Saturday, October 23, 2010

Way behind

Wow, ok I am way behind my blog and I don't think I am doing a good job catching up. Oh well, I think the thing is to just keep writing. I reminded of classes where I am definitely way behind...

We did an interesting experiment for our Biological Physics class assignment, where we had to measure the relationship between the radius of a container and the time it takes to come to a complete stop when you stir the water in it. So Raph got 3 cylinders  of high aspect ratio of the Physics building, some coffee powder and a screwdriver. We then proceeded to do that and found that the relationship is somewhat quadratic! Then the assignment proceeded to show us that this might be caused by the diffusion of the "zero" velocity from the outer rim of the cylinder in, using the diffusion equation... And we are looking at this only in 2D. And I think the idea of using a high aspect ratio seemed to be that the spinning can be perpetuated by the vortex generated, as compared to using a cup and the spinning will probably stop faster and we can't measure much. Then if we imagine a whirlpool or tornado, I guess that explains why things just keep spinning even after the forces or currents that are feeding the vortex stops, even after a considerable amount of time. Ok, that's just what I think... This sounds so undergrad suddenly haha...

Anyway, this entry is also about retreats (if you can catch the weak link between "way behind" and "retreating"; ok lame nvm) symposiums. So far I have gone to:
1) CBB retreat
2) MCDB retreat
3) MB&B retreat
4) Yale Systems Biology Institute Symposium

and there is a fifth one, Sackler's Institute Retreat coming up soon. There were always the great free food, great posters, good company, superb lineup of talks and some activities. After attending so many of them, I have come to a conclusion that I couldn't definitely be interested in so many of them and I possibly couldn't understand fully all of them, BUT, to be able to generate logic and form interesting questions by asking lots of basic "hows" and "whys" actually help in the thought process of doing research. And perhaps, that is what I should be learning out of these smorgasbord of presentations and posters: not entirely the context of the research, but the way these ideas were conceived and carried out. By talking to people, you generally are trying to tap into these mental wells. I think that is how and why communication is important in science.

Of course, another objective would be to know where I want to be heading. Haha. I am still wavering, though. But I do realize some things (seriously after so much exposure, you wonder if you are desensitized to all these already sometimes) and I am working on them, so hopefully I will come to a conclusion and I will be getting what I want; or the former can also work if the latter fails to fruit...

Anyway, enough of ramblings, here are some pics from CBB retreat. Since I am from CBB, L said she will be expecting us to come up with something good for the entertainment segment in next year's CBB retreat AND every year has been good. Well, thanks for the pressure haha. Maybe this coming one would be an exception haha. But anyway, this year D and C made (yes handmade!) a pop-up book of the "Chronicles of the Burgeoning Bullfrog" (C.B.B.) LOLX and E was made the protagonist (i.e. bullfrog) and tell the story to everyone. It's an obvious choice, really (he is so vivacious!) =) That was nice. Cosy and warm, reminded me of the time when I was in lower primary and the teachers would read these big books in front of the class. Those were the carefree days...

Oh, and there's the Dean's Fall reception for graduate students at HGS. I always liked the courtyard at HGS, it's so lovely in fall. Anyway, just to let you guys have sense of how hungry but well-fed the grad students are:

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