A Disorganized Account of what occurred on June 20th, 2023

Author: Rajat B.

I’ll be honest. The only reason I’m doing a blog post this early is because I came late; everyone else took the later spots (I don’t blame them).  And I came late because my flight was delayed. BY SEVEN HOURS. I mean, come on, Southwest. You really blamed it on the weather? Anyway, I thought that my late arrival would prevent me from establishing relationships with all the other participants since they already had some time to converse for the first time without me. However, I realized that we all basically didn’t really know each other, so it was quite easy to make friends with the other participants.

Today we had our first Math and Physics lecture by Dr. Andersen. It was on vectors, dot products, and cross products, all of which I thought I already knew. However, the lecture made me rethink that thought. We started squaring area (4 DIMENSIONS!? QUATERNIONS!?) “just for fun” and drawing a bunch of parallelograms made of vectors on top of each other as part of another “fun example” (I thought it was 3D when it was 2D). The whole time, I kept thinking to myself, “What is bro doing?” At least it was fun, though. It was also fun to get to meet the rocketry team from Columbia that happened to be in the area, especially for someone like me who would like to participate in the future.

We also got to have our first Python lecture with Dr. Bauer. I found this to also be quite fun, especially the interactive element where we had to solve issues in code, predict the output of a selected portion of code, or (hand)write our own code to perform a specified function.

Today is the first day that selected groups got to operate the telescope to try and observe their asteroid. Though we did not have to observe yesterday, our group decided to work on the observing log anyway to get it out of the way. It turned out not to be all that difficult, once we figured out the order that we had to perform the steps in. My favorite part was creating the finding chart. That was the first time we got to see real data from the night sky that we would use to help (indirectly) with orbit determination, so that was really exciting (let’s ignore the fact that I had to do it all over again because I decided to start zooming in and out after setting the zoom to Zoom Fit prior to saving the image).

After that, we started working on our PSETs. That was stressful, of course, but we were at least relieved by a break to see the beautiful sunset.

For the 1st Python PSET which was given to us that day, I decided to do the hangman project. I thought it would be pretty fun, and it didn’t seem that hard at first. In fact, I would say that I got down around 80% of the code pretty quickly. The main issue was that I couldn’t figure out how to properly display and store data when the correct letter was inputted. Just over that little issue, I got frustrated. I even said, “Yeah I don’t think imma be able to do this.” But then Vivian showed me how to convert the list that I made from the characters of the word and convert it back into a string, which turned out to be all I needed to finish. As Sri could probably tell you, I was ecstatic when I saw that the letters that I inputted correctly actually started to replace the underscores in the terminal when I ran the code. I thought this experience really emphasized the importance of collaboration and determination, especially in this setting. I look forward to similar experiences in the future.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. On my way back to the dorm, we were greeted by a skunk.

About me:

Hey everyone! I’m Rajat from Miami, Florida. I love programming/game development, soccer, and drawing. Here at SSP, I’m currently attempting to wrap my brain around spherical trigonometry, learn all the shortcuts to VS Code (and Chrome) to maximize my efficiency, and get a decent amount of sleep when possible (yes, I’m trying to do all of that at the same time).