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MIT student blogger Lulu L. '09

Syzygy, basically. by Lulu L. '09

uh, what?

Several things happened last week of note.

Monday was the first day back after Thanksgiving break. And somehow with three problem sets and a presentation in the same week, I’d never been so behind on work. For Thanksgiving I had traveled to Maryland (where my mom now lives due to work) to spend the holiday with the family (Mom, Dad, Aunt, Uncle, Cousin — in other words, all my relatives that are currently in this country). And considering Thanksgiving is usually just the three of us in a big empty house, the commotion was a welcome change and a nice bend toward normalcy for a family like mine. Unfortunately all this came at the cost of 2 full days of travel. Wednesday was 13 hours including traffic by bus, just me and my suitcase, standing in the cold and chaos of Penn Station, wondering just where I would stay the night in case all the busses ran out of room, Saturday night coming back was 10 hours by car, just me and my dad, 1 phantom of the opera soundtrack, 1 Beatles album, and a trunk loaded up with winter clothes and all manners of sustenance for the finals and final weeks ahead. Mostly junk food.

Monday night, I learned a new word: syzygy — or the alignment of three celestial bodies in orbit. I was deep in the discussions of Rune financial matters when I received an email from my boyfriend telling me to look up.


The moon, jupiter, and venus in a right triangle. Over Kresge.

I hope you got to see this, it’s a pretty incredible sight. It was bizarre like seeing two suns or something. I hear the next one isn’t happening for another 20 or 30 years.


We climbed up onto a tree.

To see

The coming together of things.

 

Then Tuesday at 1pm I persuaded my Rhetoric class with facts and figures and a sleek black powerpoint presentation that the LHC isn’t going to kill us all. So everybody should just relax. (The link is to my final transcript – complete with cues for gestures and slide changes and all – along w/ the accompanying presentation). And that would be the last assignment for Rhetoric this semester.

Also, that night I attended a physics faculty dinner hosted by the Undergraduate Women in Physics this time with Professor Rajagopal who had lots of advice for the wandering undergrads including, “apply to grad school, even if you’re not sure you’re going to go right away” (oops), we ate at The Asgard Pub on Mass Ave. I had delicious salmon which I then heated up and ate for left overs the next night.

Then Wednesday was a big day because after all the waiting, all the head scratching, all of the components for our new CCD testbed has finally arrived and the electronics were hooked up and configured and the new linux computer polished up and ready for action. It’s hard to describe the kind of relief this brings me. Not only from being relieved of having to work on a 10+ year old sun machine running what appears to be the first version of linux ever, but even being able to do any work at all. Also, we have a totally sweet new 3-axis mount for our star plate for simulating spacecraft jitter. For real. And it came together, finally.

So Wednesday I went to check out our new lab bling, and ran some basic functionality tests on the lens/CCD/computer communications, that is to say, I took emo picture of myself through a hole in a piece of aluminum foil covering the lens which made for actually a pretty good pin hole camera.


This CCD is much bigger than the old one. You actually are seeing the inside edges of the lens here.


So much fun.

With Friday came final projects showcases in dance class. I’ll post videos (maybe) when they come out depending on how they came out. I don’t think they came out all that well. The space was too small for taping. But we’ll see. Anyhow, it went very well, I think. And in the approaching syzygy of classes, that class is now over, too.

Confirmed: 2 down. 2 to go.

34 responses to “Syzygy, basically.”

  1. Yan says:

    Syzygy was actually going to be my kerberos username, but I didn’t feel like pronouncing it.

    Also, the Asgard is not Irish. I have tried to convince the MIT community of this since October. It’s one of my firmest beliefs.

    Love the night photos!

  2. Ahmed says:

    Yeah, the Asgard is about as Irish as drinking green beer on St Patty’s day. Seriously, nachos are like the most prominent and popular thing there. They don’t even have wheaten bread! Faux Gaelic decor, yes, but Irish cuisine, no.

  3. Suril says:

    Yeah, those are the three brightest objects in the Sky after the Sun. On Dec 1, it was a fantastic view in our areas, with a thin crescent moon resulting in an unhappy smiley :(

  4. Banerjee says:

    That is probably the coolest picture ever!! Did you take it yourself?! I used to comment on Yan Z.’s close up shots, now I guess I’ll comment on your amazaing long distance ones. Anywayyy… cool post!

  5. Banerjee says:

    That is probably the coolest picture ever!! Did you take it yourself?! I used to comment on Yan Z.’s close up shots, now I guess I’ll comment on your amazaing long distance ones. Anywayyy… cool post!

  6. Edward says:

    @Anonymous on December 9, 2008 07:49 AM

    Haha, FAILURE…thanks for correcting me! For some reason, I thought I had seen people call it the Z-center.

  7. Daniel says:

    Despite the lack of Irish authenticity, the salmon could still be delicious!

  8. I would like to apply for MIT, I am a Chinese student ,If the applicants are living in China ,How he should interview 。How interview 。

    thank you .

  9. lulu says:

    a cross? wait, I don’t see it.

    My powerpoint doesn’t open in powerpoint? agh! Have you tried downloading it first and then opening it? That is unfortunately the only version I have. I made it in open office, and it worked on the professor’s XP laptop. And that is all I know. :(

    OK I’ve converted it into a PDF and although you don’t get to click through it now and have fun unexpected things pop up, you should be able to see it.

  10. Nicole '10 says:

    @Edward – we do have a Z-center, that just isn’t it. The Z-center is our athletics center (short for Zesiger Center) that’s more or less next-door/accross the way from Kresge.

  11. hcs says:

    Why hasn’t anyone made a 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee reference yet? “Syzygy” is the first word spelled.

  12. Keri says:

    I took 21M.675 last term! It’s a really cool class.

    Coincidentally, we spent about a third of the class studying a piece performed by the Paul Taylor Dance Company. The title? “Syzygy.”

    I couldn’t make these things up if I tried. ^_^

  13. Bobbi says:

    Those are awesome pictures!

  14. Anonymous says:

    @hcs That’s all I could think of too! raspberry

  15. Monkey King says:

    Hohoo……………..FIRST!!!! I am Happy!

  16. aMIT says:

    Hi there,

    Wonderful those Moon pictures. Over here in Mauritius, they formed a smiley smile. Quarter of the moon formed the lip and Venus and Jupiter formed the eyes. Amazing!

  17. Oasis '11 says:

    I just realized that ‘syzygy’ contains no vowels. .______.

  18. hamsi says:

    uhhhh new favorite word alert.

  19. Shady Robyn says:

    Damn! I wanted to be the first az I like ur blogs. N’way the syzygy was awesome n those who missed it iz just too bad for them

  20. Edward says:

    The first picture was just astonishingly, beyond words, incredible.

  21. Liz says:

    @Oasis,
    Technically, don’t the y’s quantify as vowels in the word syzygy?

  22. Edward says:

    Sorry for the double, completely unrelated, post, but did you purposely make the frames of the Z-center look like crosses due to the reflected light? Did you modify the picture or did it come out that amazing with no modifications whatsoever?

    Thanks lulu. Good luck on finals! =]

  23. Anonymous says:

    Hey lulu, I read your text on LHC, really wanted to see your slides, but the ppt file that is found on the link, is somehow not readable by powerpoint. Is there another link pls?

  24. LHC says:

    Hey lulu, I read your text on LHC, really wanted to see your slides, but the ppt file that is found on the link, is somehow not readable by powerpoint. Is there another link pls?

  25. Niki says:

    @ Liz:
    I think so too. When I was a kid learning the alphabet, my response to the “what are the five vowels” question was always “A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y.” (No, I couldn’t just take the hint from the “five” and give the expected answer.)
    My poor teachers.

  26. Anonymous says:

    syzygy is possibly my favorite scrabble or hangman word

  27. Anonymous says:

    syzygy is possibly my favorite scrabble or hangman word

  28. Anonymous says:

    In Australia the syzygy made a smilie face smile It was so cool – one of the most beautiful things ever seen in the sky.

  29. Generic Bob says:

    I am hoping the phenomenon of cyzygy occurs between myself and the institution called MIT.

  30. LHC says:

    @ lulu. Hey thanks fr the conversion [ppt to pdf]. It’s great btw… good job.

  31. lulu says:

    hehehe happy birthday to mee

  32. Cathy says:

    Syzygy is so sweet!! The day before that it was a a huge upright smiley-face.. at least where I am (on the other side of the world)