How to begin ....... really, this has been a exciting, enjoyable, and extremely educational summer. I worked with a specific research group on my very own research projects as explained and described elsewhere in the web site. However, that is just the beginning. Professor Larry Weaver, theorist extraordinaire, also offered a series of lectures this summer. Early lectures were on topics the REU students needed at least some idea of for our collective research projects (Optics, Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, etc.). Towards the end of the summer he became a scientific DJ taking requests for topics we students were curious about, including String Theory and the Standard Model. The vast majority of the time Larry gives us overviews of things I haven't taken classes on yet, which means they are very interesting, but a lot of the time I don't quite understand the equation parts. Once he talked about antimatter and all the different particles and such, which I had a class on! Oh boy! He told us some really interesting things that I didn't know before, and helped give me a slight boost in my ongoing battle to understand Feynman diagrams. You can see Larry's picture on the KSU Physics homepage. He's the guy at the top who looks really excited to be teaching people stuff.
Besides the great physics lectures, we REU students also explored the unique, thrilling world of scientific ethics. Professor Bruce Glymour and ................ led us in weekly discussions of all kinds of ethical quandaries and principles. Since these classes were so interesting, they have their very own really awesome page in the web site. You can see it by clicking on the nifty Ethics Lectures button below:
Working in a lab with as much neat equipment as mine also offered a great opportunity to learn how some really fancy scientific equipment worked. I was so fascinated, I put some of the things I learned into a do-it-yourself layman's guide for creating homemade laboratory equipment. You can find out all you ever wanted to know by pushing the How To Page button above this paragraph.
Finally, as an REU student, I had the privilege of spending ten weeks on the Kansas State University campus with the most interesting collection of spiffy people anyone could hope to find. My research group and fellow physics REUs, the Math REU and SYROP researchers, international students living in Moore Hall, delightful Catholics at St. Isodore's Student Center, Manhattan family and friends, and the wonderful staff all over campus did their best to make K-State a summer home away from home.