Monday, June 20, 2005

Beamline life (part 2)

Well, I'm still up on Long Island. Things are going relatively well. We are still waiting to receive the detector that was supposed to be here by the beginning of June. I feel pretty bad for Chris because he has a bunch of data that he needs to get before graduating and he sort of needs the new detector to get it. Because the detector isn't here yet, things are pretty laid back. We are doing what we can, but mostly are just twiddling our thumbs. I think we are going to make a video that we will use for our PhD presentations. Most of the members of our committees have never been here to Long Island so they don't really know what the research facility is like. Plus I think it would be nice to show to any friends or family members that are interested in where I spend my time when I'm up here.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Beamline life

So I've made it up to Long Island now. It has actually been a much nicer trip than usual. Having a coworker (Chris) up here has made things much more bearable, even enjoyable. Research has been coming along slowly, but I'm making some progress on my paper (which is a lot better than the zero progress I had been making lately).

I was playing around on Google Maps the other day and stumbled upon a restaurant about 10 minutes from the lab that looked intriguing. It's a bar/restaurant/art gallery that is in this old building. I'm not exactly sure what the building was originally--it sort looks like a club house at a country club that has been redecorated by artists. It is a great place. The food was excellent and the atmosphere was great. They have pool tables and several very comfortable looking couches. Chris and I will probably head over there again sometime soon to utilize their free wifi and comfortable couches. See this kind of a find may not seem like too big of a deal, but in a land of strip malls and Applebees, this place is a godsend.

Monday, June 06, 2005


I am about to embark on my longest trip to Long Island to date. 22 days. For those of you who have yet to have the opportunity to visit that fine island, let me tell you how exciting a place it is. The good is that Brooklyn is on one side and the Hamptons are on the other. The southern side is all beach with barrier islands. The north side is full of pretty, rocky shores. Everything that is enclosed within these boundaries is a large strip mall. When I travel to Long Island it's to do research at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). This is about 75 miles east of New York City. It sort of marks the boundary between the far reaches of New York City urban sprawl and the farmland that used to take up the majority of Long Island. Most of the old farm land has been converted to vineyards or summer houses for the non-uber-rich New Yorkers.

The lab itself is an interesting place. The portion of the lab I use, the National Synchrotron Light Source, has multiple experimental facilities each of which has a group of users that will come in and take data for some period of time (a couple days, a week, 22 days). This makes the lab an interesting place because you get people that are incredibly focused on their work--the data they are taking might be the only data they get for 6 months, so they have to be meticulous in everything. What this adds up to is a whole lot of people working at the same time while completely ignoring each other. It's fun. You can walk around the facility and walk past 10 people before someone acknowledges your existance.

This trip should actually be exciting though. We have improved our experimental facilities, so I should be able to get much better images than I've been able to get in the past. Plus Chris from my research group will be up there and we always have good times and we're productive when we work together.