Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day 3

So, I got to ride my bike for the first time to the DC. That meant no waking up early and definitely not spending a life time eating breakfast. We met Hannah (RA) at 8:40 outside the DC to go to Keck Caves. At first, our entire cluster believed that we were actually going to explore some caverns. It turns out that this was just a fancy name for a computer lab. How lame. They totally proved me wrong though.
So, we got there and our teacher was 10 minutes late. When he arrived, however, I totally forgave him because he had a German accent. Oliver (the guy) was really quirky, but really cool. When we went inside the room all we really saw were a bunch of computers and a white cube without a top and a south wall. It was probably about 8x8, so its pretty small. Unfortunately, 5 people were only allowed at a time so the rest of us crammed in the hallways outside.
We had no idea what the heck was going on in there, but we were in for a real surprise. To kill time we played Zip Zap and after that got old, we just sat around and chatted with our neighbors. Then Danny showed up and took everyone but Sean, Tim, Max, Tiffany and I to go on a tour of the Shields Library (largest library on campus). After the first group had there 50 minutes of whatever they were doing, our group was allowed in.
To begin, Oliver asked us to remove our shoes and put on some white fluffy booties (they felt like they were made of cotton). Then we stepped into the white cube. On the wall in front of us was a picture of the Earth and we were highly unimpressed because it just sat there. Then Oliver asked me to put on these really nerdy looking goggles. Reluctantly I did so and the Earth was right in front of me. I could touch it and the pixels would wiggle. I could run my hands through it and the pixels would follow and then the sphere wouuld revert back to its normal form. I could walk around it and touch all the continents and everything! It was amazing!
Everyone pretty much thought I was insane because all they were seeing was a 2D picture of the Earth.
Eventually we all got goggles and were able to look at molecules, to be surrounded by them and touch them. He let us all share one controller with which we were allowed to build structures and tear them down. There really isn't anything I could say to describe it. Extraordinary!
Oh we also looked at the Earth and its core and every earthquake recorded in the last 100 years. They are these little white dots for 5.0 on the scale and red dots for 9.0 and various colors for different magnitudes. Oliver took us below the surface and millions of dots rushed passed us and through us. By using this program, we could find out where and when the earthquake happened and how deep it was. It's neat cause some dots are right on the surface while others are 800 km below the surface.
Afterward, we (the 5 of us) got a grand tour of the Shields library which wasn't very enthralling just because the speaker was very sluggish. The place is huge, but unfortunately, I have no taste for the grotesque modern art that seems to be around every corner.
Then came lunch and then the chem magic show put on by Prof. Franz and her students. There were other kids and people there from summer camps and town and what not who were wowed by bottle rockets, neon and iodine reaching equilibrium. That entertained me for about an hour; at around 2 p.m we returned to Oliver's place where we got to build molecules and test them out in the "cave" or the white cube. We used the programs he designed (he's a computer scientist + he's German + single = unbelievable I know). Then at 3:30 again class was over!
Much to our dismay, Danny decided to take us on another one of his library excursions. This time it was the Geology, Physics and Sciences Library. The speaker was also very...dull...and most of us were dying of heat.
After that, the girls in our cluster and one guy went back to the dorm to do whatever. However, the guys and I went bowling. 4 vs. 4. Oh, and I also met the coach...I think his name's Jerry. He's a real talker, but means well. Bowling was so fun! The guys are great!
Then we went to eat dinner and I just headed back to the dorm at around 6:15 or so. There really wasn't much to do so I just talked with my roomies for awhile. Oh and every night at 9 we have to meet with our RAs for updates and what not. Aaron invited to come and play some cards in the lounge and just hang out. I went upstairs, changed into some comfortable sweats and found that about 16 people were playing. It took us about 20 minutes to actually decide anything. We came up with Mafia, 'cept we played with hand squeezes as opposed to paper and a clever story. It was really fun even though Charley wouldn't stop bouncing or swinging my hand. That was hilarious actually. I thought he was spazzing out.
We played till 10 and had to head to bed.
And now, here I am...blogging at midnite.
Yeah, Jackie, Stephanie and I just talked forever. They're such amazing people. :D
Well, I'll keep on blogging. It's acutally kind of fun. Lol.


  1. Zo, Germans are allood to be late, yes? You know of course the ve haf vays of making you TALK ABOUT SCIENCE!!

    Did you ever find out the name of the white cube or the technology it was using? I assume Keck Caves was the name of the entire lab or the building? Ah...never mind, I just looked it up: Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences.

    You can follow them/it at

    If you get another chance to visit CAVES, ask if you can view some of the biological morphology examples. See if they have some interesting fossils such as Triceratops or Velociraptor.

    What went on with the rockets, neon and iodine reaching equilibrium? What were the principles involved?

    Whenever you have a dull person speaking to you, it's even more important for you to ask questions than when the speaker is engaging. You will make the experience better for yourself and the people you are with. Practice asking good, thought provoking, insightful questions. If you go to the Shields library again, be sure to ask about journal access:

    What online subscription services do they have?
    Can you have a password to use their subscribed services since you are a student?

    Where are the print peer-reviewed journals located? Where can you obtain a list? What are some of the earliest (oldest) journals available? How do you go about getting a library card for UC? Which campuses will you have access to?

    When you have time to kill with your cluster or roomies, ask about their education, their plans, their interests in science and their experiences with science fairs. Use your time wisely. I am well-aware of the temptation to lose focus when no one else seems to be doing anything important.

    Please go back and answer some of the other questions I asked, if you have a chance.

    You should really take a look at the various websites created by and for your professors. I'd say they are extremely smart, hard working and focused to have achieved so much! Learn from their example.

  2. Get some sleep. It's better for you to go to bed early and do your blogging on the weekend or other spare time. Take care of yourself first!

  3. Regarding "he's a computer scientist + he's German + single = unbelievable I know", this is supposed to be "Science Camp", not "Man Camp."

    And what the heck is "Mafia?"

    Glad you enjoying yourself and that white cube sounds really neat.

    Mr. Nunes emailed me to. I'm glad you got to meet him. You can tell me more later.


  4. Hello Moni,
    I'm taking good care of Barney. I miss you!

    Love Moriah

  5. I'm glad you're having a great time and getting the hang of things. But try to remember names like the bowling coach and also, have you taken pictures if they were allowed. Take pictures of friends and places.


  6. I guess you took my "get some sleep" admonition to heart. If so, you should now be learning more about chemistry each day than you did in the entire month of June.

    Go Moni!! Be a brain. BTW, are you going to church on Sunday?