (including the famous Bellevue Hospital) are just a few blocks away: definitely a plus in the midst of an East Coast blizzard!

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Biologists have more fun

Lucky for this biology major, on my walk to class everyday I pass the Grant Museum of Zoology, home to 67,000 animal specimens. It’s a curious, curious place. I popped in the other day and this is what I saw:

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Spotlight


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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