research

So you think you can handle Tech?

Hi everyone! Sorry that this week’s entry is a little late; work was rough this week. I had a problem set (we just call them sets for short) due for a class called EE114 on Monday. EE114 is an analog circuit design class (you can find the course description here ). It’s taught by that wonderful man on the right side of the page, Dr. Ali Hajimiri. Professor Hajimiri is easily one of the best professors I have had at Caltech, and as you would expect his class is very well taught. Unfortunately, his class is also very difficult. Last weekend, our class’s problem set was worse than usual. Due to my other responsibilities and time spent avoiding them, I didn’t really get to start on the set until Sunday at about noon. I finished the set on Monday at 4:30pm (30 minutes before the due time). In that 28 hour period, I got less than an hour of sleep and was able to eat about two meals. That sounds really bad, but there is a positive side. For one, I wasn’t alone–we had something like ten to fifteen students working on this set together in Sherman Fairchild Library, and there’s some sort of bonding experience that accompanies a grueling set like this one. I still remember our collective groans as the sun began to peek through the library windows, with the end of our sets nowhere in sight. Another positive was that the set was reasonably interesting and challenging; it wasn’t mindless grunge work. Even knowing this, you might still wonder why I do it.

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clubs

The ShakeOut and the Swim Meet

A few days ago, I had a gross imitation of a protruding bone glued to my forehead, a gash drawn on my arm, and fake blood dripping all over my face and arm. No, I wasn’t celebrating Halloween a couple of weeks late, I was a volunteer victim in the Great Southern California ShakeOut Earthquake Drill at Caltech. At 10 am on November 13, the Fleming Cannon was fired to signal the start of an earthquake of magnitude 7.8, and participants on campus were encouraged to respond as if there was a real earthquake.

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global

Life in Copenhagen

When I come to study abroad in Copenhagen, I experienced a huge change in my lifestyle. My normal weekly routines that I was used to did not fit into the Danish way of life, and I had to adapt to a more European lifestyle. One major change was that I was no longer constricted to a single university campus (like in Caltech). The University of Copenhagen is located in the City Centre, and has multiple campuses for each of the departments. Contrary to what I was used to, these campuses consist only of classroom buildings and libraries. Unlike colleges in the US, the Universities here do not own any dorms and are not so enclosed in their own campuses.

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Levels of Relaxation

This gives sort of a Rip-Van-Winkle look. Anyway, either due to the fact that this is epically funny or the fact that my friends and I have poor taste, we found this hilarious. (You can judge for yourself, that’s a picture of poor sleeping Ali to the right).

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research

The Adventures of a Fat Space Bunny

Right now, I’m two stories underground and I’m clothed in a white puffy suit that makes me look like some sort of fat space bunny. A really fat space bunny. It’s cold in the room, and the suit’s not helping. I’m sitting in a captain’s chair at the console for a giant machine that reminds me a lot of the Death Star. Don’t worry though: I’m not dreaming, nor have I been abducted by aliens. I’m just in lab. Hi, my name is Tom Gwinn. I’m a junior at Caltech majoring in Electrical Engineering, and I’m going to be writing this blog for at least the next couple of weeks.

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culture

Caltech? Really?

Then the older students next door laughed at me.

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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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