Things I Saw in Stony Brook, Part 4

Oh hush. I know it’s been several days since I updated (my longest absence to date, I think) Here’s what’s up: to  abusively paraphrase Longfellow, this blog is not dead, but nor do I sleep. Which is to say, I have a lot to blog about from a very exciting weekend in Boston, but am going to be up late tonight finishing some work that I shouldn’t have volunteered for, so it will have to wait until tomorrow. Wednesdays are my most free weekday, though, so there’s good news there.

Oh, right, the picture! This is my setup for my lab course (the one I’m enrolled in, not the one I’m teaching), and it’s the reason I’m going to be up late. I decided somewhat at the last minute today that I didn’t trust my lab partner and wanted to do a lot of the data analysis myself, because I thought I had a better idea about how to do it. When am I going to learn that this never actually saves me work?

I’d tell you all about the experiment, but it’s pretty obscure and I’m not too sure how to make it sound cool except to talk in generalities: we’re studying the behavior of a superconductor, an amazing piece of electronics that seems to be one of the few places in all of experimental science where something is truly “perfect.” A superconductor is so good at conducting electricity that if you start a current flowing through it in a circle, it will never stop. This is believed to be literally true in practice, and not just in theory: Unless you mess up the experiment, nothing will stop it.

Now if only I could learn how to become similarly tireless. Hmm… I’ll put that on my “to-study” list.


About Colin West
Colin West is a graduate student in quantum information theory, working at the Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics at Stony Brook University. Originally from Colorado (where he attended college), his interests outside of physics include politics, paper-folding, puzzles, playing-cards, and apparently, plosives.

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