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Two and half weeks at the SETI Institute.

It has been a few weeks since the start of the CAMPARE REU program here at SETI and all I can say is that I have been blown away with everything. This will be a fairly long post as I have three weeks of this internship to fill you in on so lets get started at the beginning. I took a flight on 6/18 from LAX to the San Jose airport and this was my first flight since I was a baby so its fair to say I was really nervous boarding the plane for my short one hour flight. I arrived at the NASA Ames lodge where I would be staying for the duration of the research internship program around 2pm. After getting situated and meeting my roommate we went to the bbq at SETI where we would be meeting our mentors and some of the others researchers for the first time.  I meet my mentor Dr. Gerry Harp and we discussed what I would be doing for the summer and what other interesting recent events in science news had caught my interest.

The research did not begin until Tuesday because all of Monday was filled with orientation stuff from both NASA and SETI.  I have been working with Octave to do all my programming. If you have no idea what Octave is neither did I, but it is essentially the free version MATLAB. We are combing through tons of data received by the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) to find some kind of Extraterrestrial (ET) signal. It’s super awesome/weird to say that I am looking for aliens but it’s what I am doing here. The program my mentor asked me to write is trying to reduce the number of data points from our autocorrelation files to something that Excel can handle. That was what most of my work week and a half consisted of.

On Wednesday of the second week we went to a baseball game. I have never been to a baseball game so it was a interesting experience learning about the game. The SF Giants were playing against the CO Rockies. If any of you follow baseball you know that this game was not looking to be in the Giants favor but through a series of great plays they won 5-3. There was also a planned geology/astrobiology weekend field trip in the Pescadero area. We spent 2 1/2 days and 2 nights in a hostel near a lighthouse which was very nice. We spent the trip making observations and taking note of what we saw. One highlight from that was on the last day while looking at some rocks on the first rock I picked up at the request of another REU student and split it in half there was a fossil. I do not have pictures of it but our field trip mentor Rosalba took a few which I will post when I get them. We also helped Rosalba make authentic Italian spaghetti which was super delicious.

Now its just been work and 4th of July adventure in SF. So I won’t be making long posts like this again and most likely updating at least once a week probably on Sunday nights so I can recap the week. Other than that hope you enjoyed the read and until next time.

— Jose Barrios

Left: Clement Center Front: Sean Center Back: Me Right: Sergio

Left: Clement
Center Front: Sean
Center Back: Me
Right: Sergio

Right behind me is Aerb In purple Sergio In green Troy Pointing is Sean Far Back is Khanh

Right behind me is Aerb
In purple Sergio
In green Troy
Pointing is Sean
Far Back is Khanh

Me at SETI on the first day

Me at SETI on the first day

Troy getting some pebble “therapy”

At&T Park Gate

Baseball Field

A big tree. Person for scale.

Sweet Tafone formation

SETI wall part 1

SETI wall part 2

SETI wall part 3

SETI wall part 4

 

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4 comments to Two and half weeks at the SETI Institute.

  • Bianca Cruz

    Hey Jose! I’m at Stanford! Maybe we can meet up together in the city! I’d love to see your lab!

  • Jose Barrios

    Awesome! Sure I’d love to meet up some time it would be fun. I’ll be heading to the city this Saturday with Lepore who I know is also at Stanford. See if you can get my number from her. My work area is not super exciting but I’ll see if you guys can come in.

  • Cristilyn Cortez

    Thank your for sharing your photos Jose. I just wanted to say that I think the research you are doing so freaking awesome! It reminds me of the movie Contact :)

  • Jose Barrios

    You’re welcome Cristilyn I also really enjoyed looking at your pictures. I am so jealous of you getting to go white water rafting it look like lots of fun. And yeah it is pretty awesome, but I do not know if it is as cool as the movie Contact haha.

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