Quiet before the storm?

Last week was a little uneventful, which meant it was my most productive research week so far! I finally made a pretty and giant code to get all the information from the database at once. I was sooo happy but, also, felt incredibly lame at the same time. The issue that was holding me up was figuring out how to string together multiple queries. After Googling for days, literally, and trying allllllll sorts of combinations, I got frustrated enough to just put the dang queries next to one another AND IT WORKED! So you see, I was thrilled and thoroughly annoyed. Haha. With a functionin code, I worked away, pulling data, organizing, analyzing and even graphing! I even got a “Good Job!”, exclamation point included.

Aside from research advances, I was really proud of myself for finishing my Journal Club presentation a whole 6 days ahead of time! It was nice to not stare at it for a few days before getting a list of corrections from my mentor. Thankfully the correction was not “This is bullocks! Start over!” It’s really only a few minor changes to give my presentation a better sense of the big picture. I’ve never been great at explaining the big picture to others. This will be good practice! My presentation is on a paper written by Andrew Siemion from UC Berkley about the SETI projects conducted there with a focus on Astropulse, conducted at the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico and Fly’s Eye, conducted at the Alan Telescope Array in Northern California ran by SETI Institute. Both projects search for radio pulses sent by extraterrestrial intelligent beings. So, it’s almost like I’m a spy reporting back on the competitor’s activities! (But not really since the paper was published 4 years ago and the authors work closely with SETI’s radio astronomy team.)

While I’ve kept myself gainfully employed, I’ve actually worked out and continued to study for the GRE! It helps that I keep the weekends and evenings pretty quiet. It’s actually kind of nice to do nothing on a weekend. I’m so used to running around doing errands and visiting family that doing nothing has been great! Though, I’m also really excited to have my husband come up this weekend. We’re calling it our Movie Weekend, 2 movies in 2 days! (It was going to be 3 movies but we’re attending the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Universe 2014 public event on Sunday. Dr. Jill Tarter and Dr. Chris McKay and Dr. Geoff Marcy will be speaking about SETI.)

Actually this whole week has been and will continue to be busy and awesome. Today’s SETI Talks colloquium was given by a PhD student at UC Davis, Sona Hosseini, and was on the tunable spatial heterodyne spectrometer she built and does science with for her PhD program. Her story and how driven she is to create her own path is really inspiring. Tomorrow Dr. Seth Shostak is giving a talk on his experiences in Africa, I’m participating in a group interview for a documentary, called Madame Mars, on women in science and getting the first person on Mars to be female (which definitely needs to happen), then we’re taking a field trip to Lick Observatory in the evening. Thursday, Dr. Tarter is the colloquium speaker at Ames, Friday is my Journal Club presentation and this weekend is Movie Weekend! Then there’s only three weeks left! Oh. Man.

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