Since my last journal entry on this page, I have been journaling exculsively on the Hydroponics page. You can see all the work from the past two months there, as I have updated it every couple of days. This is my last day of WISRD, and I’m not able to take the class next year so I will be back in the 2019-2020 school year!
Recently I have not been able to work on the Hydroponics project as much as I have been focusing on creating a Podcast project pitch and paper. I have also been doing GAVRT meetings and working on getting the data transferred to a spreadsheet on the computer, which I plan to eventually put on the server. Today, I was back in Hydroponics. Yesterday Sadie and Ximena had been using the DC (direct current) power supply to test the amps of each of the molar solutions. Today, Joe explained to us the fundamental laws of physics and we were able to draw connections to how each is used in our project. This also helped because we were able to identify that since amps isn’t a fundamental law itself it must be representative of a relationship between two of the fundamentals. Because amps is shown by dq/dt, or delta charge delta time, it is the relationship between charge and time. When using the DC power supply, we couldn’t get any accurate data because the probes became clogged and eventually corroded. This is because we’re using NaCl, which is made up of sodium (Na), and chlorine, (Cl). We had two probes, one positively charged and one negatively charged, in the power supply. The negative probe attracted sodium, which is positively charged, and positively charged probe attracted chlorine, which is negatively charged. Since this clogging is causing the corrosion, we had to think of a way to counteract the clogging. We decided that it would divert the sodium from the negative probe and the chlorine from the positive probe if we switched the charges of the probe. This can be acheived by using and AC, or alternating current, power supply. By using the AC, we can avoid buildup and corrosion.
We also talked about when we’re going to actually build our structure, which we need to get started on. I have a list of what we need in my journal, so we’re going to have the whole team and Joe go through that. On Sadie G.’s journal, we have a list of what we already have in the current lab, so we will also need one unified list with everything we have and need to get. Then we can start finding our materials and then building.
Today I’m beginning to work out what parts we need to build the new lab. Once Sadie and Ximena are finished with the spectrometer, we’re going to continue dismantling the lab and take inventory of what of we have to work with. The rest we will need to purchase or find at WISRD. Here’s a preliminary listing of the materials we’ll need to gather. As we get more details on what we have and lab extensions, including resevoir valves and a lighting system, I will provide an updated list as well as a final list with budgeting on the server with a file path on my personal and joint Hydrponics pages. Note: Below the list is the rest of my journal for today!
Item: Clear piping
Dimensions: 39 in L, 3 in Diameter
Item: Plastic tray
Dimensions: 39 in L, 38 in W, 3 in Depth
Item: Resevoir tank
Dimensions: 9.5 in L, 19.5 in W, 20 in Depth
Item: Structural tubing
Dimensions: 38 in L
Item: Structural tubing
Dimensions: 28 in L
Item: Structural tubing
Dimensions: 39 in L
Item: 90 degree tubing connectors
Dimensions: TBD, circumference uniform with structural tubing circumference
In addition to Hydrponics, I also worked on an outline and research for podcast white paper. Since we are having our first meeting at lunch tomorrow, I wanted to have something prepared for people to look over so we can all get a better grasp on how to explore the project further. Afterwards, I made a short agenda of topics I’d like to cover tomorrw. We have just over a half hour, so it can be flexible.
On Wednesday, I watched a live presentation from the GAVRT Complex on their Facebook page given by Dr. Walid Majid from JPL. I didn’t really know anything about pulsars before this, so I did some really basic background research before the lecture. I learned that pulsars are large, dense, spherically-shaped celestial objects. They’re about the size of a city, but they contain more mass than the sun. Pulsars are highly magnetized neutron stars that emit two steady streams of light. As the pulsar spins, the light appears as a steady, pulsing blinking pattern. Since the rate of the pulses is determined by the spin, their frequency can reveal the speed of rotation.
When the lecture started, there were several minutes of technical issues where they couldn’t get the audio to work, so I missed some of the information, but I took notes where I could. Below I have highlighted some of the main pieces of information I took away from the presentation:
Pulsars were accidentally discovered in the 1967 by Joceyln Bell and Anthony Hewish, who were using a new four-acre telescope to observe quasars. They were using a km strip chart, but found signals occupying only a few mm, which was a result of the pulse effect created by pulsar rotation. They found several source with similar behavior. They published a paper in Nature in 1968 on pulsars defined the pulsar frequency formula as P = 1.3372795 +/- 0.000002s. Pulsars are the remnants of supernova explosions are rapidly rotating, with spin periods as fast as one millisecond. Dr. Majid also presented recordings of four identified pulsars: B0239+54, Crab pulsar, B1937+21, 47 Tuc.
Currently, there are 2500 detected pulsars, most of which have been located in the radio band. Only 20 percent of these 2500 are beamed towards Earth, and there are an estimated 100,000 in the galaxy. There are three classes of pulsars predicated on rotation rate. The first is normal, rotation powered pulsars. The second is millisecond pulsars, which are spun up by accretion, so the spin is recycled. The fastest is magnetars, which are have a super high magnetic field.
In order to study pulsars, scientists need knowledge of matter at nuclear densities, which is impossible to test at any lab on Earth, and measurements of mass and radius of NSs constrain the equation of state of matter at nuclear densities. This determines how much matter can be “squeezed”, and it can be used to learn about how the matter inside the stars behaves. Pulsars also act as cosmic clocks, and change can be determined by change in rotation direction and rate because it takes a massive amount of energy and change to change the course and rotation rate of a pulsar that weighs 10 (to the 27) tons.
Some pulsars experience orbital decay, one example of which is the first pulsar-neutron star binary discovered in 1974 by Taylor and Hulse. Because two pulsars had such tight orbits around one another, the orbital decay could be identified as 3.5 meters per year. Pulsars can also give information as to how galaxies merged. If you gather a baseline of stable pulsars over the course of several years, information about gravitational wave emissions can be collected. This use of pulsars has been pursued in international efforts between Canada, European nations, and the US through NASA’s DSN. To further studies in this area, astronomers are hoping to find a pulsar in a black hole neighborhood at the center of the galaxy, which allows for comparison between masses and gravitational force exertion. UCLA is now working on developing a timescale using pulsars as the pulsars can be identified and communicate with an observatory and a fleet of GPS satellites. In this sense, pulsars can act as nature’s GPS because they can determine position of radio telescope independent of GPS, and the result was nearly as accurate as a GPS.
Pulsars are actually detected using a folding technique, through which a series of periodic emissions are recorded and compiled. If you know a pulse period is every one second, you can take each second and fold it on top of the next one, ultimately producing a comprehensible graph. Therefore, the detection of pulsars requires a great amount of computing horsepower. The folding technique can measure a pulsar’s spin period, period derivative, and DM over the long term. It’s also effective because it can identify glitches and subsequent recoveries.
Overall, I really enjoyed the talk and I think that a lot of what I learned applies to my GAVRT work right now, and what doesn’t will definitely serve me well in the future. I also realized that althought the lecture was live, it’s saved to GAVRT’s Facebook Timeline, so I can reference it anytime I want to.
Hydroponics Update: Looking back at the archived journals, I saw that last year’s hydroponics team scheduled a consultation with a hydroponics company to discuss how to build a functional lab. Although we already have our lab designed, I though it would still be valuable to get some expert opinions any issues that may arise with our design and how to counteract them. I have gotten in touch with a few hydroponics companies to ask about a consultation, so hopefully that will work out and we can talk with them before moving forward. I also got in touch with some of the members of last year’s and asked them if they felt it was a good investment and whether they would work with the same company again.
Podcast Update: I sent out an email about forming an exploratory committee for the podast to all WISRD members last Friday. Over the weekend, I got two emails back from people who want to be involved. One of the tech associates is also enthusiastic about collaborating with us, so I am scheduling a time to talk with him as well. I’m going to give it until the end of the week to see if anyone else within WISRD wants to be apart of the committee. After that, I am going to ask people specifically, inside and outside of WISRD, who I know would be interested in some aspect of the project. Once I have at least a few more people on board I am hoping to schedule a meeting so that we can talk about and begin work on a proposal for the podast projects. I am really hoping that someone from Publications is interested because they are knowledgable about WISRD’s PR, but they’re also very busy so I can’t ask again.
Today, my Hydroponics teammates Sadie G. and Ximena P. went downstairs to the lab to begin clearing the plants and growblocks out of our lab and begin working on dismantling it so we can see what parts we have to work with. It’s going to take some time so deconstructing the lab is something we’ll be working on over the course of this week and probably next. While they are doing that, I have been working to put together the logistics for a new potential project, which would be a WISRD podcast. I’m going to talk to the board about it tomorrow to gauge enthusiasm amongst WISRD members, though Joe has expressed a lot of interest. In addition, I will need to check in with Hydroponics teammates and compare the parts they’ve salvaged with the materials we’ll need for our new lab. I also spent some time looking back at the journals of last year’s Hydroponics team, and they said that they set up a consultation with professionals with a hydroponics company before they began building. I think that’s definitely something we should do as we are bound to encounter obstacles and it would be helpful to have knowledge and a support system to deal with issues we may encounter. Lastly, I need to schedule times with our collaborator, Jesse B., to discuss how we incorporate an Arduino lighting system into our lab setup; we will need to get the ball rolling on that soon as I am not sure how big of a project that is and how much time it will take. So this week, we are planning to work on deconstructing our lab, communicate with collaborators, go reevaluate the parts we need for the new lab, and research and schedule a hydroponics consultation. And, if the board approves the podcast idea, I will need to finish working our those logistics with Joe, our potential collaborator, Jody, and WISRD publications.
This past week in WISRD, myself and the other members of the hydroponics group have worked to reach a better understanding of the institute model and how we can use to to explore our project. As a context r