Closely Related Fun Facts

Author: Velvet W.

One of the most important things I’ve learned in my first days at SSP is that somehow every kid in California knows where every other kid lives. Meanwhile, I come from Pennsylvania and still mix up Pittsburgh and Philly. Other important facts are that somewhere in New Mexico at 12:30 am there are more than 20 teenagers holed up in a classroom doing psets (they applied to do this) and that free time is a social construct.

One of the things I didn’t expect at SSP was how much I would be learning outside of Astronomy. Personally, I have learned many important and interesting things that can sum up my 5 day SSP experience pretty well.

For example, today in a python lecture in the morning, I learned that five does not equal six, no matter how much you might want to make it. Also, a cassowary is an extremely territorial and aggressive bird from Australia. 

Aside from stating the obvious and ogling birds, lectures with Dr. Bauer have been filled with tricks. Somehow every practice problem feels like a riddle where the answer is too good to be true and something has to be wrong. Even though coding is counterintuitive and #notreallymything, the problem sets are interesting and I’ve come to enjoy programming as a fun challenge. 

Here are some facts that I learned at dinner this week and who I learned them from because you should always cite your sources (shoutout to my dinner table): 

  1. Cows are very underrepresented in Hollywood because Big Beef doesn’t want us to feel bad for cows which are being exploited for their bodies. – Gautam
  2. If you ask a British person to say something, everyone will immediately say it again in a British accent. – Abhishek
  3. Dr. Doofenshmirtz lives in the tri-state area, which might not be so tri-state after all – everybody, since nobody knows where the tri-state area is

Today we played frisbee after dinner, which was cool because I haven’t done any real exercise since coming here other than sweating buckets walking back and forth from the dorm and leaping and running away from cockroaches, grasshoppers, and other monstrosities of the night time. 

And then we went back to class and I proceeded to spend 3 hours with Vivian and Tony on 4c on the astro pset. Astro psets have been really hard, but it’s been fun working with people doing problems, and struggling together. It’s also helped me think more geometrically.

Overall, the five days I’ve spent at SSP so far have been defined by the people here, who I’ve learned to work with, but also have fun with. To finish, here’s a picture of us after frisbee.

(From left to right: Arielsie, Vivian, me, Jayden)

About me:

Hi! My name is Velvet and I come from State College, Pennsylvania. In my free time, I like spending time at the park with my friends, playing the violin, swimming, and reading. At SSP I can be found struggling through problem sets and vigorously applying sunscreen throughout the day.