Last weekend was no ordinary weekend; it was one of the most anticipated weekends on the term. For what reason you may wonder? For the simple reason that it was a three-day weekend. Since Caltech is on a quarter system, we unfortunatley do not get as many breaks as most Techers would like during the term. However, as a trade-off of sorts, we do have a longer than usual spring break. Also, not having to do sets during spring break is a major plus (I know my friends at semester schools always groan about having work to do over long breaks).
Apparently, Los Angeles was also happy for our 3-day weekend and was a nice balmy 75 degrees. Since the weather was so nice, my parents (who flew out from Texas to visit me) decided to go to Griffith Park to take advantage of the weather. One of my favorite things about Caltech is that while it is in Pasadena, which is quiet and peaceful (a very ideal college campus kind of town), it is very close to downtown LA and everything LA has to offer, one being Griffith Park. Griffith Park is about 20 minutes away from campus (depending how fast you drive and how bad the traffic is) and is home to the LA zoo, Griffith observatory, Greek Theatre, just to name a few of its attractions.
The LA zoo is actually 33 acres larger than the San Diego zoo in size, although it doesn’t have as many animals – or visitors. Having been to many zoos both here in America and abroad, I have to say the LA zoo is one of my favorites. For one, the not as many visitor thing is nice, especially when looking for parking. Also it’s nice that the animals have more room to roam around in.
Griffith observatory is another great attraction in Griffith Park. While it’s called observatory, it has many more attractions than telescopes. However, one of the best attractions is its telescopes. At night, the observatory has many telescopes set up that allow visitors to look at the moon, star formations, and any other planets, etc. if visible. There’s also the larger Zeiss telescope that is sometimes available to look through (according to their website, visitors can actually look through the telescope, though when I went, this wasn’t the case.)
The periodic table actually has samples of all the stable (and non-radioactive, thank goodness) elements in their unrefined and refined form.
The noble gas column is especially fun since you can hit a button to make them all light up.
Griffth park is also just that – a park. There’s plenty of grassy areas to sun-bathe on and recreational areas to play sports. Altoghether it’s a great place to get away from the work of Caltech without having ot be bogged down by the hectic city environment.
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.