By Kavya Ravichandran
Electing to spend Valentine’s Day at a science conference, six science-y upper schoolers attended the AJAS annual conference with adult chaperone extraordinaire Dr. Crystal Miller:
We left bright and early on a Wednesday morning, flying through Dallas, and arriving in San Jose in time for a lunch consisting of garlic fries and a bunch of other food, but the garlic fries were the most important. That night, there was a talk by Dr. Brian Holmes about the physics of horns (the brass instruments), following which we got very tired because it was getting late back home.
Thursday morning, we once again departed early (but it was okay, since it was 9:45 in Cleveland) to visit Berkeley Labs where they do amazing SCIENCE! We visited the Advanced Light Source, which is a synchrotron, a type of particle accelerator. They study everything there from the composition of Roman concrete to the structure of proteins and macromolecules. Afterwards, we went to the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Of significant importance was Emily Spencer’s purchase of a new kazoo, which entertained us for the rest of the trip and beyond.
We ate breakfast with scientists the next morning, following which we presented our posters to anyone and everyone who was interested. This also meant standing for many hours. Ah, sacrifices in the name of science.
Saturday morning we could either sleep in or go to talks that were part of the larger conference, AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). In the afternoon, we gave oral presentations:
And in the evening, we wrapped up with a banquet, where we had trouble communicating dietary restrictions. After that, there was a dance with a chocolate fondue fountain in the back. Guess which one was more exciting?!
All in all, it was a great trip, especially considering that it was 75 degrees and sunny there when it was -23 here with wind chill. It was a great opportunity to learn science, present our research, and make new friends.
Photos: Dr. Miller and AJAS Facebook page