Effects of Other Compounds on 4-Nitrophenol

After developing and optimizing the photolysis of 4-Nitrophenol alone, we then moved on to a controlled experiment comparing the photolysis of 4-Nitrophenol alone to the photolysis of 4-Nitrophenol with secondary organic aerosol (SOA). We kept the concentration of 4-Nitrophenol constant with earlier trials and tried to model cloudwater concentrations of SOA. The SOA was prepared by other members of the lab and concentrated in vials. We extracted the SOA with water and added a dilute amount into solution with the 4-Nitrophenol. We then repeated the procedures of the earlier experiments: quartz vial wrapped with foil under xenon arc lamp. This experiment was repeated three times to isolate variables. Once with brown carbon only, once with SOA only, and once with both together. This experiment was conducted toward the end of the summer, so the data requires more analysis. The SOA, however, did not seem to affect the rate of photolysis as much as predicted.

[Read more…]

Photolysis of 4-Nitrophenol

After gaining some experience with our methods and instruments, we were able to really get to work on matching the literature data. In order to test the effects of other compounds (such as secondary organic aerosols or inorganics) on the lifetime of brown carbon, we had to achieve a good and reproducible baseline measure of how it reacted to sunlight on its own. To do this, we created a very dilute solution of 4-Nitrophenol (a type of brown carbon) and placed it in a quartz vial. The quartz lets more wavelengths of light through than glass or other materials. This vial was placed in front of a xenon arc lamp that simulated the wavelengths and energy of sunlight. We found that using a stir bar and backing the vial with reflective foil maximized the rate of photolysis. At different time intervals (1 hour time intervals shown in the following figure) we took aliquots of the solution and analyzed the sample using the UV/VIS spectrophotometer.

[Read more…]

August Update

I have spent the majority of the past few weeks reflecting on the research I have done so far and considering how to move forward. My work is part of a larger on-campus group – MANOS. We rely on a method of research referred to as CBPR – community based participatory research. One of the core aspects of CBPR is creating an equal partnership with a community, with both sides (the community members in Chaguite and William and Mary MANOS students) participating equally in research and development projects. For my own research I was relying on the community’s collection of elevation or well depth data to satisfy our equal partnership [. However, because my final raster will cover an area much larger than the small community of Chaguite, I cannot use well data in my final raster as it would be almost impossible to collect or find accurate and reliable data for such a large area (especially considering the travel constraints caused by the political upheaval in Nicaragua right now). So, the question I am still pondering is how to involve the community in my research and whether our inability to access Nicaragua will affect the success of the final raster and the well implementation project that is the ultimate goal.
Besides exploring possible methods of involving the community, I have decided to clip my final raster to the shape of Matagalpa, a region in Nicaragua. I was originally intending to clip it Terrabona, however after reviewing similar models to the one I am creating, Matagalpa is more comparable in size than Terrabona (Terrabona is too small). I have also found high quality raster for soil and lithology types around the globe that can be downloaded straight to ArcGIS, so I will be able to use those in my final raster. Moving forward, I need to determine what weight each individual raster will have within my final raster. I also need to determine a scale for each individual raster (for example, which types of soil are best at retaining groundwater and which are worst). From there, I will calculate the final raster.

Closets and Classrooms: Age

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how all of the LGBTQ teachers I had interviewed had expressed feelings of fear regarding being open about their sexuality at school. Another common theme that I found across several of my interviews is the concept of age. While the interviewees saw their age affecting their comfort with being out at school in different ways, the idea that age played a role in their being out or not being out to colleagues and students came up in interview after interview.

[Read more…]

Research Update on Portraiture of Livia

As I’ve been researching my topic throughout the summer, I keep finding more questions than answers.  This research is laying the groundwork for my honors thesis on the portraiture of Livia, the first Roman empress, so I’ll start writing in earnest once the school year starts.  Fortunately, this timeline has given me plenty of room to explore scholarly rabbit holes and to develop a strong background in my topic.  To fully ground my main argument about the divine likenesses of Livia in art and literature, I’ve found that I need to have a grasp on topics ranging from portrait production to gender roles in ancient Rome.  It can be frustrating to spend an entire day looking at sources that probably won’t make it into my final bibliography, but I know I’ll write a better thesis if I appreciate these nuanced aspects of Roman art.

[Read more…]