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Better late than never! My three-week experience thus far

Good late-rotation of Earth!

I go by Lepore, and it’s been a wild few weeks here at Stanford.

I took an airplane ride over on June 29th, and I got my workout for the month by hefting a suitcase above my head to the overhead bins and then having to bring it back down an hour later without giving any bystanders a concussion. Luckily, I was accepted into this program for astrophysics research and not an athletics scholarship in suitcase-atics. Yet I was soon to find that my stay here was actually going to be a mix of the two as I lugged three suitcases up three flights of stairs. But for all of it’s work, the house was perfect.

My habitat for eight weeks!

My room is lovely and my roommates are lovelier! Though I swear, this house looks green in the day but blue in the night.

As for research, I’m over at the Kavli Institute in the Physics and Astronomy Building. After hours, my ID works as a pass for the sensors outside the building. It feels very James Bond to scan an ID through a wallet without opening it, with the door beeping and unlocking to open to empty hallways and dim lights. Maybe a little more Quartermaster considering I have a cubicle and not a sports car, but Quartermaster also doesn’t die all the time in movies so I’m more than happy with this.

Me at my workplace via Android’s terrible front-facing camera. Please enjoy all three pixels.

Upon getting settled, I started research with dark matter simulations with my mentor, Risa Wechsler. Unfortunately, the first two weeks, my emulators of emulators for simulations were crashing harder than a student during finals week. It was a lot of research papers and debugging those weeks. The third week I got a loaner mac and finally got to really dig in.

I traveled over to UCSC to meet with Alexie Leauthaud late last week via the metro and two buses. I had a very productive time! I’ll get more in depth about my research with Risa and Alexie next blog post.

A note: the learning curve is enough to give me whiplash from the centripetal force of driving along it. But it’s so fun along the way, and so, so worth it when I get to finish reading through a research paper and actually understand what I just read. It’s been a long road of google scholar searches, database mining at the Stanford library, research paper recommendations, and (shhhhh…) Wikipedia. And I know I’ve got miles to go before I sleep. But again: so worth it.

I got into astrophysics because space is a terrifying, unknowable abyss and I respect that. It makes me feel so small and insignificant but so awestruck at how much there is to learn and love. Stanford is a lot like that. And I respect that. Let’s see if I get some respect back. Tune in next time!

Stay safe!
Sincerely,

Lepore

 

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