Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Similar to Oobleck? Yes

Life, for me thus far, has a weird property: treat it casually and I feel happy, but treat it stressful and I feel stuck. Hmm. It feels like I've heard a similar property in something in physics. Oh, yes! I remember, Bill was talking about Oobleck, a mixture of corn starch and water ratio of 1.2. It's a non-Newtonian fluid and it behaves strangely. Just like my life, it has a similar property: when a significant force is on it, it will act as a solid; however, when there is no net force on it (excluding gravity), it will act like a liquid. A substance with a double behavior - I've never seen it before - is incredibly fun to experiment (meaning I touch it with my hands) with; although, it is quite messy.

Hallway of the currently still in construction
nano building
A part of the LSST camera
that we watched a documentary
on in class.
After presentations by my fellow classmates on their respective exponential studies, we headed out to observe the different research labs/facilities they offered at Penn. Before that, I'd like to say that I was thoroughly impressed with most of the presentations; they were fun, amusing, and interesting to listen to, especially my friend Leo's. The PowerPoint presentation would not have been funny if it were no for Leo; I can't really explain the humor because it's only funny if you saw it in real life. Let's just say that the entire class was cracking up by the end of it. Anyways, we explored many study areas: soft matter, blood spectroscopy, the new nano building (still being fully constructed), nano-bio hybrid engineering, astronomy using the LSST camera, and cosmology (high-energy physics). I was especially interested in soft matter and nano-bio hybrid. Soft matter materials have very counter-intuitive properties; if temperature is increased in a solution of soft matter materials, crystals start to form. Normally, if temperature is increased, the materials will gain kinetic energy and have less probability with creating bonds with nearby molecules. Learning of the applications and properties of nano-bio hybrids was insightful for the future. They had special proteins(more than one) attached to graphene (one-carbon thick sheets) that could detect explosives and possibly ovarian cancer cells in the future. Because of the protein's innate abilities along with the conductive ability of graphene, it is possibly to detect them. Proteins attach themselves to other corresponding proteins, thus we can determine properties of the attached through observation of the original protein after it attaches. It was inspirational and insightful to actually be able to meet professors and students who are doing breakthrough research.

Later today, I had a epiphany. I let my mind flow, with ideas coming left and right, and by the end of my "thought" session, I finished a spoken word piece I was content with. I'm not usually happy with my work (most of it) because I usually write what's on my mind. However, today was an odd day, so my thoughts on paper were surprisingly impressive, to me at least. I wrote about my experiences in the camp and my thoughts for the future, and load-and-behold, I possibly created my best work thus far. I can't wait to perform it on Friday's talent show.

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