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!