20 May 2020

As we’re approaching the last week of WISRD in the 2019-2020 school year, I wanted to update my journal with what I have been working on recently.

Publications report: We published the second issue of the fifth volume of The Inquirer last week, which can be found on the Publications page. Overall, it was a very smooth publication cycle on the writing and editing end, which I attribute to re-organizing the deadlines for quicker turnover and having more experience with the process as Senior Editor. Since a lot of people struggled with making deadlines in the fall, I found that shortening the time between deadlines put a bit more pressure on writers so they didn’t forget about their articles. However, we had some issues towards the end with the design process because the design software that we used didn’t allow for the publisher and myself to make edits directly into the magazine; we were instead forced to submit the edits to Colin, the designer, who would make them and then send us a new copy for another round of review. In the fall, I think we can avoid this issue by asking the Wildwood tech department for access to the InDesign program so we can make edits ourselves as we approach publication date.

In the past two weeks, we’ve also brought on board WISRD Fellow Amielle Moreno. Amielle is connected to the Institute through WISRD Publications publisher Scott Johnson, and she’s a neuroscience PhD from Emory University. She has extensive experience with science writing and will be a great asset to the Institute in providing guidance and writing skills coaching to our WISRD members. So far, she’s worked with Myles K. and Molly S. on their article on fluid dynamics for the WISRD Research Journal to be published in Fall 2020. She’s going to be working on Publications-related work like helping WISRD members develop skills and revise their writing for the Research Journal and magazine, as well as general writing skills coaching for journalling and CV writing. 

WISRD Board report: I have been elected to the position of Director of WISRD for the 2020-2021 school year. Ximena P. is the Programs Director, so I’ll be working with her, which I’m very excited about! I’m currently planning our first Board meeting as new directors, which will also be the last meeting of the 2019-2020 year. I’d like to use this meeting to get final reports from committees and groups, reflect on the Institute’s growth and shortcomings in the past year, and set some goals for next year. We can also form committees as needed to work on making progress towards those goals. We’ll also need to decide on a Treasurer and Historian for the Board next year.

My Goals for Next Year:

In Publications, I’d really like to continue working with Amielle to develop a better structure around scientific writing in WISRD. This may look like individual check-ins with her on magazine articles at one or two points in the publication cycle, or another format, but I feel that we could significantly increase the quality of the writing in The Inquirer if we give WISRD members the tools they need to improve their writing. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been something I have been able to focus on much because I am busy with so many other aspects of publication, but I think collaborating with Amielle on this will be mutually beneficial. Next, I’d like to add an Assistant Editor to the team who I can train to be Senior Editor when I graduate. We already have one WISRD member interested, and I’m hoping to hear from some other so that I can find someone who is a good fit and help them to develop their editorial and leadership skills over the course of next year. I’m also planning to publish the WISRD Journal in Fall 2020, so a goal this summer is get some research papers together over the break and get ready to edit and publish when school resumes in August. 

In terms of the WISRD Podcast, I plan to continue to work with Ian to produce monthly episodes. To make sure I have enough time to do this, I’m hoping to get some interviews recorded over the summer to release monthly into the fall, when I know I’ll be busy with the Journal and Inquirer. I’ll plan to reach out to him by the end of the week and start brainstorming about how we can conduct interviews remotely. Like I’ve discussed with Joe, the podcast is not only an effective tool for expanding WISRD’s platform, it also serves as a reflective exercise for WISRD members to refine the purpose and goals of their lab and practice articulating what it is they do and why.

I’m also a member of the WISRD Handbook Committee on the WISRD Board, so I’d like to continue working on that over the summer. The Handbook Committee was formed in response to the UCLA review of the Institute. One common suggestion for improvement was “more structure”, and many people left the Institute after their first year because they felt “lost”. I think that while it’s imperative to preserve WISRD’s contextual learning model, it’s also important to make it accessible and understandable, so we decided to work on a Handbook for new WISRD members to get an idea of the Institute’s norms, expectations, and labs. I think that the Handbook will be a great resource for incoming WISRD members and will help us to improve retention rates because newcomers will feel like they have a clear understanding of where they can fit into the Institute. Here’s the WISRD Handbook Proposal if you’d like to get a better idea of what we’ll be working on. 

Overall, it’s been a great year and I have developed so many new skills in editing, writing, leadership, and podcasting, and I’m excited to continue to strengthen them next year as Senior Editor and Director of WISRD.

23 March 2020

This is the first day of our second week of online school and WISRD work, and overall I think it’s gone very smoothly so far! I think that the success of WISRD even in this online format is a strong testament of the Institute model, because WISRD members aren’t conditioned to fulfull the student role where they need supervision and discipline to complete work that doesn’t serve any purpose in their learning. Instead, we have genuine curiousity in our work or research that drives meaningful learning, and that’s something that extends beyond the classroom. I think this approach to learning in WISRD has allowed us all to stay productive and engaged even though we’re not in the same room and being held accountable. 

Also, things are going well with the magazine. I finished the final edits on all of the articles I am looking over today, and Scott is working on his. We are on track to have all our final edits on by this Thursday as planned! We have extended the design deadline to this coming Friday so that the graphic design team has a bit more time to refine their work with the feedback they got from Colin.

On another note, Scott, Joe, Remy, and I all recently had a meeting on Zoom to discuss Remy’s research paper for the WISRD journal we’re hoping to publish later this spring, so we were able to give him some good feedback on how he can revise his paper, which is on VR. Hopefully we will get some of other papers in soon so I can review what we have to work with!

12 March 2020

Magazine Update: We have now edited all of the rough drafts submitted and returned them to the authors, so they are making revisions and will (hopefully) all turn in their final drafts by next Wednesday, March 18. I’ve also given the graphic design team their first assignment, which was to create some sample designs for five of the articles we are planning to publish. They are now in communication with Colin to get feedback on their designs as they work. 

Journal Update: I am reaching out to WISRD members who may have a reserach report to contribute to the journal so that we can start to figure out if we’ll have enough content to publish. I am really hoping we can find enough people to write papers because WISRD hasn’t publihsed a reserach journal in three years and we really need to be able to demonstrate that WISRD members are doing valuable research and being productive in WIRSD.

Podcast Update: We recorded the podcast with Molly and Myles, and it went really well. Our conversation was just under twenty minutes and we got a lot of great information about their aerodynamics research. Ian uploaded it onto his computer and is going to create a short introduction and edit it before we post it on the website. 

Twitter Update: I have been much better about tweeting lately! At InnovatED.LA, I posted a ton of photos and videos to the twitter about almost every booth and demonstration, and recorded WISRD members talking about their work. I also used a lot of hashtags on each post to create the most exposure and visibility for our posts beyond our followers. Also, I tweeted an announcement of the magazine release date with a preview of some of the article topics. I am proud of myself for doing this because it has been one of goals in WISRD for a long time and it was the first time I actually started using the Twitter.

20 February 2020

It’s been a while since I’ve journalled, because this has been a pretty slow time for the magazine, so I had just been working on my own article and getting some other WISRD-related work out of the way so I can really focus all my attention on the magazine when things start to get busy-  which is this week! We just had our deadline for all the rough draft articles, plus the cover and editor’s note designs, so there’s a lot of content to review right now. We have almost all of our articles in, so today Scott and I divided them up between the two of us and the Assistant Editor, Jack Stein. I also recieved  the design drafts from our Head Designer, Colin, and they look great! The next step is to get in touch with our collaborative graphic design team, and send them their initial assignments which they can start working on next week. At the same time,  I will need to get started with the editing process. 

In addition to the magazine, we are also launching our Podcast soon! Tomorrow, Ian and I, who have taken on the project, are meeting with Myles and Molly from the Aerodynamics lab to record the first episode! 

We’re also planning ahead for InnovatED.LA, and Joe suggested doing a live podcast from the event, so that may be our interactive Publications booth activity! I’m really excited about this project because it has a huge PR potential and could be very useful to the Institute if we execute it properly. 

24 January 2020

Magazine Update: We have all of our topics in besides two, which is fine because we will have plenty of articles without those two. It’s a pretty diverse pool of topics so I think this issue will be interesting! We have our check-in date coming up on Monday, so I will be sending our a reminder for everyone to share their articles to the folder and get started. 

Podcast Update: I shared my podcast pitch with the Board on Tuesday and it had already been approved so I am able to get started working on it! I talked with Ian N. (who had been working in getting the podcast started last year and has set up all the equipment) we talked about the format of the podcast. We decided that we wanted to ask Myles K. and Molly S. who work on aerodynamics to be our first guests, and they agreed! We are meeting with them on Tuesday of next week to discuss it and I will udpate the journal after that meeting.

13 January 2020

After a very productive week, everything is pretty much in place for the next magazine issue, so I can pick that up again as the topic due date approaches on Friday. In the meantime, I talked with Joe about starting the podcast, which didn’t gain much traction in the past year. This would be a great addition to Publications because it provides a new platform for reaching the scientific community outside of WISRD! Today I worked on a pitch for the Board and some ideas for episodes. Hopefully we can get the project approved for 2020 and start getting some episodes recorded to release monthly. We already have all the equipment and great resources in the tech department here at Wildwood, so I’m excited to try to get this off the ground!

10 January 2020

We’re ending our first week back from Winter Break, and we are starting another publication cycle! This semester we will be publishing another issue of The Inquirer and hopefully the WISRD Research Journal, as we have a few WISRD members who are prepared to write papers on their work over the past couple of years.

In preparing for the next magazine publication cycle, it’s gotten off to a much smoother start because of my experience last semester.

On Monday, our first day back, Scott and I set the schedule for writing, editing, and design deadlines, and emailed the writers for this semester. I think that some of the issues we had with getting people to turn in their articles on time last semester was because the incremental deadlines were too far apart, so writers were more likely to forget, lose momentum, or procrastinate. This time, I made the decision to tighten up the deadlines to put a bit more pressure on the writers and improve the timeliness of submissions.

On Tuesday, we had our Publications Intro presentations during WISRD blocks to go over the basics of writing the articles. I also decided to host two “Writers’ Workshop” days this semester where writers could come in and get help outlining, writing, or organizing their articles before first draft submission. The scientific writing process can be intimidating for anyone, but especially this group because we have a lot of freshman writing for the first time. I feel that if I invest more time in the process and help the writers to refine their work, then the product will be of higher quality and ultimately save time for the editing team in the revision process. Today I reserved dates and locations for these workshops. Hopefully, they will go well and we can implement this as one of our best practices in the Publications department in the future.

On Thursday, I had a meeting with Patter, the graphic design class teacher, and the five graphic design students with whom we collaborated on the first issue of the magazine this year. I feel that collaborating with the Wildwood community outside of WISRD is mutually beneficial to the advancement of the Institute and real-life experience for the graphic design students. It also provides a backup in case we don’t have enough designers on staff next year, as Colin is graduating. Unfortunately, we didn’t have great communication with the team last semester which led to frustrations around their work not being reflected enough in the final product. In the meeting, I proposed the following solution to the graphic desing team: between the assignment of their articles and the deadline for submission, the design team can have few face-to-face meetings with Colin in order to get feedback on their work before it’s submitted. I think that this will help to get everyone on the same page and make sure that the students’ work is represented. They agreed, and said that they would put together a new work group for the next issue!

19 December 2019

The magazine is finished and it will published on the website soon! Overall, this has been a very smooth publication process and we were able to put everything together! Right now we are just editing some minor issues.

My reflection is also done and submitted to Joe. Overall this was a successful and productive first semester and I am excited to build on this next semester!

6 December 2019

We’ve just completed our first week back from break and made a lot of progress with the magazine! First, Scott and I split up the eleven articles that are being considered for publishing and each edited some. We successfully met our deadline of finishing all of the final revisions by Friday, today. Now that we have that finished, we are moving on to deciding the order of the articles. We have this order in our Winter Inquirer folder on the Publications Drive. Also, we assigned two new articles to the Graphic Design team, who we are collaborating with for this issue of the The Inquirer. We will be getting these back by the end of next week and once Colin decides which ones fit best into the full design, we include them when we put together the magazine. So far, we are still on track to publish on December 19, the last day before Christmas break! We have eleven articles and all of them look great so I am really excited to see how it shapes up! 

In the time I have in WISRD before the design process starts picking up, I will be working on my WISRD relfection and performance assessment for my midyear narratives. During this process, I will collect evidence of use of each of the twelve standards and reflect on my strengths and streches in each standard, as well as form long-term and short-term standards-based goals. This proccess is integral to the context-based learning model because it allows WISRD members to reflect on what they have learned in the previous months, appreciate strengths, critique areas for growth, and make a game plan about how we can make our learning in the Institute more mearningful moving forward. My goal is to have this reflection complete by the end of next week so that I can use the last week of school to meet with Joe and get some feedback.

15 November 2019

Today is the last day before Thanksgiving break, so my main goal for today was to get everything ready for when we get back, because we will have less than three weeks until we are publishing the magazine on December 19th. Everyone who had their article edited has made their edits and turned in the paper, so we will be splitting up the articles for a final round of revisions between me and Scott. Overall, things are on track!

12 November 2019

We now have almost all of our articles in! All of the editing is done, thanks to help from our great team of editors, including Nnenna B., Ximena P., and Jack S., who contributed to this round of editing. I also met with our graphic design team today. They sent in a sampling of designs they created for last year’s articles for review. The samples look great, so we will be delegating a couple of articles to them this semester. The articles we know we will be publishing are:

Coral Restoration and Microfragmentation

DNA Kits


Smart Glasses and the Future of Virtual Reality

The Science of Wave Pools

Mathematics in Cancer Research

… And a special feature section on stress and anxiety

Stress and School

Links to Anxiety

These articles already look very promising in the early editing stages, so we’re very excited to see how the magazine shapes up. Colin has also sent in a first draft of the design for the covers and editor’s note, which look great as well. Everyone will (hopefully) have their article edits done by next Friday, November 22, and then we will start the final editing process. Once we come back from Thanksgiving break, it will be time to start collaborating on putting together the magazine!

8 November 2019

Today was the deadline for WISRD articles so we now have many of the articles in! Seniors have recieved extensions because of their college applications, which pushes back our timeline a bit, but I’ll be journaling more in the coming weeks about progress on the magazine.

5 November 2019

Last night was poster night, and it was a big success! I spent the week looking back at posters from years past and getting some ideas of what to put on our poster. Colin edited and updated the design, so he has a copy of that poster but I’ve uploaded the original onto the server. File path: Dumbledore > assets > WISRD Publications > PublicationsPoster_Fall 2019. We had a great turnout this time, and a lot of people stopped by the Publications table. We talked about the magazine, the journal, Twitter, and some upcoming projects, including the anthology and the podcast. Our biggest focus was how all of these mediums of communication enhance learning in the context-based learning model practiced here in the Institute. People seemed really interested in the work we were doing and lot of poeple asked how they could access our publications, so we put out a laptop with the Publications tab of the WISRD website up. Something that I learned last night was that in order to share our research more effectively, WISRD needs a way to promote our publications and labs without people having to seek us out. I think the podcast will be a great way to push WISRD PR to the next level, because it will be seen and consumed by people who aren’t necessarily looking for our content, but can then access our other social media, magazines, and journals through that platform. Overall, poster night was a big success and we are looking forward to a great year for WISRD Publications!

17 October 2019

We now have all of the article topics and documents in to the check-in folder. I’m keeping a document updating everyone’s progress each week, so here is where everyone is at right now. I emailed everyone writing this semester to start working on their articles, since our first draft is due November 8, so we will see how that goes this week!

Last Updated: Oct 17 8:35AM

Emily: Stress & School

  • Completed white paper

Ian: Kuiper Belt

  • Title only

Jackson: Aerodynamics of Wind Tunnel

  • Title, intro

Lea and Grace: Links to anxiety

  • 1 page paper

Myles: Mathematics in Cancer Research

  • List of sources

Sadie: Aquanauts

  • List of sources, complete outline, some writing

Ximena: DNA Kits

  • Outline, extensive notes, sources

Zach: Smart Glasses and the Future of Augmented Reality

  • Title only

Reid: History of Laser Cutters

  • Title only

Luis: Plastic Turned into 3D filament

  • Title

Tobey: Health Effects of Cosmic Rays on People and Astronauts

  • Title only

Violet: Coral Restoration and Micro-Fragmentation

  • Title only

Max: Progression of Prosthetics

  • Title

Toochi: Black Holes

  • Title only

Eli: Science of Wave Pools “A New Wave”

  • Title, research question, brief intro

3 October 2019

The check-in deadline was on September 30, which was over the long weekend, so we have started to get some documents now! Some of them seem promising, others we need to check in with the author to get some clarification on their topics. Since this is only the beginning stage, I think it will all turn out well and we will have great articles to publish this semester!

27 September 2019

Today, I spoke with the students in the graphic design class, who are potential vendors for WISRD publications.  There is a team of five students who are going to be collaborating with Colin to assist him with magazine design. While Colin will handle the big-picture design of the issue and the front cover, back cover, editors note, etc., we will be giving the graphic design students the opportunity to submit a few designs for each article, and then Colin and I will look over them and decide which (if any) we will use. This partnership will be beneficial for the Institute in the future because it is a backup for us in case we can’t find an internal Head Designer for the magazine next year, after Colin graduates, and it gives WISRD members experience dealing with vendors and outside collaborators, which contributes to the real-world and interpersonal learning goals of the Institute model. After the meeting, I followed up with the graphic design students via email regarding next steps and gave them some topics we’ve received that may get published this semester so that they can begin work on practice designs.

16 September 2019

Right now is a bit of a dead period with the magazine because we have everything in place, and now we are waiting for the deadlines to start coming around so that we have articles to look over and edit! We have gotten some topics in, but a lot of people are a late so Jack and I are following up with people via email and in person.

6 September 2019

This week I started planning semester assignments for the WISRD popular science magazine, The Inquirer. We have very uneven numbers this year: ten freshman, five sophomores, four juniors, and fourteen seniors. Usually, we try to do sophomores and juniors first semester and freshman and seniors second semester, because the freshman need time to figure out their labs and the seniors have college applications. Since the numbers didn’t work out that way, we decided to the sophomores, juniors, and half of the seniors first semester and the other seniors and freshman second semester. We will be assigning which seniors will write this semester at random in the coming week. I also determined the deadlines for the semester, which are as follows:

Inquirer Deadlines

Topic Due Date – everyone emails us with their topics : Mon 9/16

Check-in date – everyone puts in their article to a shared folder: Mon 9/30

First draft – Mon 10/28

First edits – Fri 11/8

Second draft – Fri 11/22

Final draft edits complete – Fri 12/6

Publication – Thurs 12/19

Design Deadlines

Design Front cover, back cover, table of contents, editor’s note: Fri 11/8

Design Articles pages: Mon 12/2

Final Design/Construction: Thurs 12/12

Publish: Thurs 12/19

Additionally, we gave the “Introduction to Publications” presentation to each WISRD block this week. This presentation was created a few years ago by the previous Senior Editor, so I made some small modifications and used those slides. The goal of the presentation is to make WISRD members aware of the expectations for writing an article and the deadlines they will adhere to, and also to express the importance of scientific writing as a part of the research and learning process- your work doesn’t matter if you can’t communicate it and make meaning from your learning in WISRD! The magazine is an opportunity for WISRD members to practice these skills with lots of guidance from the editors, and they will solidify the skills they learn when write in the original research Journal at the end of the school year. Scott gave the presentation for section 1 because it is during his free period, I gave the presentation for section 2, and Board Member Emily R. gave the presentation to section 3.

27 August 2019

The past week, I’ve mostly focused on setting up the Publications shared Drive for the year with folders and made sure everyone has access. I also created a to-do list with everything we have to get done before we can start the magazine process. I wasn’t sure how to get started, so I looked back at the system Josie had in place in 2017 to get an idea of how to organize the deadlines and other information. First, I confirmed the editing and design roles with everyone on the Publications team. I also spoke with the WISRD Board about the policy for writing articles this year. At the end of the last school year, the Board was unsure whether we would require everyone to write articles or if it would be optional. At the Board meeting, we decided to make writing an article a requirement for WISRD, because writing is one of the fundamental skills neccesary to spread your findings and communicate with others in scientific community, so it should be one of the foundational concepts of the Institute.

19 August 2019

This year I will be the Senior Editor of Publications, so I will be working with the Publisher, Scott Johnson, our Assitant Editor, Jack Stein, and Head Designer, Colin Horn. We will also be adding more editors to the team to help us out with editing and revising magazine articles for this semester. I’m so excited to get started working on the magazine with the whole team!

22 May 2018

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!

13 March 2018

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.

13 February 2018

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

Quantity: 4

Item: Plastic tray

Dimensions: 39 in L, 38 in W, 3 in Depth

Quantity: 1

Item: Resevoir tank

Dimensions: 9.5 in L, 19.5 in W, 20 in Depth

Quantity: 8

Item: Structural tubing

Dimensions: 38 in L

Quantity: 4

Item: Structural tubing

Dimensions: 28 in L

Quantity: 4

Item: Structural tubing

Dimensions: 39 in L

Quantity: 4

Item: 90 degree tubing connectors

Dimensions: TBD, circumference uniform with structural tubing circumference

Quantity: 8

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.

3 February 2018

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.

29 January 2018

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.


22 January 2018

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.

16 January 2018

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