Week 4: Clouds Couldn't Stop Us

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Dahlia Baker

Week four is over, and it’s been just as amazing as every other week so far. Most importantly, my project at NASA is finally starting to gain momentum. I’ve been spending the past month reading up on transmission line theory, fourier optics and diffraction, and a lot of MATLAB documentation. I’m working on developing a code that calculates the electric field pattern diffracted through a unique shape of aperture, and hopefully I’ll be finished by next week. After that, I can continue on to modeling a specific type of quasioptical filter and how it affects CMB polarimetry data.

National Gallery of Art

I’m really enjoying my time at NASA and all of the work I’ve been able to accomplish so far. I’m surrounded by scientists all day and there is so much to learn from every conversation. If you are readingthis and contemplating applying for this internship, please do. This is the most amazing opportunity and I never imagined that I would have the chance to work here before getting my graduate degree. It’s a great feeling to know that even though your work may be on a small project or it may not lead to any publications, you’re still putting yourself in the position to meet lifelong mentors and learn so much about how science actually gets done in the public sector. I don’t know anywhere else I would want to be. 

Aside from work, this past weekend was July 4th! Independence day in DC is an unforgettable experience. I visited some of the Smithsonian museums, saw the folklife fair, and explored downtown for the first time since I arrived. There were huge crowds everywhere, especially in the air and space museum and at the memorials. It was raining and cloudy most of the weekend, but that didn’t stop us from going out and celebrating our independence! On Monday night, we walked to Capitol Hill and had dinner at We the Pizza, a fantastic pizza place that had the most delicious pizza I’ve ever had. If I worked at the capitol, I think I would be eating there every day. Afterwards, it was a short walk to the National Mall where we saw the fireworks. The dense clouds in the sky provided a backdrop for the fireworks and made the Washington monument glow with the reflection. It was such a beautiful sight, and worth fighting through crowds of tourists on the metro ride back home.

Washington Monument with Fireworks
We’re almost halfway done, and it’s all gone by so quickly. Each week has been packed full of fun events and amazing opportunities, and I’ve had the chance to meet life changing people, from the scientists at NASA, to my fellow interns, to the amazing helpful people at SPS. I have never been so glad to be involved in this organization, and I’m excited to see what the next week has in store for me!

Dahlia Baker