I am currently in Dr. Shen’s team (the Fog Team) along with Carissa. This week has been a rather slow week for the Fog Team due to the low-yielding fog weather and the very windy week. While the temperature has started to decrease to as low as 25℉, in order for fog to occur, just as Carissa has stated in her blog; there has to be a clear night, high humidity, calm wind, and for the temperature to reduce the dew point temperature after midnight so that the air can reach saturation and thus fog will appear.
An example of the backwards trajectory of fog movement using the HYSPLIT model (a large portion of the fog analysis process)
I have still been waiting for a fog call, which is just when the whole team will collect fog using our two machines that catch fog in the early hours of the morning; we have to be patient because, as Brittnie has mentioned previously, science takes time. In this time, I have been able to self-reflect about the BETA project. While I am ready to start doing some fun and exciting science experiments, there are external factors that will determine the speed of the progress. The weather has been the prime external factor as of recently and especially affects the Fog Team because our work is mainly based on the climate of the Earth. Although there is a lack of fog, our team is hopeful that fog will be coming soon.
On November 14th, a small portion of the team drove down to St. Ambrose University in Davenport to present a poster at the 7th Annual American Chemical Society Undergraduate Research Conference being hosted on campus. The presentation group consisted of Bobbi, Brittnie, Jose along with Dr. Sebree and Dr. Shen. Before leaving Cedar Falls, the day started out perfectly for Brittnie for one very vital reason...
My favorite part of the day was when Dr. Sebree handed me my Caramel Brûlée Latte from Starbucks! -Brittnie
Starbucks in hand, the team was ready to get to the conference. They headed down to Davenport in time for the conference's breakfast.
After breakfast, the team had the opportunity to see some research presentations before lunch. After lunch, the team presented BETA's first poster. This poster can be found on the "Past Presentations" page or by clicking this link.
The students had a blast and the project caught the eye of many undergraduate students and researchers.
Several people were very interested in the questions our poster was asking. They commented that they would be excited to see our return to the conference next year for more results. I felt very good about our presentation. -Bobbi
The one negative aspect of the presentation was the lack of data to share.
We could not answer some of the questions being asked due to us not having any data which was kind of a bummer. All we could say was that we will be getting data later on due to us just starting. -Jose
The lack of data didn't stop the team, however. It was a good way to introduce BETA's goal to a broader scientific community than just UNI's campus. It also was a great opportunity to see what other undergraduates are researching.
At the conference, I saw quite a few of interesting presentations, such as whether essential oils work or not, testing of the chemicals in different shampoos, how to properly make better beer, and if heart variability reduces pain and anxiety. -Brittnie
Something to note would be the ability for the team members to present their poster. Many schools do not provide these kinds of opportunities for their undergraduates, but a large portion of this project includes sharing the results. The benefits of presenting at conferences like this are immense, but it begs the question- why did BETA go to this conference?
It’s time to get BETA out in the public’s eye. Let them know what we are doing. -Dr. Sebree
I have a much better idea of what to expect during the next undergraduate research conference. I feel very well prepared for any future presentations we give on our research. Also, it made me realize that I should take General Chemistry really, really soon. -Bobbi
It provided me with a great opportunity of experiencing a conference, I would like to do more conferences like this. It also gave me a great opportunity to network with many undergraduate students. -Jose
The conference benefited me by preparing me to know how to properly explain the research that we’re doing and plan to do. Before the conference, I was a little worried about not explaining the goal of research project well to others. During the conference, I felt more confident, especially when I had the help of Bobbi and Jose to explain some things. -Brittnie
Not only did the team have a great time presenting and learning about other research projects, but they were able to reflect upon what to change for next time. Dr. Sebree brought up a good point.
Could have used some business cards for the team to handout with our website. -Dr. Sebree
While the poster presentation was a great way to get BETA out there, spreading the word about the website will help keep individuals updated about BETA in between conference presentations.
After this successful poster presentation, BETA is sure to be making more appearances in the future (with some data to share as well)!
So far, us six students have split into 3 small groups containing one of the three professors we’re working with. I’m in Dr. Sebree’s group with Jessica Wayson. We finally received in the mail from Japan the lamp that we needed for our chamber. Dr. Sebree has been working on setting up the lamp and finishing a few tweaks on the Early Earth Chamber. In order for us to get some experience on how to work the chamber, Dr. Sebree lets us fill the Titan Chamber.
Jessica working with the chamber system on a step stool since it the setup reaches the ceiling
Honestly, working the chamber is taking some time to get use to because it can be pretty intricate, and you have to be very careful when opening and closing certain valves and dealing with pressure. As I’m slowly getting the hang of it, understanding what to do is getting better. When the Early Earth Chamber is ready to be used (which shouldn’t be much longer), we’ll be able to generate, collect and analyze aerosols. Also, we’re waiting on the rock samples that we took at the quarry in Rockford, IA, to finish being cleaned and polished, so then, we can analyze and test them for certain chemicals and isotopes.
Brittnie working in the glove box where contaminants can be limited when working with samples
It’s November now, and I know sometimes it can be a little frustrating to not be able to start doing certain parts of the research right away, but that’s the whole beauty of science. Science takes time, and things won’t always go our way, which is something we just have to deal with. I learned about that with my previous research experience, and how there’s no need to get upset, but just wait it out and soon, things will start to happen. It gave me a new appreciation for researchers, and the hard work that they put into the things they study and test. Lastly, I’m looking forward to go to the Seventh Annual American Chemical Society Undergraduate Research Conference on November 14, 2015. This will be our first conference we’re presenting our BETA research at, where we’ll be presenting a poster. It’ll be a good experience, which will prepare me for the bigger conferences that we’ll be heading to next semester.
On this page we'll post updates of the BETA Project's progress- stay tuned!