Visitor Surveys: The Good, The Bad, and The Painful

This week has been a testament to why I love museum work. For about a month I’ve been doing visitor surveys. Just when people thought they were done with us, when they had finally gone three times through every gallery looking for the exit and pulled out their DC maps to find the National Gallery, I would jump in their way.

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Heterogeneous Photochemistry: Looking into the Past and Future

Here is my update for the last week or so. The project has caused me to look into the past of the project I am currently on and reflect on the future ahead of me. I’ll start with the past. In the last week, I have set up an experiment with the catalyst under conditions that are known to work. This experiment had very promising results but a flaw in the procedure means this experiment needs to be rerun to make sure the data is reliable. This repeat of the experiment is being set up today and the results are hopefully going to be more consistent since I believe we have found a place in the photochemistry procedure which is a contributor to the inconsistent results. If this experiment fulfills expectations, I will go back to the controls. Ideally, these control experiments will be complete before the school year so that the project is in a good place when I am not working full time anymore.

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Heterogeneous Photochemistry: A Story of Trial and Error

In my last update, I had just started to test our catalyst in photochemistry conditions. Some control experiments had to be repeated and this is what I have been focused on for late June and early July. I have gotten behind with blog posts as I got busy with work so this post will cover late June and early July and my next post will cover the last week or so. These controls are crucial because they verify that the catalyst is the active part of our system, rather than other components. This stage is very important because no one has done this before and we need to know why our system is working. This stage of testing must be completed before this project will be able to move forward.

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Reproducibility of known Auto Paints

Step two for my research over the summer is reproducibility of known auto paints from a collision center. These are not actual auto paints samples from the manufacturer but paints used by the collision center to match the manufactured paint. Over the past semester, we had identified a specific Raman spectrum using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy for a particular paint. My goal was to simply reproduce this spectrum. Reproducing something is often much harder then it sounds unfortunately. After much trial and error, I was able to reproduce the spectrum on multiple samples on different days. Success! I was also able to reproduce the spectrum of the other paints provided by the collision center. Through the reproduced spectra, I was also able to prove that the chromophore or pigment used by the specific collision center was the same for all the paints. Double-success! Step three is to obtain an identifiable spectrum from auto paints actually from the manufacturer.

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