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Monday, June 30, 2003

My mom, dad, and best friend, Camilla, came with me today to drop me off at SUNY Stony Brook. We got here around 10 so we missed the campus tour. We got a tour of the Center for Molecular Medicine buildine though. This tour was really cool...My favorite part was the floor of infectious diseases. This sounds really bad, but it was cool. We went into a BSL 3 lab. A BSL 3 is a Biosafety Level 3 room. The highest any BSL lab goes up to is a 4, and there are only like 3 of them in the country and at least two of them are owned by the army, so a BSL 3 isn't too bad. At Stony Brook, these labs have not been used yet, but should start in a month or two. To get into these labs the air flow only goes in one way because the risk of contamination would be great if air could flow in and out. There is a dressing room between one BSL to another, where scrubs are put on. The door into the BSL 3 won't open until the incoming door is closed. You need a key card and ID number to get in, so security is high.

After our tour and then a really really good lunch, one of the best wraps I've ever had, we went to the Physics building and into the Laser Teaching Center, the place I am right now, and will be for the next seven weeks. That is a looong time, let me tell you. We met the other Simons Fellows that will be working under Dr. Noe, and the undergrads that are working in the lab too. Everyone is very nice.

Around 5:30, Maanit and I went to eat dinner. We returned to O'Neil, our dorm, and everyone hung around for awhile. We watched "The Last Dragon" with Bruce Leroy (hahah that was so fun) for awhile but amazingly that got turned off and we watched "Ocean's 11". Leroy was funnier. I met my roommate, Samantha, and we had a "meeting" at 11 with everyone in our program and those from Garcia. Samantha is a lot of fun so we laughed A LOT. The day went by pretty fast and by midnight I was extremely tired and fell asleep easily.

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Today was my first complete day at Stony Brook. It went by pretty fast and thankfully the weather cooled down a little so it was more comfortable. Yesterday was too hot. We researched online about different topics and looked at past student projects. Around 11, James, an undergrad, came back to the lab, actually arrived at the lab haha, to tell us that there was a free barbeque outside of the SAC (Student Activities Center), and that there was "gladiator wrestling" and a big slide. Around 11:45 we went to the SAC and ate the best hamburgers ever. After we ate I challenged Maanit to a "gladiator wrestling" match. We put on these HUGE helmets, got our stick things and began our battle. The guys running the event helped me out in the beginning, but then I won. Poor Maanit. :) He won't admit that I beat him, but it's because I watch Tae Bo, you know, Billy Blanks...Oh man.

We spent the rest of the afternoon talking to Dr. Noe about Physics. Later on, we went outside with a magnifying glass and after finding its focal length we burnt holes in paper. It was fun. I wasn't paying attention for like two seconds, and the entire paper caught on fire. It wasn't a big fire, obviously, but I was like "STOP, DROP, AND ROLL". It was funny- at least I thought so. After that YiYi melted Sandy's pen cap. Sandy generously gave her the pen to remember the day. We have fun together!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2003

I was so excited today when I figured out how to make ice coffee at the SAC. It was definitely a coffee day, but it was hot so the whole icy thing was working out for me. Then my day got rough because I had the hardest time toasting my bagel (long story, it got was ugly) and then when I finally sat down to eat, and had both halves of my bagel, i dropped one half on the floor! Talk about bad luck...
Today I researched a lot on forensics because I am really interested in it, but I need to find a way to tie it into optics and lasers in order to make a project out of it. I'm still working on that. Then I found this great "Physics Jokes" site- they are worse than most of my jokes, I mean these are really really cheesey (nachocheese!).
At nighttime we went and played basketball in the gym. That was fun but I was so sleepy tired that I didn't do much unless I was shooting. I was being really really lazy, hopefully the next time we play I'll have a little more energy (maybe I needed both halves of the bagel).

Thursday, July 3, 2003

Today we worked all morning and I found some optics labs online that I read over and want to do. At lunch time we had pizza with everyone in the lab, Dr. Noe, and Dr. Metcalf. We discussed our different interests involving Physics, and possible research projects. We talked about the Physics behind sailing. The wind acts as a force, so technically a sailboat shouldn't be able to sail upwind, only downwind, in the direction of the force. I am going to find out why this works.
After lunch we toured the Van de Graaff Accelerator and Stony Brook's LINAC. The Van de Graaff Accelerator allows scientists to study heavy ion collisions at high energies. Another use for the Van de Graaff is the testing of integrated circuit chips under heavy ion bombardment. The Van de Graaff can simulate the effects of radiation in space and on Earth. This helps scientists create more reliable computers. NASA used the Tandem Van de Graaff to test components of the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft.
After our tour of the Van de Graaff we visited the LINAC, a linear electron accelerator. The LINAC can produce an electron beam with eneregy up to 20 billion eV (electron volts). The LINAC generates high-intensity beams of electrons with some of the highest energy available. This accelerates particles, allowing physicists and other scientists in medical, industrial, and defense applications.

Friday, July 4, 2003

We don't have lab today because it is the 4th. I am going to watch fireworks on Fishers Island with some of my friends. Unfortunately some of my best friends are in Mass. so I won't be able to see them. :( Happy 4th!

Monday, July 7, 2003

We went to one of Dr. Metcalf's lectures today. The lecture was aimed toward his graduate students, but he told us we would be able to understand most of what he was talking about. The lecture consisted of five high school students, three undergrads, and six grad students.
I understood most of what he said, but I had never seen any of the equations he used. Dr. Metcalf talked about interferometers and how there can never be a perfect interferometer because the method the mirror was made is unknown, so the center of curvature and all other properties might be a little off. Even such little inaccuracies such as data off by 1 mm would affect the results. Dr. Metcalf explained to us what confocal mirrors in the interferometer are, and how they are made stable. He plotted graphs with the transmission of the beam versus the resonant frequency. The lecture went on for almost two hours, and is very hard to explain without graphs and diagrams.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Today YiYi, Sandy, and I went to another lecture, this one by Dan Meconian. The lecture was on beta decay studies at a Triumf lab. He talked about magneto optics traps and trapping efficiency rates. They have a setup that has two traps. By the time of the second trap, only an isomer remains. From Meconian and his colleagus's work, they have found that neutral atom traps are an ideal socure of short-lived radioactive atoms. Their ISAC facility provides high yields of exotic atoms, precision beta decay experiments can probe non-SM phytics, and their work uses atomic techniques to do a nuclear experiment to test fundamental symmetries. The lecture was very interesting, but much of what was said was over my head. The people in attendence were all either grad students or professors themselves.

Wednesday, July 9, 2003

Today was a good day. With the help of YiYi's favorite physics page , I found a possible project. Recently, the FDA approved of a blue LED acne treatment. The interaction between the blue LED (light emitting diode) and the skin infection produces singlet oxygen, which attack the bacteria at the root of acne problems. This treatment inhibits the growth and spread of acne. Such a treatment, without the use of topical gels or oral is cost and time effective, and the risk of scaring is minimal. I am going to continue looking into this area, to try and find some kind of linkage to a research project.

We had our weekly pizza lunch with everyone from the lab, and then Dr. Noe and Dr. Metcalf. We talked about our progress over the week and some interesting physics topics, including the blue LED treament. The pizza was really good, and everyone was so hungry that we ate A LOT. After lunch, Allison and I had great difficulty pouring some Pepsi into another Pepsi bottle (to avoid having two half full bottles), it was a lot of fun and my abs hurt so much from laughing. Allison was a little "jumpy" haha.

Later in the afternoon, Dr. Noe asked me if I would like to go with him and Tom to East Coast Optical Technologies. We went. At ECOT, they are trying to use lasers to help make the molds used in engraving. Laser use would be time effective. They are testing these high powered lasers on different samples, but the best so far are porcelin cyramic tiles. They can also use lasers to measure any differences in the surface. On each sample tile, a small square was visible. These tiny squares had been made my many many different circular points from a pulsing laser. The work was very practical, and very interesting. Even though the work being done at ECOT was very serious, we had a lot of fun. The room behind the actual laser center is being leased out as a gym. There were these HUGE men lifting weights, groaning and grunting every 15 seconds, probably 10 feet from us. The wall between the two businesses was probably only 2 inches thick. The head of ECOT, Dr. Noe, Tom, and I were laughing very hard.

After we got back it was already after 5. I went to dinner even though I wasn't very hungry, ate a half of a wrap, went back to the dorm to change, and then went for a run. Lots of fun!

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Today I found a ton of information on blue LED acne treatment and the bacteria it affects, P. acnes. Within the P. acnes is a photosensitive chemical. The interaction between the blue LED and this photosensitive (light sensitive) chemical produces the oxygen which destroys the bacteria. In England, such treatments have been conducted for quite some time. There is another treatment that uses a yellow LED. Scientists using this light source say that yellow light penetrates the skin deeper than blue light, allowing more bacteria to be killed and providing for longer-lasting results. I like this area of research because it has a true life application that I am interested in.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Today I continued my research on P. acnes. The reporter that wrote the original blue LED article emailed me back and told me about Photodynamic Therapy (PDT). PDT is a type of therapy used to destroy harmful tissue. A photosensitiser is injected into the tissue of the patient, and then a laser is targeted at the desired area. When subject to the laser beam, the photosensitiser destroys that area of tissue. This is helpful because it may help cancer patients in the future, and even know clinical studies and trials are being conducted. For more information visit this PDT overview.

It's Friday- it's the weekend! I hope the weather clears up, after a week at Stony Brook inside a lab I'm definitely ready for the beach!!

Monday, July 14, 2003

I think I may have figured out what my project is going to be!! OK, I'm really excited. In England they have a similar acne treatment as the blue LED, except they use yellow light, because they say it penetrates the skin deeper than blue light. Since I am in a laser lab and can't test human patients, or use actual bacteria, I am going to measure the amount of light scattered on uncooked chicken. The uncooked chicken will act as a tissue and the amount of scattering will determine which light is absorbed the most. The more scattered light, the less light absorbed and the less scattered light, the more light absorbed, determining which color of light really is the most efficient in this acne treatment. For more information on N-Lite, the yellow light acne treatment please visit this site.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

I researched scattering today. The sky is blue because of light scattering. I found a really cool site about this practical application.

When I first started Physics class Mrs. Giles, my teacher, said that we would become smarter people as a result of taking the class. She was so true. After taking a Physics class I am aware of more things around me. Physics is involved in everything, things that you normally woudln't notice. Why is the sky blue? Why do things fall? Why don't we fall through the floor? Physics is behind it all, and I would never have known or noticed these things if it hadn't been for Physics.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

We had our pizza meeting today with Prof. Metcalf. Dr. Noe is away in Ithica, NY. During our meeting we talked about our projects and about the Regents exams that are in the news all the time. A large percentage of the students who took the Physics Regents failed, and the students taking the class were already above average in their classes. The exam isn't that hard because all of the material is covered, but the grading system is very strict. On many questions you have to show all of your work including substitution with units. If you forget one value, you can get points taken off, or in some cases, no credit at all. If you do the questions and the work too quickly and get points taken off on a lot of them, they begin to add up and people actually fail the test. Prof. Metcalf disagrees with the way they are scored becuase he says physicists never do complete substitution and the Regents are more strict than most normal college level work.

Thursday, July 17, 2003


We went to a "lecture and discussion" on Quantum Mechanics, given by Prof. Metcalf. This was my favorite lecture so far. It involved the history of Physics since 1901 when Planck said that energy depends on frequency and propoesed E = hf, where h is an integer called Planck's constant. We talked about all of the scientists who contributed to what Quantum Mechanics is today from the early 1900s to 1927 with Schrodinger's equation. The lecture/discussion was very interesting and I learned a lot from it. One thing that I had never realized was that during WW-I, in particular, scientists from all over the world ignored their country's conflicts, and continued to work together. This happened again in the Cold War when American and Russian scientists continued working together despite their nation's differences. The talk was great.

After this lecture I had a SIMONs meeting in Melville Library. All of the SIMONs Fellows met in the Honors College Lounge and we heard from two guest speakers, the Director of Scholarships at SUNY Stony Brook and the Director of the Honors College. The Honors College seems like a great program and is something I am going to look into. With the Honors College a student gets the "big" university setting and atmosphere of SUNY Stony Brook, and the small one-one-one attention through the Honors College of 75 students. It seems like a great program.

Friday, July 18, 2003

I researched a lot on light scattering today. I found some really good websites. They had ice cream sundays at lunch time! So good...

Monday, July 21, 2003

Today Maanit and I conducted a mini-experiment measuring the light scattering of a laser at different angles. Our graph represents intensity per square meter versus the angle from the surface. 90 degrees is head on, not 90 degrees from the normal. Our results make sense because the light should be most intense 0 degrees from the normal, and less intense 90 degrees from it. Using the same method, I plan on conducting my experiment with different light frequencies on a tissue and meauring which light is absorbed the greatest.

In the afternoon we had a Quantum Mechanics II lecture with Prof. Metcalf. This lecture was very calculus based, and since I have not yet taken a calculus course, the subject matter was a little over my head. We talked about Quantum Mechanics and Shrodinger's cat being dead or alive, but not dead, and not alive. Quantum Mechanics is very theoretical and a lot of things don't make sense especially if you have already taken, and been brought up, using classical mechanics.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Today I helped Allison make a movie with her pictures involving her research project, The Talbot Effect. Her project involved taking pictures of uncollimated light through a diffraction grating at different distances. At certain distances there was an image, solid black and white horizontal lines. Between each image, where the Talbot effect was present, were unfocused gray lines. The project worked well and is very interesting. Scientists use the Talbot Effect to make interferometers and in atom optics.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Today we had a guest speaker named Alex Ellis. Alex just graduated from high school and is already an REU. He is going to attend Harvard in the fall. He worked in the Laser Teaching Center last year and was a semi-finalist in INTEL and Siemens-Westinghouse. Currently he is working in a lab at MIT. Alex helped me fix some things in my website and we talked about applying to college.

After our pizza lunch I talked with Dr. Noe about project idea. The blue LED acne treatment may be hard to do in the LTC because it doesn't involve optics and is really more chemistry/biology related. I want to test the scattering of light though. In a Yale study the black grease paint that is put under football player's eyes was tested against decals and petroleum jelly. The studies resulted in the grease paint significantly allowing the players to see better than the decals or control of petroleum jelly. For a possible project I could measure the scattering of light on the grease paint and the decals, to see which one truly absorbs more light.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Today was a very busy day! We had another Quantum Mechanics lecture (number 3) at 11:00. We talked about the strange parts of Quantum Mechanics. We came up with a list of bizarre things:

1. Wave Particle duality

2. Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

3. Schrodinger's Cat / Superposition of states

4. Wave equation- infinite solutions

5. What "waves"?

6. Complex numbers

7. Conflict with Classical Mechanics

8. Discrete states

9. h appears everywhere (Planck's constant)

10. Matter is a wave

11. Indistinguishability of particles (electrons)

After our lecture many REUs toured the LTC. Each of the REUs in the LTC gave a brief summary of their project. Jose explained his computer simulations as well. Immediately following the REU visit, we had a group photo with Prof. Metcalf and all of the grad students and professors in the Physics dept. at SUNY Stony Brook. It took forever and I think I messed up a lot of the pictures because I had stopped smiling (smiling for a 1/2 hour is a hard thing. Talk about a fake smile!)Right after the pictures, there was another lecture by Colin Hawthorne, a man who did most of his studying in Melbourne, Australia. He had a great accent! His research had been done in a lab where they studied evaporative cooling of metastable Neon in the GEMINI Lab. It was very interesting, and many people attended the seminar, but the project was very in depth. After the lecture we went back to the lab, and I think we were all exhauseted, it had been a l o n g day! I did the wave equation for beryllium though, and it had 24 terms!

I was very proud.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Today I updated my journal, which took awhile because it has been a very busy week and I hadn't updated since Monday! It is a good thing I take notes otherwise I wouldn't be able to write what happened from day to day. I continued my research on the grease paint and decals. This weekend I am sailing with my parents in an IOD race and then Sunday I am sailing to Shelter Island on board Rima, this huge boat. I hope I can find to sleep becuase that is one thing I definitely need to catch up on!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLEG!!! (Saturday, the 26th, is his 17th birthday!)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ETHAN!!! (Sunday, the 27th, is his 17th birthday!)

Monday, June 38, 2003

Today we had another Quantum Mechanics lecture with Professor Metcalf. We talked about waves (because light is a wave on Monday). We looked at different graphs and determined that particular wave's wavelength. We also talked about dyes and what makes my shoes so blue and all of Allison's clothes so "red" (haha). My bright blue Nikes havea low wavelength and high energy, whereas Allison's completley red outfits have a higher wavelength and lower energy. Allison's outfits are somewhat theoretical because we never actually see these red outfits- only on the weekends apparently...

At night we had a giant kickball game, the RAs against the residents of Summer Conferences. The game was a good one, until it got dark and we couldn't really see the ball. We were winning until the last "inning", where the RAs pulled ahead.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I went all over campus today to find books on light scattering. Not knowing how to use the university's STARS book searching system, I ended up walking back and forth (and up all of the 4 floors becuase the elevators are crazy) from Melville to the Astronomy, Physics & Mathematics Libraries. I must have walked 10 miles, but in the end I found two very interesting sources. The most useful was: Scattering, Absorption, and Emission of Light by Small Particles, by Michael Mischenko.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

We met at 8:45 at the SAC this morning to leave for Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). We didn't get back to the LTC until around 1:30. Our tour at the BNL was very intersting. We toured BNL's unique Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). We got to go in the builing where the STAR experiment is being conducted.

This is the STAR experiment, where heavy ions (gold atoms that have been stripped of their electrons) are accelerated and then collided head on. Scientists use the information gathered to find out more about physics and why things work the way they do in the world around us. The tour was very informative and we also got to visit the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) where scientists from all around the world are conducting experiments.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Today we had REU presentations in S-240 almost all day. The REUs are undergraduates from all over the country, that have spent the summer in various universities doing research experiments. In the LTC we had three REUs, Allison, James, and Tom. Allison gave her presentation on the Talbot Effect, James on his Development of a Magneto-Optical Trap (MOT), and Tom on the scattering of light on different ceramics to determine which one is optimum in laser cutting. There were 15 Physics REUs in all, and each one gave a brief (5-10 minute) presentation on their work this summer. Their abstracts are all very scientific and impressive.

Friday, August 1, 2003

Today was a sad day becuase it was our last day with Allison. She is leaving tomorrow to go back to Texas. We will all be sad to see her go. For lunch we went out to an italian restaurant. It was soooo good, but I think we all ate too much!! I went to the Sports Complex to find greasepaint, but they didn't have any. I am going to the Sports Authority on Monday to buy some.

Monday, August 4, 2003

Today was a very productive day. I started out the morning updating my journal and getting directions to the nearest Sports Authority. Around 11:15 I went to find the Sports Authority, but I got lost and wound up in some mall about 10 minutes from campus. A man at Foot Locker gave me directions to the Sports Authority, which turned out to be located directly across the street. I was able to find both greasepaint and the stick-on decals.

I spent the afternoon testing the light intensities every 5 degrees from 0 to 180 for a labertian surface (my control), the greasepaint, and the decal. This testing was very time consuming and tedious work becuase every angle needed an offset measurement and then a laser measurement. The offset measurement is the light present in the room without the laser turned on, and the laser measurement is when the laser is turned on. To find the true laser intensity I will subtract the offset from the laser measurement. I plan on graphing my results tomorrow, but this will be hard becuase I am using Linux and not Excel or something that makes a lot of sense to me.

Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Today I calculated all of my results and found the true laser intensity at the different angles from my data. Then I attempted to learn Quattro Pro, to graph the results, but I needed help from Dr. Noe. I have an idea how to work the program, and it is fairly similar to Excel, but it does not have the same level of simplicity as Excel. My graph came out well and makes a lot of sense.

  • The orange blocks represent my control, a pure white surface, and the blue line is a sine wave that coincides with my data for the white surface.

  • The green triangles represent the data for the Mueller Decals.

  • The pinkish outlines of rectangles represent the actual greasepaint called, Eye Black.

    The graph makes sense becuase the higher the intensity means the more light was scattered. Inversely, the more light scattered, the less light absorbed. The black surfaces (both the decals and greasepaint) absorb more light than the white surface, therefore, they have a lesser intensity than the control. The reason a curve in the data is present, is because 0 degrees and 180 degrees are equal, becuase they are both 90 degrees from the normal, and should therefore be the same. The intensity of reflection should be greatest 0 degrees from the normal, or 90 degrees on the graph. There is a gap between 80 and 100 degrees on the graph because measurements cannnot be taken at these angles becuase the photosensitor blocks the laser beam.

    Wednesday, August 6, 2003

    The rest of the Simons Fellows toured the LTC today. We had spent the morning cleaning up and preparing for their arrival. They came around 12:30. We met in a room across the hall, and gave mini-presentations using our websites and pictures. A lot of people showed up, which surprised me. After our "lectures" they split into groups and we showed groups of 3 or 4 our setup and other laser/optical illusions and fun tricks. Everyone seemed to enjoy the afternoon.

    Thursday, August 7, 2003

    Today I plotted a second graph using my data. I am getting better at using Quattro Pro, but every once in a while I have to ask Dr. Noe how to do something. The program makes a lot of sense, I just haven't used it enough to be completely familiar with it. It is pretty straightforward though...

  • Although it is hard to see, there is a line at 100%, this line represents total reflection, the white surface.

  • The blue rectangles show the percentage of reflectance of the Decals in comparison to the white surface at 100/% reflectance.

  • The red rectangles show the percentage of reflectance of the actual greasepaint in comparison to the white surface at 100% reflectance.

    Friday, August 8, 2003

    Before I say what I did tonight, I have to write about last night's adventures. It was pouring last night, I mean buckets! (Literally...there were buckets everywhere catching the water from the leaks haha) At one point, I don't know when, Martha, Atien, Ahmad and I went outside and walked around in the rain. There was so much rain everywhere that all of a sudden Atien dove into the lawn/pool and slid. It looked like a lot of fun, and after a little convincing, I joined in. It was dirty, and I think I ruined my new shirt- but it was definitely worth it! Honestly we went MUD-SLIDING! :)

    I am looking forward to this weekend because Camilla and I are driving up Saturday morning to visit Alicia in Mass. Mini road trip!! It is going to be a lot of fun, and I am really excited because I haven't met Alicia's baby sister Megan, or her little brother George (who said my name this morning on the phone!) Not only do I get to meet them, BUT (the big thing now), not only does Alicia have a pool but she also has.....a.....TRAMPOLINE!!Oh man it's going to be fun.

    Monday, August 11, 2003

    Today we edited our abstracts because they were due into Karen. This week is going to be a little bit crazy...We have lab groups of five people from various departments on campus, but within Simons, and we are supposed to visit their labs for a mini tour to see what everyone has been working on this summer. Trying to find a day and time that works for everyone isn't easy because everyone is busy finishing up their project this week. I am surprised how quickly the program has gone by. I remember the first time I came into the LTC like it was just last week. It has really flown by.

    Tuesday, August 12, 2003

    I helped Sandy with her website today. Using a program called XV I edited images to put as her backgrounds for her various links. Later in the day, Sandy and I helped YiYi fix her project, and make a yeast slide to view on a microscope, that would later be manipulated using optical tweezing. We killed the yeast of the first batch because the water was too hot and I think we shook them around too much. Ooops. Then we spent awhile trying to teach Sandy how to say the word "yeast"...Hahha it was very entertaining. I'd be like, "Say yeast," and Sandy would, completely naturally as if nothing was wrong, say, "East". Everytime...It was hilarious!!!