So Philly is being blasted with heat, in an effort to preempt the oncoming humidity I have been running my AC so that when the humidity does hit the unit can keep up. It is working, although I am scared to see my energy bill.
This week in school I have been taking a group of seventh graders to UPENN’s Laboratory for Structure of Matter to participate in a science program that will hopefully start these students on a path to a career in the sciences. On Monday we played with robots, Tuesday we shot lasers and used an electron microscope, and today we discussed energy in the form of calories and had the students burn calories by riding a bike that powered a blender which made a smoothie. The students calculated how many minutes they would have to pedal to balance out caloric intake of the smoothie.
But my real enjoyment, my selfish enjoyment is not in the fact that I get to participate in these things, but the cafeteria. Why you ask? Not because of the food, but because of the company. Today I had lunch with some anthropologist and archeologists. It was true nerd heaven. One of the women is an archeo-chemist who developed a test to see if recovered pottery housed alcoholic beverages. Working with the anthropologists they are developing a whole new understanding of human culture and the important role of alcohol! I was giddy sitting there listening to the conversation, realizing that I will most likely get a twitter update months from now regarding the publishing of an article entitled “Ancient Alcohol Consumption” authored by the very people I was sitting at the table with.
Then there is the materials scientist who is literally developing new types of material. A great guy who invited me to join his golf tournament of which the prize is your name on a trophy machined out of unique materials developed in their lab. This reminded me of the great subtle humor that goes on in the science world. It makes me miss the geeky jokes, the non-malicious misuse of high end materials and instruments, and the wonderful conversations that often lead to future scientific discoveries.
I truly am living the good life.
Here was our fun for the day….