So picking up where i left off!
That Sunday was a wacky
day… I, yet again, was out until sunrise _ Regardless, I still
managed to arrange a picnic with some friends (thank god for cell
phones); they were Kerry and Katie, the MITers, and we had a delicious
little lunch at Luxembourg Gardens.
It didn’t quite go as planned due to the fact that grocery stores ended
up being closed (we hadn’t thought that it was Sunday!), so we just
ended up getting tasty little sandwiches at a little cafe nearby.
we got to the garden, we found a nice little patch of grass and laid
our stuff down and began our picnic. I pulled out my laptop (french
music for the picnic!)… Anyway, we felt a bit awkward because no one
else was sitting on that particular grass. A few minutes later, many
other people began to sit on the grass as if we had set a new trend.
Well, we soon found out why no one was originally sitting there: a
security guard came by and asked us to move our picnic to the permitted
grass sitting area, which all of us (the other trend followers
included) did. :)
Soon, Lysandra met up with us; she had been
working at a community service project that gives you a free ticket to
a David Guetta concert if you do a few hours of work a few weekends
before. I’m so jealous she’s going to see him! For those of you who
don’t know, see here: When Love Takes Over.
Kerry left (she had work supposedly :( we all went to Montmartre and
met up with more people, including my friend Mario and his friend
Diogo. Katie and I were the only ones interested in cheese fondue, and
considering she was a bit sick the last time we got it in Montmartre,
she wanted to get it today to make sure she really enjoyed a fondue
meal before heading out of Paris (this was her last night before she
returned to the states!).
Side note: she had to buy a new
suitcase that day, so she did. The hilarious part: it was pink. Along
with her dress she wore that day and the purse she was carrying. I
I’ve always loved this basilica, and it is so beautiful, both inside
and out. It’s on the hill of Montmartre, so we had stairs to climb,
we went to the Seine to spend some of Katie’s last moments in Paris
taking it all in :D We did the super cliche shot by Notre Dame because
that week was full of more exciting adventures with the level set
method and using it to represent the shape of a structure during
optimization of linearly elastic materials. For yet another peak, I’ll
show you the optimization of a long cantilever (we fixed the left side
objective function (which is the function we’re trying to minimize) is
the amount of work that the force does on the structure. Even though
the structure does not appear to be moving, each little piece of it is
displaced a tiny bit, on the microscale. The total amount of work that
the applied force does in order to make all these little elements move
is the compliance, and it is what we are trying to minimize.
course, it eventually reaches a limit, implying that the compliance of
our structure is minimized given whatever initialization and parameters
we used while running the optimization. The nice thing about this
example is that with this initialization, we don’t have any strong
topology changes, so not only does the objective function decrease
globally (overall) but also locally (as in for each step). Sometimes,
when we have really complicated setups, a huge topology change must
take place in order to get the truly (globally) optimal shape. In this
case we must allow local INCREASES in the objective function in order
to get an overall globally optimal solution; it would look much like the
objective function above, except would have little humps on the way to
the bottom limit.
Well after working on this all week, it was finally time for another weekend! :DThat
Friday was nothing too crazy; just a little trip into Paris to spend
some time in the Latin Quarter with good friends :D We got gelatto.
It was delicious. We stopped by the Seine and there was a performance,
next day consisted of quite a bit of fun. Lysandra and I had a
picnic at a castle way out in the western outskirts of Paris just north
of Versailles. This castle was featured in the film The Count of Monte
Cristo… It was located on a bit of a plateau, so we had a great
Here is that aforementioned behind-camera view:
Afterward, we went back into Paris and found a cool little boat shuttle
the boat ride, we met up with Mario and had a picnic at the tip of Ile
de la Cite, which is the island that Notre Dame and Saint Chappelle are
met some people from Lithuania here and chatted a bit with them. The
most memorable part of the conversation was when I said I was working
on a mathematics project at the university; the girl did the fake gun
shot to the head gesture while saying “How boring!” Wonderful.
after our picnic, we had a bit of gelatto (again!) and then went back
to Ecole Polytechnique to get ready for a nightclub that night. In the
end, we did not end up going in the club we found (it was on a boat in
the Seine) just because it looked rather lame… However, we did have
an interesting adventure getting there; notably, two guys in the
metro came up to us and started chatting with us. They were really
In the end, we decided against the club… Well,
when all else fails, have a picnic… ANOTHER picnic haha! So that’s
what we did: we had a picnic at Nation (first we stopped by a little
convenience store and got some cheese and crackers along with Nutella
In front of the statue at Nation.
A particularly goofy photo of Mike and me. He’s a physicist from Cornell o_0 I’m gonna miss this kid!
We ended up getting tired very quickly, so we took a bus back to Chatelet and then took another back to Ecole Polytechnique. We climbed the stairs and took off to bed! And the sun had not yet risen this time :)
The next day was very relaxed. I woke up in the early afternoon and then met Lysandra; my friend from lab at Ecole Polytechnique, Youssef, had invited us over to his flat to have some delicious Lebanese food! Man was that food delicious! We had some nerdy math discussions and talked a bit about Lebanon; it was so much fun!
Youssef and I in front of one of the biggest libraries in Paris.
An voila, my last weekend in Paris! Stay tuned; I’ll continue with my last two days in Paris, coming up soon! :)
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.