Archive for August 2nd, 2008


Edinburgh Observatory

Edinburgh Observatory

Up until last year my only exposure to astrophysics has been through books like The Universe in a Nutshell and Hyperspace. After starting to take a upper division course in astrophysics I have found that it is harder then other subjects in physics and much more interesting. I took these classes at the Edinburgh Observatory while studying there last year (one problem of the class was the great views of Edinburgh it offered), because of them I am planning on continuing in astrophysics or maybe space physics.

To get into graduate school for physics I need research experience, except they say that they don’t require it. But they do. Over the past two months I have been procrastinating contacting professors about a research position in the fall. Finally I realized I need to do it sooner or later. I crafted e-mails for four different professors in the UCSB Astrophysics group asking if they would possibly perhaps know of anything about an opening in the fall for an undergraduate. It would have been easier but I was someone they never met asking out of the blue. Two said no outright, I am thankful that were honest and in such a timely fashion. Another might have a position but I would need to learn python before the fall. The fourth was interested. I called the next week and I now will have a place in his lab come the fall. I get to pick out what looks interesting in the lab once I get there, I also get units for it!

Knowing that I will have some research experience by the time I apply for graduate school I looked at the schools I had placed in my top schools category. This time I looked at non-academic aspects: namely location and archery teams. My list had four schools: Stanford Applied Physics, University of British Columbia, University of New Hampshire and Montana State University. For location the first three have good locations, Stanford is nearby, UBC is near Seattle and my Uncle and from what I can gather there is an entire branch of my family in the northeast I have never met. Then someone asked me where Montana State was located, I knew that, it is in Bozeman. Where was Bozeman? In Montana, somewhere. So I google mapped it and discovered something. Montana was not where I thought Montana was. I expected it to be sort of south of Utah, don’t know why, it could be because I have not really been to many states aside from California, Hawaii and Alaska. Now that I know that Montana State is near North Dakota I have moved it down to my secondary school list which leaves only three as the forerunners for schools I really want to go too.

The next aspect I considered was archery. At Edinburgh I was in the Archery Club and participated in several competitions including the British Universities Sports Association indoor archery competition. I really liked archery, sadly there was no place for me to shoot at home or at Santa Barbara. The closest I could get were outdoor ranges geared toward hunters with compound bows (that would be my brother). So I was happy to find that the three schools left on my list had recurve archery teams or at least places to shoot recurve bows. So whichever I get into I can look forward to starting up archery again, maybe since I am in another country and another league I can pass as a novice for another year.

Hopefully this time I will be able to buy my own bow.

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