research

Frosh Prank

In Blacker, it is a tradition for the frosh to lead a prank on Lloyd’s former Christmas tree (now it’s just the Ls). It gives them an opportunity to work together to do a large project while being creative and fun. They are in charge of organizing themselves, asking for permission (as the administration wants to know about any such large-scale and visible pranks) and procuring their supplies and manpower.

By
culture

Fall Formal Dinner

During Christmas time (or really just after Thanksgiving has ended), the Blacker socteam (social team) gets a Christmas tree for the house to celebrate the holiday spirit. However, what we do is a little unique; we don’t have a stand in which we put the tree. Instead, it hangs from our ceiling by ropes and pulleys. We put eye bolts through the trunk of the tree to tie the rope around, and there are similarly things on which to secure the rope on the ceiling of our lounge.

By
research

Infinity Mirror Workshop

This Sunday, many of the upperclassmen put together a workshop for anyone who wanted to make an infinity mirror. This is basically a framed mirror with lights going around the edges that looks like it goes on forever, while you look back at yourself. It was around a two hour workshop where one could assemble everything needed. At every station, there were upperclassmen to help people (especially the frosh) assemble the frame, solder the arduino, put the film on the class and load some light patterns onto the LEDs.

By
culture

Blacker Thanksgiving

This is the first year that I stayed for Thanksgiving (but that isn’t so surprising once you consider I’m only a sophomore). Many people that go home for the Thanksgiving holiday, but a lot of people also stay on campus over the four days. In Blacker, Thanksgiving is very casual: it’s held potluck style, where everyone can bring something to eat. People were cooking in the hovse all day, so by the time the start of dinner rolled around, there were enough dishes to fill 3 whole tables! The best part was that there must have been at least 1.5 times as many deserts as there were main dishes and sides. Everyone lined up to grab their food before heading into the dining hall to sit, eat, and talk.

By
culture

All the Pranksters

The other day, the campus woke up to find a couple of different pranks around campus. This was the day where Lloyd did their annual Christmas tree prank. This year, the tradition changed a little; instead of the usual tree, Lloyd instead spelled their name down the front of Millikan. It’s very bright during the night, and I know there was a lot of work put in by the Lloydies to create the new LED grids for the letters. The prank looks really good, because it’s so bright during the night.

By
research

Cambridge University Library

Cambridge’s University Library (the UL) is one of six legal deposit libraries in the UK, which means that a copy of every single book that is published must be sent there. As a result, the UL has a huge collection of books and receives about 100,000 books every year.

By
research

Queens' Ergs

Queens College hosts an annual erg competition for both novice and senior rowers, where a crew of 8 people ergs for 500 meters each. The competition is held in a gym full of rowing machines, with a leaderboard projected onto a huge screen at one end of the gym. For all of us, the adrenaline levels were through the roof. When one of us was on the machine, the coaches and other crew members would be constantly shouting encouragement and tips at us. Imagine the entire gym full of people screaming and cheering…that was Queens’ Ergs. We did really well at the start and were in first place for about half the race, but in the end we ended up 3rd in our group. Overall, it was a fun experience and good preparation for the Fairbairn’s competition, which is a novice boat race at the end of term.

By
global

Market Square

Central Cambridge is home to a market that’s open all days of the week. The stalls rotate daily - some are there all week, possibly in different locations of the market, while others are only there a two or three times a week. The market sells food, clothes, souvenirs, art supplies, bike supplies, and more.

By
culture

Walking the Master's Dog

The Master of the Corpus College and his wife own the cutest dog, Flapjack, or Jack for short. They let students walk him to de-stress or to just play with him, and it’s usually one student a day. They’re really kind and host all sorts of events, like casual dinner for groups of 15-20 students at the Master’s Lodge, just to get to know the students better!

By
clubs

Bonding as Novice Rowers

After our first outing together with the seniors, we started training on the ergs (rowing machines) and with weights. We started going on weekly novice outings, usually once or twice a week. At first, it was pure chaos since we would have 8 novice rowers with a novice cox, with a ton of other novices boats on the Cam. (The cox is the person who steers the boat by telling which rowers to row). Furthermore, before daylight savings kicked in, it would still be dark out when we got to the boathouse at 7am, making it very cold.

By
clubs

Drinking Chocolate at Amara Cafe

I’ve been hearing about a really good cafe in Pasadena called Amara Cafe from a teammate, who always went there for drinking chocolate. She’s told a story about how her boyfriend doesn’t like the chocolate there because it’s too bitter, even though she goes pretty often. So a couple friends and I finally found the time to go this past weekend.

By
clubs

All the Things to Do Camping!

Everyone who went on the hike also visited the small beach on Silverwood Lake. Although no one went swimming, some people dipped their feet in and skipped rocks. I was watching on the side; Richard and Praful were especially impressive as both got four or more skips on multiple rocks. It was also amusing to see the people who were not as good throw a rock and have it just plop into the water.

By
clubs

Entering the Wilderness

All of the Houses (or Hovses) hold their own trips for their members. Last weekend was Avery’s Camping trip to Silverwood Lake, which they offered for one or two days. Before the trip, there is a lot of planning and organizing by the socteam (social team) representatives: to reserve the campsite, plan food, and also rent camping supplies. The participants also have to organize drivers and passengers in order to get there, because it’s an hour’s drive towards Las Vegas from Caltech.

By
culture

Special College Formals

In addition to regular college formals hosted by the college, Cambridge societies can also host a formal at a specific college. I decided to go to a formal at Clare College hosted by Girl Talk, a society that encourages female empowerment by bringing in inspirational speakers and setting up social events. Going to society-hosted formals is a good opportunity to meet people outside of college, and also to check off another college formal off the list! For some people in Cambridge, one goal is to attend formals at all 31 colleges in their 3 or 4 (or 6 for medics) years at Cambridge.

By
culture

College Formals

College formals are an essential aspect of Cambridge life. These take place in the candlelit halls of each college, and are great for good food and good company.

By
research

Sew Much Fun!

Some of the sewing machines on the dining room table.
By
global

Apple Day

The Cambridge University Botanical Garden hosted an Apple Day a few weekends ago. It was a huge festival featuring apple tasting, apple juices and ciders, food trucks, other small wares, and more. For a 3 pound entry, we got to taste probably 30 different varieties of apples and get free samples of juices and ciders. I didn’t know so many different types of apples even existed! Some apples tasted more nutty, some had strawberry hints, some tasted like plums…there were so many different types.

By
global

Proper Afternoon Tea

The sponge cake is super sweet, but good. I think the filling is unique to the UK, but the texture of the cake is similar to some in America.

By
global

Cambridge Footlights

The Cambridge Footlights, officially theCambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club, hosts student-run comedy sketch shows throughout the term. Actually, the Footlights has several famous former members, including Hugh Laurie.

By
global

Another Day Trip to London

This time we headed to Camden Market, where there are a ton of shops and food stalls. It’s a basically a huge maze – we definitely got a little bit lost in there.

By
clubs

Day Trip to London Part 2

After seeing a the skyline of London from afar, we headed into Westminster, home to the classic tourist attractions. To get there, we took the tube towards Buckingham Palace.

By
global

Day Trip to London Part 1

This weekend, I went with another Caltech-Cambridge exchange student to London, and we met up with two more Techers studying at University College London (UCL). We first headed to brunch for a traditional English breakfast, and then checked out UCL campus. It’s a bit funny that like Corpus, there’s a crane visible from the main entrance.

By
culture

Art Night

Chandler has artwork that is put up/rotated out every term within the annex. It’s a mix of submissions from undergrads, grads, and staff - although I also saw one alumni photo up as well. To show the new art that was put up this term, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) hosted an Art Gala with snacks and booze (for the Grad students of course) this past Thursday. There was live music with live dancing, and some provided paint and canvases for anyone who wanted to create something at the night.

By
research

Board of Trustee Meeting

Hi all! Sorry for the radio silence, but my term has been super busy! One of the main reasons is due to the Committee on Undergraduate Caltech Housing, or the COUCH as it is affectionately known as. Its goal is to help analyze the potential options for the residential system for Bechtel, our new campus residence opening in Fall 2018, while analyzing the broader residential life system as a whole. Through this committee, I’ve had a lot of great opportunities including interacting with many members of administration, students, and alumni. However, one of the coolest things was meeting the Board of Trustees.

By
clubs

Wandering into West Cambridge

Across the river Cam about a thirty minute walk away is West Cambridge. This area is home to the Computer Science Department, the University Sports Centre, the Institute of Astronomy, and more. Food trucks come on a regular basis, so there’s no need to worry about getting food back in town or in college between lectures.

By
global

King's College

On a beautiful sunny day, I walked through King’s College! Luckily for me, I can enter just by showing my University card without having to pay an entrance fee like the tourists :)

By
culture

Fitzwilliam Museum

Just a 10 minute walk from my college, the Fitzwilliam Museum is home to artifacts from the Egyptian era to modern times. On the ground floor, there’s one room displaying various armory and several huge rooms completely dedicated to ceramics and potteries. Entrance is free, and it’s definitely worth visiting.

By
global

Dabney Pumpkin Drop

As I talked about last time, each house gets pumpkins to do something with in celebration of halloween. While most houses carve them, Dabney holds its annual Pumpkin Drop at the very end of the day on Halloween night. This event consists of Darbs freezing pumpkins using LN2, usually far ahead of time so they can freeze and crack sufficiently on impact, and then dropping them from the top of Millikan. This is usually done in conjunction to music, so that the impacts are (theoretically) timed with any particular musical emphases.

By
culture

Pumpkin Carving

As it gets closer to Halloween, all the houses get pumpkins from Tom Mannion to do with what they will. Most houses host pumpkin carving in one form or another - and I really do mean that this comes in many forms.

By
culture

Cambridge Arts & Crafts Market

When wandering around town, I stumbled upon an Art & Craft Market! Inside, there are various stalls selling everything from hand-carved stamps to leather belts to ceramics. It was pretty small, with about 10 stalls, but it was nice to look at the various goods. The autumn leaves are starting to decorate the ground, and I’m super excited to be experience my first true fall. The trees where I live are mostly evergreens, and autumn is always during school, so I’ve never travelled to see the changing leaves before!

By
global

Punting on the River Cam

Today,I went punting with other first years from my college! Punting on the Cam is something every student should experience. It’s also heavily marketed to every tourist in Cambridge, and occasionally to students who look like they could be tourists.

By
clubs

Rowing for the First Time

Each College in Cambridge has its own Boat Club, with rowing teams for men and women. At Corpus’ club fair, I signed up to be a novice rower! I’ve never rowed before, save for once on the rowing machines in Caltech’s gym (although I definitely did not have the right technique when I used it then). I’d heard the rumors about having to wake up at 6am for rowing practice, but I was committed to trying something new. I love sports and don’t have the opportunity to row at Caltech, so I definitely wanted to take advantage of it here.

By
culture

Frosh Migration

In the first year at Caltech, all of the frosh take Core, which is the same 3 classes for all the frosh: Math, Physics, and Chemistry. As such, they all go to their lectures in a clump. This is what my friends and I like to call the frosh migration. It is most pronounced when they move between Math 1a at 10:00 and Physics 1a at 11:00 on Wednesdays and Fridays. There is a whole parade of frosh walking across Millikan from the Baxter lecture hall to the Bridge lecture hall – two of the only lecture halls that have enough capacity for all the students who take the classes.

By
culture

Avery Scavenger Hunt

But, if an alley wants to win, they basically need to do everything on the list. Everyone gets really competitive, running around places to try and get as many photos as possible. Alley 8 (my alley) came in second, behind Alley 3/4. There was only a 20 point difference between the alleys, with both having around 1350 points. Despite our loss, we were still really happy and went out to celebrate by eating hot pot.

By
clubs

First SCIAC Set Win!

By
culture

EVOLVE concert

5 months ago, my friend and I bought tickets for the Imagine Dragons EVOLVE concert at the Hollywood Bowl. We waited with bated breath the whole summer for the day to come, and finally, on Sunday, it happened.

By
global

Matriculating at Cambridge

I’ve decided to skip past blogging the rest of my travels before my term abroad, since this is now my 3rd week at Cambridge! Caltech has study abroad programs with 6 different universities: Cambridge, UCL (University College London), Edinburgh, École Polytechnique, DTU (Danish Technical University)/KU (Copenhagen University), and University of Melbourne.

By
global

Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay is one of Singapore’s main tourist attractions. It’s a huge nature park, with three main attractions: the Flower Dome, the Cloud Forest, and the Supertree Grove. The domes are large air-conditioned spaces, filled with flora from different parts of the world.The flower dome is more a more dry environment and contains plants representing Australia, California, the desert, and other dryer environments.

By
global

Michelin Star Soya Sauce Chicken Rice

Singapore is home to a street stall that has been granted a Michelin Star: Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken. It was originally located in a hawker center in Chinatown, but now there are actually multiple outlets. There are air conditioned stores elsewhere in Chinatown, as well as in other parts of Singapore. Apparently, the head chef has now headed to Taiwan to open up a stall there.

By
global

Singapore Zoo

Apparently Singapore’s Zoo is pretty famous, and turns out it was actually humongous, with many, many different kinds of animals. The enclosures are all pretty open, so the animals wander around as they like. Right when you enter, there’s a set of trees that have families of small monkeys living in them, and it’s not even fenced. Not entirely sure why they all stay there, but I guess it’s their home! What I liked most about the zoo was that many of the enclosures had the names of the animals listed, along with a picture and a characteristic that set them apart. It made the whole experience more personal, and it was fun to try and identify which one was which!

By
global

Singapore National Museum

I went to the National Museum of Singapore next! It’s a pretty building, with exhibits from the beginning of Singapore’s history to the present.

By
research

Watching Hamilton!!!

At the end of August, I flew down to LA to watch Hamilton at the Hollywood Pantages! We bought the tickets back in May as soon as they became available, so I was very excited to finally see it.

By

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.

By
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.

By
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.

By
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.

By