Hillslope Asymmetry update (2)

Reading from my last post you know that we collected 117 samples for the purpose of detecting Cesium-137 concentrations. After collection of the samples they were oven dried at 105° C for at least 48 hours. I then spent a couple days weighing all the samples to obtain the oven dried mass. At this point the samples were all in chunky, hard blocks. The soil samples had to be ground down to a very fine clay like size in order for the gamma spectrometry to work. This was done pretty much manually, grinding them down with my hands or with the help of a shovel or hammer. The organic layer samples (consisting of leaves, twigs, roots etc.) were ground down carefully using a Wiley mill.

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Hillslope Asymmetry work update (1)

In continuing my work with hillslope asymmetry, one of the most helpful things will be getting the erosion rates on the slopes. In order to determine the erosion rates for the slopes I’ll be employing the use of Cs-137 concentrations as described in my first post. At the study area in the college woods, we decided to pick ten sample locations along a straight hillslope transect.

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A dataset of my very own…

Data collection is complete! This project has been in development in one form or another for months, and the full analysis will occupy me for some time to come, but the study itself took just a few hours. After going through several iterations, the final research design was an online survey, albeit a slightly unconventional one. Respondents each uploaded three screenshots of posts from their Facebook newsfeeds, either posts about politics (the treatment group) or about sports (the control group). Afterwards, they responded to a series of survey items about their political opinions. Once this research design was decided upon, the project moved very quickly, from building and testing the survey on Qualtrics to releasing it on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Perhaps the most stunning was the revelation that a survey I launched in the early evening had met its response quota before the end of night. Now, after all the planning and preparation, I have an actual dataset of my own to analyze, plus a folder full of Facebook screenshots in need of coding! While the results may support or fail to provide evidence for the hypotheses, it is incredibly gratifying to finally be able to engage with the theory beyond just my own speculation. Regardless of what the analysis shows, I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to make this project a reality.

Research Update

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the long time since my last post – this summer has been crazy busy!  I am thoroughly enjoying my first summer of doing research.  I have learned a lot about the chemical synthesis projects I am working on, as well as lots of laboratory skills and procedures.  While there was a bit of a learning curve to start the summer, I quickly felt comfortable working in the lab.

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Progress on Single Molecule Dye Fading Project

What I have been doing this summer has been very different than what I initially expected. I started the summer attempting to study the photochemistry dye molecules in oil environments. Then, on the second day Dr. Wustholz asks my partner and I to perform some single molecule studies of alizarin dye our fancy new laser. We are hoping that the higher energy of this laser will allow us to observe some unique photochemistry that could not occur with our 532 nm laser. The data we collect might be the missing link for publishing a paper.

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