So this weekend I spent most of my time inside working, especially since there was a torrential downpour in Geneva. I went out to buy a bunch of chocolate early in the morning and planned on traveling around the lake, but then I got caught in the rain and my only goal was to get back to CERN without getting my chocolate soaked (chocolate is of high priority in Switzerland).
To make up for this I decided to reward myself for finish the majority of my coding by setting up a paragliding trip to Interlaken on Sunday. I met some really nice people who work out of Interlaken and set up a flight from the mountains around the city. I actually almost missed it since I took the train into the wrong station that morning and they were supposed to pick me up from the other station. They were nice though and put me on a later flight an hour after my scheduled appointment. The group was awesome though and the experience was amazing. Here is our crew setting up on the mountain before we took off. It was still raining on Sunday but was more misty in Interlaken. The guy in the front is my instructor, Sebastien.
Here is the other side with the view of what we were about to jump into. I have been sky diving twice and paragliding was quite a bit different. They told us in the car to just start running off the hill and to not stop even when it got to the cliff. I thought it was going to be difficult with the fear factor of running off of a cliff but we basically just took a few steps and the sail was in the air, along with us.
Choosing to fly over Interlaken was such a good choice since the mountains surrounding the city are phenomenal and there are two lakes to look at. It also began raining very lightly while we were in the air which actually made it more fun. My instructor was really cool too and taught me how to look for updrafts from the shapes of clouds. He was able to prolong our flight by quite a bit by catching rising air around the mountains and where the east and west winds met. He finished off the flight with some nice roller coast spins and then we landed in central park. This was definitely the perfect way to spend my Sunday and I highly recommend paragliding to anyone, especially those visiting the Alps. It’s a great way to see the mountains and let your feet dangle a meter or two above the trees.
On a completely different note I got to go on another detector tour today. I managed to sign up with a group of summer students for a tour of the ALICE experiment, short of A Large Ion Collider Experiment. ALICE collides lead nuclei which are accelerated by the LHC and the temperatures and energy density related to this experiment are expected to be high enough to form quark-gluon plasma.
Our trip down to the detector was also somewhat unprofessional, or I guess some would say that it was completely professional in terms of PR. We were a group of twenty summer students and we went down to the platform in front of the detector to perform and film the CERN version of the Harlem Shake. It was quite hilarious actually since we were a bunch of international students from all over the place just coming up with the most random dance moves and dressed in the most ridiculous costumes we could fine right in front of the ALICE detector. It was even better that our official tour guides were involved and were filming us while we made complete fools of ourselves. Even better, it is going to be posted on the CERN website, so that should be exciting. If you happen to see it I am the one in the front in the full body suit. I was sweating to death down there but totally worth it!
So that’s the beginning of the week for you. It is our last official work week at CERN and then I am off on vacation. Now we shall see if the rest of the week can live up to this eventful start!
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the mentorship of senior research technologist Dr. Xiaoqing Pi. Dr. Pi’s guidance and mentorship has been instrumental to the development and success of my internship at JPL, where I use machine-learning to enhance the accuracy and integrity of navigation and communication signals. In addition to helping me develop an understanding of atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing and machine-learning, Dr. Pi has often offered his insights on how to improve my researching skills. Dr. Pi was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions regarding his research and advice for future student interns. I believe many students can benefit from some of the lessons that he has taught me:
The transition period to remote learning was a very uncertain time, especially for research and the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Many hands-on projects had to pivot at the last minute to facilitate off-campus contributions. However, many Techers were able to take advantage of the research opportunities offered at Caltech and JPL to make the best out of remote learning and research. To paint a picture, I’ve interviewed a few talented Techers for some insight on what researching from home looks like for them.