"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." -Martin Luther

Monday, June 01, 2009

Stellar Solar Summer Days

What better way to break a several month's silence than by letting my readers know what I intend to publish during the next few!
To cut to the chase, I intend, no later than tomorrow, to upload the next installment of Nathanael Booth and the Ring of Power. I have written the end. How much longer can it take to publish it all?
After that I plan to work on posts every day. How often I will post depends on how much I get finished.
In the works are updates on Physics, Computer Science, sword-fighting, story-writing, a few historically-accurate Benjamin Dobbs episodes, and perhaps even something entirely new and science fiction-y...

And now, a brief update on my life, which will set the stage for some of those hopefully-pending physics and computer science related updates.
Today was my first day at work as an intern in the Astronomy department of South Carolina's beautiful Clemson University.
When I'm not learning about and hopefully contributing a tiny little bit back to astronomy, I plan to cook, write, read, study for the Physics GRE, and research graduate schools.
I will be working with IDL to learn, use, and, perhaps, improve a model of gas in what are believed to be protoplanetary accretion disks surrounding a class of observed stars known as Herbig Be stars.
This means I not only get work on real research using computer programming in an office in a physics department just a door down from real live physics graduate students and not very far at all from departments-full of living, breathing physicists, but I also get to live in my own apartment, shop for and cook my own food, and walk or use public transportation everywhere I go (all the italicized items are things that I think are just awesome, although I must admit that I may well be tired of quite a few of them by the end of the summer).
Nine weeks from now I will have, Lord willing, gained an entry-level knowledge of the field, written a paper and prepared a presentation on my particular work, spent a few nights at the SARA telescope at Kitt Peak, Arizona, and gotten paid by the NSF to do it.
I am daunted, but, today, quite happy about the prospect. While excitement over my project is one reason for my enthusiasm, I must admit that I suspect some part of it is due to all the other good things that have happened to me today. Frisbee tossing an old friend and some new, a successful journey to Wal-Mart and back with the treasure of a week's supply of food, and the unexpected arrival of air conditioner repairmen who installed a thermostat that, while set 4 degrees higher than the former, keeps the apartment at least 8 degrees cooler (I don't think the needle on the old one could go higher than 80). I hope my contentedness and joy will not prove to depend on my circumstances.

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