“Our Assignments Are-Gonne”

Today was a highly anticipated day among everyone here at SSP. We were offered a unique, extraordinary opportunity that I had been looking forward to ever since it was announced at dinner last night: we could sleep in an extra hour before our lecture on drug mechanisms this morning. Oh, and we toured a national lab which was also kinda cool I guess.

But before I go into detail about that, I wanted to celebrate the birthday of my amazing labmate and friend Gnataleigh. Whether protecting our pipette tips in the lab or discussing your love life at dinner, you have made my SSP experience truly memorable and it’s been a privilege to be in your group.

Anyway. After our lecture was done, we all got on the bus in preparation for our trip to Argonne National Laboratory. The 2 hour drive was surprisingly bearable despite the broken air conditioning on our side (shoutout to Eric for the fun games of wild rift on the way). We also ate our lunch on the bus, and we even had forks with the salads this time!

Once we reached Argonne, we had the chance to learn about all kinds of fancy scientific processes, machinery, and daily operations that happen in a large-scale research facility. Today I got to see the giant tubes through which electrons are accelerated at the speed of light, the multi-million dollar instruments at the forefront of scientific advancement, and more warning signs than I’ll probably see for the next few years. We finished off the trip by exploring the physics department’s particle collider (17O3+ is actually pretty cool) and discussed the evolution of nuclear reactor technology. This was an illuminating glimpse into what research looks like at the highest level, even if I didn’t understand most of what was going on.

Some of the cool stuff paid for by our taxes

After a return journey filled with a much needed nap, a few more games with Eric, and some spicy comments from Diego, we were soon back at the honors buildings for a pizza dinner. As I have grown used to by now, the seemingly many hours had once again flown past in another short, activity-filled day. 

My experience at SSP has been overwhelmingly positive, and I can’t believe that nearly 4 weeks have already passed in what felt like an instant. I’m immensely grateful for this unique chance to conduct advanced research and explore tools I wouldn’t have otherwise dreamed of. But even more so, I’m thankful for the kind, supportive, and fun community that has driven and inspired me in my whole time here. Even as I write this blog 20 minutes before the supposed deadline, I’m instead being pulled into a surprise party/fruit bar with others in the kitchenette, something I would never have imagined I could enjoy so much. I cherish every minute I spend with all the amazing people in this program, and I look forward to the next 2 weeks before our bittersweet goodbyes.

My boy Konnor (aka Konor, Konnev, and Corner according to lunch providers) with a model nuclear reactor

Hey! I’m Daniel, and I’m a rising senior at Basis Independent Silicon Valley in San Jose, CA. I enjoy playing soccer and table tennis, as well as various board games. I also enjoy redditing and playing video games in my spare time, so feel free to hit me up if you play League or Hearthstone.