Summer’s End and the Way Forward

I’m back on campus now, and it feels like a whole new world since I left at the end of summer research just a few weeks ago. The terrace is bustling, neon-shirted OAs are leading parades of new students around, and I don’t have nearly unlimited time to work on my research any more. And how much more there is to do! Although I was able to collect all my leaf samples for the herbivory project this summer, I now have to extract and analyze all the cardenolides in them so I can begin to draw conclusions about herbivory impact on clonal systems of common milkweed. I’m so excited to have concrete data to work with, but it’s definitely going to be a lot tougher to get the work done during the school year when I have so many time commitments! In addition to the herbivory project, we finally have all of our data for the microsatellite project. We are now working on statistical analyses for these data, and preparing the manuscript that they will be presented in! This summer was an incredible experience and look into what life beyond college can be like. I have loved devoting myself to my research and collaborating with my labmates.

Final Post: Social Travel/Software Development in Jerusalem

It’s been a few weeks since my internship at GoWith ended and I’ve since returned to the States. Now that I’m somewhat removed from it, it’s kind of hard to believe how quickly my time overseas went by! I was the last intern to leave, and on my last day, our CEO leveled with me about his experience over the summer. Though the team didn’t meet the goal of putting out a complete (or near-complete) app in 2 months’ time, the idea seems to have been overly ambitious considering our collective lack of experience. There are also things I personally wish I’d done differently, mostly relating to using my time at work better. I focused most of my energy on visiting family and sightseeing, making use of the city and country where I was spending my time, rather than the job I was working. I could’ve made a better effort to learn from my peers and my resources. So, though I did learn a lot overseas, but I didn’t learn as much about software development as I could’ve. Still, I hope to put the skills I’ve learned to use in the coming year and in future pursuits.

Summary

My time was well spent this summer in lab. I gained greater confidence and knowledge of procedures and protocol in lab, but I also learned a great deal about the underlying chemistry behind my project and topic in general. The main objective of my project was to learn more about the underlying kinetics of Rhodamine 560 (R560) compared to Rhodamine B (RB), which was previously studied on the 532nm laser. R560 studies were done by a previous student, but on a 470nm laser, so my job was to obtain data for R560 back on the 532nm laser to compare the Rhodamine derivative to RB, and see whether differences between R560 and RB were due to laser wavelength or because of difference in structure and underlying kinetic behaviors. Data for R560 specifically entails blinking traces of single molecule scans, which graph intensity vs. time, in order to track fluorescence and electron transfer kinetics.

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Raillery & Revolution: Final Summary

Raillery & Revolution: Final Summary

     It is hard to believe that three whole months have passed since I embarked upon this research project, and that I have finally finished the process of transcribing, translating, analyzing, and writing on The Bibliothèque de Campagne. Last week my faculty advisor and I had our last conversation, during which we discussed the final product of my research project: a journal-length article of twenty-four pages. The discussion was extremely helpful to me, as my faculty advisor and I addressed the lingering questions I had about my essay. We spoke about my questions concerning the style and organization of my essay, specifically how I could conclude paragraphs without sounding repetitive. We also spoke about my questions concerning bibliography, and how to properly cite translated quotations from the Bibliothèque de Campagne in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style. Additionally, we spoke about a concern I had with my argument, that I was making the overly simplistic claim that joke books directly caused the French Revolution. After examining the issue with my professor, I came to the conclusion that joke books couldn’t be wholly responsible for the French Revolution, but that they could reinforce the prevalent progressive ideas at the time and subsequently motivate citizens to seek change. Finally, I also discussed my claims in the section of my essay contextualizing my argument, referring to scholars Robert Darnton and Roger Chartier as opponents of my thesis. Overall, the conversation with my faculty advisor enabled me to polish my arguments and moreover, my essay, allowing me to conclude the final product of my research project.

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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.

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