Week 3: Ireland

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Friday, June 22, 2018


Collin Flynn

I had an odd week this week. Last Friday I left DC to go to Ireland for a family vacation. I joined my family on the back half of this 10 day trip to celebrate my grandparents 50th anniversary. I arrived in Dublin at 5:30 in the morning very tired (I cannot sleep on planes!). My dad and grandpa picked me up and drove me about 2.5 hours to Galway where we would be staying. So in other words I had a two and a half hour nap to help me through the day. Once we got to Galway, we grabbed breakfast and were quick to get out the door and head to the beautiful Cliffs of Moher. I am unable to speak to the beauty of this place, so please look at the pictures because this place was breathtaking. We walked down and back on the trail and according to my phone, we ended up hiking about nine miles and up 100 stories. When my sister and I walked “too close” to the edge of the cliff, my parents immediately switched from thinking we are in our 20s to thinking we are little children, fearing we might trigger an earthquake and make the edge of the cliff fall into the ocean.

I got to bed pretty early that night, and the following morning we headed to Dublin where we would spend the next two nights before we flew out.

After we got to Dublin the following day, we went all over the town indulging in the local Guinness here and there. We took a tour of Trinity college and saw the book of Kells, a must see when you’re in Dublin! Since we spent most of the day traveling back to Dublin, it was already getting quite late, so we went back to where we were staying that night and the 18 of us all found a place to sleep in our Airbnb.

The next day was jam-packed, it being our last night in Ireland. We went on a three-hour walking tour of Dublin, given by a former professor. Needless to say, it was very educational. We were a little late to the tour. The reason why? An old man surrounded by pigeons who beckoned us over. He threw oats in our hands, not taking “no” for an answer. Everyone watched as my cousins and I became bird feeders for these pigeons, landing on any part of our body they could stand on.

After our tour, everyone decided I needed to see Howth. Howth is a small fishing village that was formerly an island before Ireland built a land bridge to it. We took the train over and had some of the best seafood I have ever had, most likely caught that morning. We socialized with the local fisherman and headed home.

After 23 hours of travel, I got home and despite the sleep deprivation and jet lag, I actually had a very productive last couple days! I learned how to characterize carbon nanotubes. We currently have a test (Test 0) going to characterize the nanotubes over the weekend. Test 0 will help us identify how good of a field emitter the CNT's are. We measure how much current the nanotubes emit after applying a certain voltage. The caveat being that too much current will fry the CNT.  I also stayed late today to assemble source 2 (attempt number 2 at making an electron beam source). This source has been tested before, but much of the electronics have been fried due to arcing and melting from high currents. We're hoping running the test will help us learn more about the arcing events and help us with our next source.

More to come next week!

Collin Flynn