Many of you reading this may be familiar with ArXiv.org and many of you may not be. ArXiv is an open access library where scientists, mostly of the physics, math and computer science varieties, put up papers or pre-prints for all the world to see. Many of these are not yet peer reviewed (and maybe never will be), so you can often find papers that are fun, pop culture based, or just plain crazy-pants (I’m going to suggest a search for papers with the word “god” in the title here.) Since I like to turn to ArXiv when I have some downtime and want to explore the lighter side of science, I thought I’d share some of my favorite findings here.
If you want to join in the fun, many of my most fruitful searches come from me poking around in the “General Physics”, “Popular Physics”, and “History and Philosophy of Physics”. You can see the week’s most recent submissions under each category.
So without further ado, here’s a round-up of some fun papers from this past week.
During my senior year of college I needed an interview suit. So I went shopping for one and looked at store that, to 21 year old me, said “business woman”. I ended up getting a brown suit (I wanted something different than black because everyone wore black, but now I look at it in the back of my closet and wonder what I was thinking) from Anne Taylor. At the time I thought it was a great ensemble that proclaimed “I am a serious adult”. But looking back, I realized that it looked like I was a young-looking 21 year old trying to dress like a middle ages lady.
Over the years my fashion sense has changed. Thankfully it’s not what it was in high school (plaid bondage pants, anyone?) or in undergrad. As I’ve tumbled through grad school I’ve gotten a better sense not only of my personal style, but also what my personal style is in a variety of settings and a much better idea of how to dress myself well and in a flattering manner. I know now that when I feel like I’m dressed well I am more confident and this is something that I plan to use to my advantage in talks, interview, and later throughout my career.
Because I do reflect on my personal style and how I present myself as a physicist, I often get frustrated when the discussion turns to advice on how to dress or when I’m around a lot of other physicists and observe what they are wearing. My biggest problem is that for women in academia, I feel like there is an attitude that dressing professionally means you either look like a frump or look very generic.
Piezoelectrics are a type of material where, when you apply a stress to them, they accumulate a charge. Additionally, when you apply a voltage to them, the materials contract or expand. Just look at this hypothetical piezoelectric in action!
My group just got done with some beamtime at the National Synchrtron Light Source. Beamtime is when we have time to an x-ray experiment at a national lab and all work in close quarters for long hours for a week or so. This experimental involved a lot of long scans, so we really get to know each other during the down time. Here are some of the highlights from this round.