research

The Home Stretch

This is it! I am down to the last couple of days of my internship.

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research

IT'S ALIVE. IT'S ALIIIIIVE!

My code is working. My code is working. AWESOME.

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clubs

A day for the ladies

Hey y’all! This past weekend, I attended the Schlumberger Women & Technology Conference in Sugarland, Texas. It was a day of networking with other women in the company, learning about the opportunities women have within their careers at Schlumberger, touring themanufacturing facilities and eating lots of food! One of my favorite parts of the day was being able to look around this huge wireline truck they had brought for us. I couldn’t help but jump into the driver’s seat!

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research

At the Beach

On Saturday, I went surfing! Max, Sly, Andrew, Erin, John, and I all headed down to Bolsa Chica beach in the morning (I’m told that it means “Bag Lady” in Spanish, but it’s a really nice surfing beach, especially for beginners). We assumed it would be warm, so none of us brought wetsuits. There were a few tense moments when we first got there, as the sun was behind a cloud and it was freezing cold (Erin had to huddle under some towels), but it warmed up soon.

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research

Safety... more than just a formality

Last night, I had to go back to lab after dinner in order to take out some samples from incubation. However, while I was walking to my building, I noticed a lot of lights, and a fire truck parked on the street. As I got closer, I saw two more fire trucks, and a bunch of people standing outside my building. There had been a fire in one of the labs. After talking to a few of the people standing outside, I found out that the fire had been in MY lab. I got to see the breadth of the damage this morning:

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research

Overwhelmed

This past Wednesday, I sat down with my project manager to explain how to use the mathcad tool I had made and in what ways the rest of the group could use it.As I was explaining it to him, I realized that there was a way to make it more user-friendly if it was somehow converted into a calculator program of some sort. Isaid that the calculator should be able togenerate models, graphs and identify important relations and results–all with a few inputs and the click of a button.Itwould take a lot of the nitty-gritty work out of actually understanding what the mathcad tool spat out—but it would be a pretty intricate code. At first, my manager said that it might be overly ambitious for me to accomplish with the very limited time I had left and all the other stuff I had on my plate. He said that it would be somewhat unfair to ask this of me. But before I blinked, or realized how much time it would cost me—I insisted it would not take too much of my time, and that I could have it up and working by the end of the week. As I walked back to my hexicle, sheer panic began to come over me. I had just committed to coding a new program in the midst of everything else. Already on my to-do list is my end of internship project review, exit interview with the recruiters and an engineering report write-up. Needless to say, I felt extremely overwhelmed.

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research

It's August already?!?!

—That means only two more weeks left with my internship in Houston—and then I head out to Guatemala! I’m so excited! But first things first…

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research

Trip to Mt. Wilson

Monday evening was time for a field trip! Varoujan Gorjian and Tim Thompson, who hang out at the summer astronomy student coffee breaks (and do their parts to make them happen at all!), led an excursion up to Mt. Wilson. A few cars of people drove up, and then Tim was kind enough to lead us around. He’s trained as a tour guide up there, and he has keys to a bunch of the telescopes, so we got to see lots of stuff.

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research

Cube-farm Highlights

It’s the middle of the week, and I find myself having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning for work. I have finally adjusted to a normal sleep schedule… I even wake up a minute or two before my alarm goes off–unfortunately, I automatically wake up early on the weekends too!

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research

Light Lab Soldering and Hermann Park

Hey y’all!

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research

Guess who's back with a brand new track...

And here I thought that life with a 9 to 5 job could never be as busy as Tech!!! Maybe that’s because it’s uh… NOT a 9 to 5 job anymore. So my project is so close to being finished (kind of). I’ve basically learned everything I need to know, and written all the little parts of code I’ll need, la dee da… Now it’s time to streamline everything! Here’s the thing: the level set routines that I’ve been using are all made for a matrix mesh that is oriented a certain way… If you want a point (x,y) on the level set, you just just take the (i,j)th component of the matrix and multiply by dx,dy repsectively… Well for the finite element routines, BLEH it’s made so that the rows are different y values, so to get (x,y) you have to call the (j,i)th element. And there’s no sense of length associated with the finite element routine; so the analysis is dependent on making sure the mesh is discretized with an element aspect ratio of 1… Otherwise the computation just looks…. nasty… Too bad… So it sounds easy, but it actually turns out that there are many subroutines that have been written with one context or the other, so we can’t just “flip” or transpose the mesh because other things will get very sad. So that’s what I’m trying to figure out right now! :) IN OTHER NEWS :)Continuing from where I left off! So the rest of the weekend with Sarah was incredible! On Saturday evening, her two aunts (sweetest ladies EVER!) had us over for dinner! It was great: we started off with snacks and if you recall, I mentioned earlier that aperatif is both an appetizer as well as a liquor drink… Well when they offered me an aperatif I just assumed they were talking about appetizers… But they actually offered me a drink called crema mandorla, which is an aged combo of almond extracts and Marsala wine… To be polite I drank it and it was rather sweet, so naturally I loved it! I told them I would need to memorize the name of it so I could maybe one day enjoy it again… (REMEMBER THIS LITTLE PART OF THE BLOG)…

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research

Lunch with a Caltech Alum!

Hey y’all!

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academics

TGIF...seriously

I am not going to sugarcoat it—this past week at work was beyond intense…and my brain officially hurts.

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research

Paris continues to be AWESOME.

Well as always, it has been a WHILE :) So where to start…

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research

A better enzyme... possibly?

I finally have some good news! Even though my initial screen of the 3000 mutants did not yield any improvement, my secondary screen with 1600 mutants ended up going much better. I got a mutant that gave me 37% better performance than my parent (original) enzyme, and a couple of other that were in the 20s in percentage improvement.

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research

A well-deserved weekend of FUN!

After working so hard during this past week, I was definitely looking forward to the weekend. And to make things even better, I also received my first paycheck! Before spilling all the details of my action-packed weekend, I’ll speak a little bit about my project at work. I have been assigned to work on a new pressure compensation system technology and face seal for the completions tool. So far, I’ve been working on understanding the theoretical part and writing code for a general mathematical model of the system. It’s pretty interesting stuff :)

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research

My project is getting awesome et al. :D

WELL HELLO! HOLY TOLEDO ARE THINGS GETTING AWESOME :D Why don’t I just start with something which I have amazingly not yet even mentioned on here: courir :D (English translation: running). For those of you that don’t know, I run at Caltech, and not only when I’m late for classes! I actually participate in cross country and track, sports I’ve been doing since 7th grade (almost 8 years of this stuff GEEZ times goes fast)… Anyway… so last summer I had your typical fair share of monkey attacks while running on trails in the Hong Kong mountainside; nothing AS exciting so far at Ecole Polytechnique (however, I did see something like a weasel or ferret on my run last night, which was fun for me because I would actually love to adopt a little mammal like that)… Anyway, how could I get so lucky to figure out my living situation and even find a great place to stay in shape as well! :D I mentioned that massive hill that one must scale to get to Ecole Polytechnique, so I actually use that as part of my workouts! It’s hard enough to walk up let alone run up, but we runners understand that great :) feeling when you finally get to the top after ironically telling yourself the entire climb “don’t look up, don’t look up” :D

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research

Who says it takes 3 weeks?

I’m coming up on 3 weeks now since I’ve relocated to Texas for my internship. I recently remembered reading somewhere that it takes roughly 3 weeks to adjust to a new environment, routine or habit. I guess I’m an exception to that rule since I have not completely adjusted to my new job and life in Houston. (well I guess I’ve only really been here 2 weeks, since I was generously given a week off-paid vacation) In light of this, I have listed 5 things that I am still trying to get used to (in no particular order)

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local

Sayonara Suckers!

That’s what most seniors keep saying to underclassmen in the last week of the spring term, but in all honestly I will miss Caltech. My advice to those of you here and coming here in the fall: always remember to enjoy your college life. You know you are only going to have it once and this was something I did not fully realize and take advantage of until my junior year. Remember to work hard and play hard and you will make the most of your experience here. I don’t know if anyone actually read this blog over the course of my sporadic posts. I was much better at this when I was in Scotland. Who knew senior year could be so hard up until the end? I hope that if you have read what I have written, take advantage of the town. Visit the beautiful things like the Huntington Gardens (remember to pre-register for the monthly free student day) and when you are old enough, have a night out on the town in Old Pas, there are some clubs and bars there too. While it might not be Hollywood or the glamorous Los Angeles, it is time away from the academic stress of Caltech. Good Luck to you all and remember to have fun time too. Don’t just pull all-nighters for sets! If you have any questions on anything I have written about or other things to do in Pasadena, don’t hesitate to email me, I would love to hear from you. All the best, Angela P.S. Don’t forget to carry a camera around to capture the memories you make in the next few years. I know I regret not doing it more.

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research

Sometimes... things just don't work out

You might have guessed from the title of my post that I don’t have very good news. I told you last time how I’ve picked 3000 colonies. After the colonies got a chance to grow in media, the released enzymes in the supernatant were suspended in solution with our substrate. You might remember (or even if you don’t, I’ll recap) that when I was looking for the best mutation rate, I had 400 mutants, 100 each representing a different mutant. I had done a sugar assay to determine which mutation rate that I wanted. I kind of skimmed over that process, but I’ll go into more detail now.

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local

If you've got no car, what else can you do?

The main problem with having to car in CA, especially the LA area, is that it is really hard to get anywhere. You can’t really go to Hollywood and you can’t answer the questions your friends from high school ask about “living in LA”. I’ve given a few things for you to do while you are in Pasadena and I hope that you will check some of them out in your four years here. The last two main places I would like to talk about in this blog are the Gamble House and the Norton Simon Museum, two places you can check out easily on the ARTS bus or a long walk. Both are beyond Old Pas, but if you take the bus all the way to the end of Old Town, the walk is really short. The Gamble HouseYou may be thinking, what do I care about some random person’s house. That is what I thought my sophomore year when my friends asked me if I wanted to go visit it with them. Most people may know it more as Doc’s House from the film* Back to The Future*. Yup! There are a bunch of houses that were designed in by the Greenes in Pasadena, and this is the most famous. If you are interested in architecture, it is a good place to go. When I visited, we mostly just walked around the outside and browsed the wayyy to expensive gift shop without buying anything. They do tours, but it is only Thurs. through Sun. I can’t remember if we missed the tour, or were just unwilling to pay. Honestly, for us it was just the novelty of seeing “Doc’s House” and for the amount they were charging, you could probably get into a pretty decent museum for a day. For us, it was enough to just wander around the outside of the house. It was a nice day and we just sat around the house and wandered the backyard. Here are some pictures.

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research

Awesome adventures...

Hey guys! I know it’s been a while (almost a week!) since I put something up and that’s just because I’ve been UBER BUSY @_@ :D So let me begin with a quick little tidbit about our lab BBQ; this happens once every year for the CMAP lab (CMAP stands for (in French) the Center for Applied Math). This BBQ was next to the lake that is on the Ecole Polytechnique campus and had so much food I had no idea where to start. People were encouraged to bring something to share (and I really wanted to help out) but there is no supermarket on campus at Ecole Polytechnique; not even a little convenience store! And it’s not like one can just go to a grocer next door. Nope. To get groceries you have to first walk to the edge of campus, then walk down about 300 steps and the go a distance to find a market in Palaiseau (which is the town Ecole Polytechnique is in) and then you have to march up those 300 stairs again… Obviously I was not going to have time or energy to do so! (BTW what is it with me and gawd-awful inclines? Last year in Hong Kong I lived at the bottom of one of the most tortuous hills you could ever imagine… And I ran in a nature preserve that was like a collection of the meanest mountains you’d ever run on!)

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Picking colonies... two days of fun!

So, before I get too far, I should probably backtrack a bit and get you guys up to speed. I’ve already talked about how we decided which mutant library to use; we used the one that had a slightly higher mutation rate than the average, but one that wasn’t so high that we killed off a bunch of enzymes. However, you’ll probably remember that we only had modeled each library with 100 mutants each. In order to really get a better enzyme though, it was important to represent the library with more mutants.

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culture

Maryland and Virginia Beach Vacation

I’m back in Houston after spending a fun and relaxing week in Maryland and Virginia Beach. :) On my first day there, I celebrated my cousin’s graduation at this huge party with relatives and friends. The night was filled with dining, dancing and catching up with family.

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clubs

Techers in Te(ch)-xas!

Including myself, there are also two other Techers that are interning here in Houston with Schlumberger. Here I am pictured with Stassy and Joules, outside of the intern orientation and training days we completed this week. All 3 of us are rising seniors at Caltech majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Joules works in a different Schlumberger center across town, and stays in a different housing location. Stassy and I both work in SRC, and live two doors away from one another.

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Progress... even in the face of mishaps

I found an ice bucket on a nearby bench. I asked the owner of the bench if it would be okay for me to use it. Getting the okay, I began to pick up the ice bucket. At first glance, it seemed like it was empty. However, upon closer inspection, I realized that it had some melting ice. Right then, my clumsiness decided to kick in, and the bucket slipped out of my hands. The papers and equipment on that bench got drenched, and I made a huge mess. On top of everything, I almost ruined someone’s computer.

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Hexicles, Texas BBQ and Thunderstorms

The design of the office I work in is so different from any other office I have seen…it’s so hip, trendy and modern! The interior decorating is almost straight out of an IKEA catalog; there are colorful couches, walls, carpets and artwork throughout the building. In addition to the office being space efficient and pristine-looking, there is a sophisticated “loft look” to it with red brick walls and industrial ceiling. There is so much natural light throughout the office since we have many huge windows that overlook either the pond or the endless rice fields outside. The facilities within the building I work in also includes numerous kitchens, lounges conference rooms, a fully equipped gym (which I will definitely be using) and a relaxation room (a private room where you can take a nap!). I still can’t get over how beautiful and state of the art everything is—it truly makes the office an enjoyable environment to work in, and the amenities makes me feel slightly pampered and spoiled.

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research

FINALLY LIVING AT ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE o_O

WELL GEEZ Have I had a crazy week! I believe last time I chatted with you kids it was around when I got my haircut last Saturday. Well I promised I would tell you all about the music festival, so here we go!

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research

Raw Engineering

A funny thing happened to me this morning at the office…

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culture

The SRC mirage

Hey Y’all! So, I’ve begun work at Schlumberger and there is so much to say.

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research

Settling in...

One week down! My gawd it's gone by fast; but at the same time really slowly... weird. Anyway, I guess I'll start with just some typical stuff before I move on to the highlights...

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local

Post-Graduation activities

A good thing about being a senior graduating is that all of your family and friends think it’s a huge deal. I suppose it is…but it’s nice to have other people get excited on your behalf. My friend Sam from Westpoint Military Academy flew out here and we went to Disneyland with my parents, sister, Lea (another Caltech grad) and aunt, which was a lot of fun! Obviously only one of us has Disney spirit…

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local

Traveling to Texas & my apartment!!

Howdy Y’all! I just got into Houston, Texas after a hectic day of traveling from Pasadena.

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academics

Graduation is done!!

That was at the senior banquet the night before graduation. Then came the big morning! Steven Chu’s speech was great, he made it really funny while still talking about some agricultural and scientific approaches to renewable energy. He said the word “nerd” a lot, but it was funny. I got to sit between two of my very good friends, purely by chance, because we sat alphabetically and their last names are Kunesh and Kramer. So it was really fun! And the weather was great, it sprinkled a little bit but it was cloudy and cool. I was SO scared it would be hot, like it has been the last few years, but it was perfect.

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Caltech... in PARIS!?

Bonjour. Je m’appelle Antoine et– WELCOMEWelcome to my “As it’s a happening one” blog. I’m going to give you guys a little preview into the world of Caltech intellectual offerings and opportunities, specifically some insight concerning my current summer research experience in France at École Polytechnique.

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academics

DONE

I’m done with all my work!!! Well, I do have some grading to do for Ge1. That’s only going to take a couple of hours though…and I don’t have ANY OTHER WORK to rush home to do. I guess no excuses to leave the grading room anymore…darn? Friday was so great. I turned in my thesis to my advisor Professor Cindy Weinstein at 2:55pm, then went to a Blogger bakery session which was really delicious! Chocolate cake and cookies, for blogger appreciation :) I hope you all liked us, it was the first time we all got together at Admissions, and we talked about the program - definitely let us know if you all have any suggestions! Then I went to my house (Page) at 5pm for a class picture and Sparkling Apple Cider celebration for the end of term, yay! Tom Mannion’s dinner was at 6:30 and boy were we hungry…that menu I posted proved to be just as delicious as I thought it would be. Pictures of the food are below, look at that extremely classy (and totally edible, even the ink!!) dessert!

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culture

Ditch Day! It happened!!

Ever wanted to be a member of the CIA or KGB? Do you like PIRATES? Or maybe you prefer anime.

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culture

Reunion and Ditch Day

One of the cool things about Caltech is our waited dinners. For breakfast and lunch you go to a station and order what you want they make it for you and you sit in the dinning hall with whoever happens to be eating at that moment. For dinner though everyone in the house eats at the same time and gets served by student waiters. The food quality is not as good as lunch (where we eat with the professors!) but the dinner traditions make up for it. You’ll have to wait until you get here to learn most of them, but one that most of the houses have is called floating. Floating is the punishment for breaking rule during dinner (such as hitting a waiter with cheesecake) and entails getting a pitcher of water dumped over your head. Here’s a picture of floating from our alumni reunion.

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shooting animals... of the 2D variety

One of the fun things you can do in Pasadena, if you can drag yourself out of bed at 8am on a Saturday morning, is head down to the archery range. The Pasadena Roving Archers is a club in Pasadena that has an outdoor range and on Saturdays they have beginner classes. The nice thing is that if it is your first time, then the lesson is free. It is $5 after that, but free if you are a club member, and as a college student it is only $15, well worth the investment. I’ve had difficulty dragging people down to the range with me to have some fun because most people are unwilling to get up that early in the morning. It is a really fun thing to do on a Saturday morning, but some advice if you decide to go. The equipment that they lend out for beginners in the Saturday class runs out pretty quickly and it is first come first serve, so you should get there at 8.20am or so to make sure you get into the class. For Thanksgiving, there is also a turkey shoot, where first place takes home a turkey, second a chicken and third bacon. I took my stack there for my Robin Hood Ditch Day stack and got them a small private lesson with one of my coaches. Be sure to check it out! The funny thing about my senior year is that I actually wake up earlier on the weekends than on the weekdays for classes. Since I picked up archery, I’ve had to wake up at 8am to go to the archery range on Saturday mornings for coaching and on Sunday mornings for general shoots. Yes, I wake up that early, even when I have been partying at until 2am in the morning. The prime example of this is this past weekend. A group of students managed to organize a party this past Saturday where we had DJ Earworm come down from San Francisco to DJ a party. You may recognize him from his mashup, the United State of Pop.

Anyway, to get back on topic, after the massively awesome party, I had to crawl out of bed at 8am to go down to the range. It was a special day because there was a 2D animal round, where I was shooting picture of animals. Somehow this is supposed to simulate hunting. It was a pretty fun experience, since most of the shooting I have experience with is at target faces. I was shooting a bit blind because I just got new arrows this week and did not have sight markings for them. As a result, I was happy to hit the bonus spot in the “kill” zone of this deer. I think this was the from around 47 yards or so.

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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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