Super Science Place

Author | Caleb S.

Editor | Rex S.

My name is Caleb S., a participant in Biochemistry at Indiana University! I woke up at 7:40 to get ready for a lecture at Lindley Hall at 8:30. My roommate, Felipe, and I walked…

through the wooded IU paths, before I split off to the IMU to eat my daily breakfast at The Mix. After a scrumdiddlyuptious meal of scrambled eggs, potatoes, and an assortment of fruits, I walked with Nicholas, a fellow participant, to Lindley in the pouring rain.

After a challenging, collaborative class activity on organic chemistry (which many of us had never taken a class on), we had a Zoom call with our second guest speaker in the last few weeks: Dr. Jens Foell, a researcher focused on neuroscience and a prominent science communicator, pushing the envelope for science education in Germany. One of my peers, Raul, mentioned that he “thought Dr. Foell’s work about

phantom limb pain was cool,” and that he wished he could’ve heard more about it. Afterwards, I walked back to the IMU for a quick lunch before I headed over to the lab.

Participants Rohan K and Emily P introducing Dr. Foell

Today in the lab, we continued our trials testing the activity and efficiency of our isolated enzymes, often to disappointing results. Nevertheless, we persisted, pipetting, measuring, and labeling tirelessly while listening to
music on speakers some of us
brought with us.

I couldn’t ask for better labmates, Anna and Vicky, both of which I wouldn’t be able to survive
the trenches of excel and speedy calculations without. We were able
to run three trials in the four hours allotted to us, which returned better data than the trials we ran the day before; they weren’t ideal, but we
were glad we’d at least modified
our techniques to achieve better results.

Anna [left] and Vicky [right]

With help from our various TA’s, our twelve groups of three researchers operate smoothly and with minimal accidents. We experience the occasional setback, maybe, but continued progress is a motif across all groups in the lab.

Nick, one of our TA’s, who manages the lab

After another grueling but rewarding lab session, we trickled back to Goodbody, our residential dorms, to prepare for dinner. Dressed in formal attire, four participants, myself included, headed to dinner early to assist our Site Director, Mr. Shorey, in dinner setup. Arriving at Forest Dining Hall, we arranged and set tables, both enhancing the atmosphere and protecting our tables from bloodthirsty orientation-goers and students eyeing our seats.

We feast on the finest food IU has to offer, from “Korean Firey Chicken” [sic], to delicious salads, to an assortment of desserts. “Yum,” said SSP participant Hemkesh C. Assigned randomly shuffled tables each week, everyone gets a chance to get to know someone new, and talk about things like the minimum wage in different states. I got a burrito bowl topped with plenty of guac and pico de gallo, rice and wings, and finally a scoop of caramel cold brew ice cream. “That’s good,” said SSP participant Daniel Hong, “wanna get more food?”

waffles a la mode

Participant Jeremy A prepares to chow down on a creative dish of

After dinner, we all head back to Goodbody for an evening to ourselves. Some of us work on the assignments to progress our lab, study up on the material learned from the day, or socialize with others in the common areas. After a healthy dose of procrastination, I attempted to update the lab notebook from the last few days of work.

As per tradition, many of us gathered in the third floor commons area to watch Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure together, laughing at the over-the-top story and animation and enjoying some time away from work and research.

Participants gathered in the third floor commons

I end the day writing the blog, encapsulating my day at SSP in a couple hundred words. I obviously can’t express the nuanced life here at SSP, but hopefully I could give a little insight into the difficulties, collaboration, and responsibilities we live in. “Super silly place,” is what Rohan K calls SSP. “Super science…uhh,” says Kenny C. “A great place to be *thumbs up* and a cool place for learning and enriching myself through learning and working with others,” says Hemkesh C.

Rohan, Hemkesh, Dominic, and me at 11:20PM

EDT (oops)

I’d like to end with quotes from the semi-legendary oracle and philosopher Lao Tzu, and our very own TA Jackson Morris.

Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy. -Lao Tzu

Participate, don’t anticipate. – Jackson W. Morris