Under the Surface of a Painting

Hello again!

Due to our collaboration with Shelley Svoboda at the Dewitt Wallace Collections and Conservation building, my lab has access to historical oil paintings to sample and study.  Currently, the piece of interest in my project is the portrait of Mrs. Nelson by Robert Feke, an American artist.  Despite the fact that the subject of the portrait is wearing a blue dress, yellows may be hiding among the paint layers.

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End of the Summer


This summer has been so productive and fun at the same time! For  a quick summary, my research is related to solar energy cells and understanding electron transfer between organic dyes and the semiconductor TiO2. The end goal was to find a probability distribution function that best fit the data to represent the system and kinetics behind electron transfer.  I collected data of Rhodamine B on glass, Rhodamine B on TiO2 and Rhodamine 6G on TiO2. After working up the data to test if the Power Law is a goof probability function, I rewrote a code to test the Weibull function. Interestingly enough, the power law best fit both RB on Tio2 and R6G on TiO2 on times, while Weibull best fit all of the off time data sets. Unfortunately, there might still be some glitches in the code for a Weibull function, but I am working on hammering out these problems by the end of the week. Despite this, these results are very interesting, and next I will be working towards re-writing a code to test a stretched exponential function. I have learned so much about statistics and probability and have put my math skills to the test, but decided that I really enjoy math and am happy this summer was another way to confirm that.

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Nearing the end!

Hey everyone,

Data analysis is going great. Prof D. is teaching me how to clean the data we collected from Dot Probe Familiarity 1. I am becoming very familiar with Qualtrics and SPSS, which will be great for future research endeavors. Also, we are still getting a steady amount of participants for Dot Probe 9 and Dot Probe Familiarity 2. We only need about 10 more participants in DPF2 so hopefully we can begin data analysis on that study soon!  When we finish DPF2 we we start running particpants in DZot Probe Familiarity 3. Also as soon as the Charles Center has money again I will be applying for another award so that we can have more money to pay participants with. All seems to be going smoothly, hope everyone is having a great week.

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Preliminary Jamestown Conclusions

So, here I am. It is the last week of official summer research for 2012 and what have I accomplished? I managed to gather between 20 and 23 Jamestown groundwater samples each week for nine weeks, that amounts to roughly 200 samples! Half of the samples were analyzed for iron, arsenic and dissolved organic carbon to determine the concentrations of these species and the degree to which dissolved arsenic and iron in the early colonists’ drinking water caused or (at the very least) exacerbated illnesses recorded in historical documents. Only 2 of 119 samples analyzed for arsenic, came back with values exceeding the WHO and EPA drinking water standard of 10 parts-per-billion (ppb)  arsenic. And even still, these values were 12.2ppb and 14.5 ppb, certainly prolonged exposure to these levels of inorganic arsenic could cause skin and lung irritation, but the health affects were likely minimal for the early colonists. BUT, prolonged exposure to high levels of organic arsenic can cause nerve injury and stomachaches, and thus, there is work left to be finished. My next step is to run my samples through a UV-Digester which will liberate any organic  arsenic attached to organic compounds ( up to 90% of arsenic in waters can be attached to organic compounds), which can be potentially metabolized by the human body.

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Climb a mountain? Don’t mind if I do!

Monday, July 16th

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