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August 11, 2016 at 3:24 pm

Tumbleson | Argonne National Lab Interns Tour Chicago

Ryan TUMBLESON at Argonne apt 480x281px

By Ryan Tumbleson ’20
HTC Engineering Physics and Electrical Engineering studying near Chicago

I’m spending the summer at Argonne National Lab where I work under the supervision of Dr. Saw-Wai Hla, a professor of Physics & Astronomy and group leader in the Quantum & Energy Materials section at Argonne. I explain in detail why I’m here and what I’ve learned the first few weeks in my first blog. For several weeks now, I’ve immersed myself in nanoscience research, including single-molecule manipulation. But that’s not the whole picture for the summer.

What do interns do when they’re not in the lab? The Argonne facility is somewhat isolated from the nearby Chicago metropolitan area, and it is a good place for interns housed on the campus to relax and find recreation. The facility is surrounded by a forest preserve, and there are many trails and bike paths throughout the park-like grounds.

Ryan TUMBLESON at Argonne basketball court 480x480px

I live in an apartment-style house with two roommates. Along with a basketball court, there is a 24/7 exercise facility, a tennis court and an Ultimate Frisbee golf course.  The facility is very spacious, so people often will be out playing ultimate in the field in front of my apartment. There is always something to do here, and it is nice to know that even though I am surrounded by trees and open spaces, if I need anything, a town is just outside of the facility gates.

During off-hours on the weekend, a group of interns takes the 20-30 minute drive into the city to enjoy the sights and sounds of Chicago.

Chicago is famous for both its Millennium Park and the Navy Pier, but a weekend trip isn’t complete without sinking your teeth into a traditional stuffed deep-dish pizza. There is plenty to do– here are some photo highlights.

One of our stops included the Field Museum of Natural History

One day we spent time exploring exhibits at the Field Museum of Natural History

 

Ryan TUMBLESON at Chicago NH museum 480x280px

The Evolving Planet exhibition at the Field Museum tells the story of Earth’s evolution through interactive displays, videos, and a collection of fossils.

 

The Field Museum’s China’s First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors display includes a selection of the famous Terracotta Warriors which, for 2,000 years, were buried in Shaanxi Provence near Xian, China, in the pits near the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China.

The Field Museum’s China’s First Emperor display includes a selection of the famous Terracotta Warriors which, for 2,000 years, were buried in Shaanxi Provence near Xian, China, in the pits near the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China.

 

Sampling Chinese cuisine with Dr. Hla at the MingHin in Chicago’s Chinatown

One time I went to the MingHin with Dr. Hla to sample Chinese cuisine in Chicago’s Chinatown.

 

Near the end of the summer, a group of undergrads attended a 'Broadway in Chicago' play at the PrivateBank Theatre.

Near the end of the summer, a group of undergrad interns attended a ‘Broadway in Chicago’ play at the PrivateBank Theatre.

 

Our group at the Privatebank Theater from left to right: Kentaro Hoffman (Rice University), Jessi Hartman (University of California, Davis), Danny Davies (University of Iowa), Wendy Wang (University of Arizona), Will Ruys (New Jersey Institute of Technology), Matt Petersen (Brown University) and me.

Our group at the Privatebank Theater from left to right: Kentaro Hoffman (Rice University), Jessi Hartman (University of California at Davis), Danny Davies (University of Iowa), Wendy Wang (University of Arizona), Will Ruys (New Jersey Institute of Technology), Matt Petersen (Brown University) and me

For much of the summer I participated in a community jazz band in Lisle, a village located about 35 minutes northwest of Argonne. Lisle is part of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor. I play trumpet and enjoy jazz so it was a nice activity to be able to make connections with other musicians and relax at the same time. Here’s a look at one of the songs my band performed.

Back at work during the week, I’m reminded of how the scientific atmosphere at Argonne really impresses me. Almost everyone here is an expert in their own field. The environment is very conducive for learning where researchers take time to explain their research to us. The high quality and quantity the equipment within Argonne is striking.

My understanding of physics and engineering seems to change on a daily basis this summer. The further I get into my study, the more things I learn that are truly fascinating. Like how arbitrary math concepts can be applied to the “real world” and can be used to predict events with such great accuracy. Math is such a huge part of engineering physics, and it within itself is fascinating. Outside of math, one of the major aspects of engineering physics that drew me to the field is the diversity of it all.  Engineering physics is such a broad term that encompasses so many different areas. There is so much potential out there to advance our knowledge of the universe or to better the well-being of others.

NEXT WEEK: Learning to Drive a Molecular Racecar Four Nanometers Long

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