day in the life of the best sspitant: Kagame’s July 7th Blog

Another day of waking up at 7: 30 am in the morning to haul my sleep deprived, yet excited self to take a shower and get ready to head over to breakfast with José. We were of course thrilled with the great selection of food choices Chase Dining hall has to offer from juicy eggs to mystery meat sausages and blobby oatmeal. After downing my delicious breakfast with coffee, José and I head off to our brief 1 hour lecture which was covering nuclear-astrophysics in preparation for our trip to the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL) laboratory at Duke. 

The lecture covered how particle accelerators typically probe nuclear structures through electron scattering, in which high-energy electrons are beamed at a stationary cloud of target nuclei. Despite its short-length, it definitely has a place in the top 5 lectures of ssp. After a 20 minute bus  ̶n̶a̶p̶ drive we arrived at TUNL, eager to learn and explore more about the technology at TUNL. 

(Peep me waking up from my nap)

During the tour we got to see many cool physics related technologies they had such as the Tandem van de Graaff Accelerator tandem van de graaff accelerator. Did you know that the Tandem van de Graff Accelerator  has a maximum terminal voltage of 10 MV and after acceleration, beams of hydrogen, helium and heavy ions can be delivered to one of seven beam lines?

(Here is a cool room that reminded me of the NASA control room, pretty cool right?)

After lunch we headed back over to UNC Chapel Hill, where we headed straight for lunch. Some got Subway, others Bojangles, but I, a true daredevil, ate lunch at Chase dining hall. This was the first time the Chase has been packed with so many different camps.

(Great artwork of Dr. F, credits to Jack Sullivan).

After a nice lunch and a brief break it was lecture time with Dr. Fedds where we talked about star clusters and the intricate details that surrounding them. We talked about how Star clusters are groups of stars that are held together by mutual gravitation and have similar or identical ages.

Pop quiz: What do you call a group of stars that dance? A Star-Cluster! 

Anyways this lecture covered my favorite topic in astronomy and therefore is placed in the top 3 lectures of ssp.

After this lecture me and some of the guys played spike ball in the blazing Carolina heat, and surprisingly didn’t have to get dressed up for dinner due to the 90 degree weather. On our way to Chase Dinner(LETS GOO!!!) a few participants and I kicked the same pinecone all the way to the dining hall

At the end of dinner we celebrated Daniel’s birthday( a day late due to a mix up).

Before working on psets we had a rock paper scissors tournament(which was a Ian-QOD), in which harsh vs abheek was the final match which had everyone on the edge of their seat. Clearly Abheek’s mighty rock was no match for Harsh’s gentle paper.

After the rock paper scissor tournament we headed straight to philips to grind on the nuclear astrophysics problem set, and start the star cluster Project Dr. Feeds happily assigned. After a long 5 hours of working on the psets(and SSP foolery)  we took our trek back to the cozy Old West, with harsh exiting in victorious style.


Hello my name is Kagame from New York! I am your typical Astrophysics Enjoyer and can be spotted neck deep in a physics or astronomy textbook, or outside looking at the stars until 3:00 AM. My favorite star constellation is Caseopeia, my favorite star is proxima centauri, and my favorite galaxy is M31. I sprint the 100m and 200m, do science bowl, and am on my school’s student council. Galileo may be good, but I’m better.