Day 5- Revision, Revision, and More Revision

Monday started out very hectic, as I there was a huge accident on I90 near Framingham, and the usually 2 hour (with traffic) commute took me about 3 hours and 35 minutes.  Fjodor was also running late, as he had went home to Worcester for the weekend, and was also stuck in the traffic. 

When we finally did start work, we kept revising Lab 1 and Lab 2.  Our goals for this week are to make it through all of the labs, which is starting to seem very ambitious. 

We started revising the labs, and more revision leads to more ideas, and more ideas lead to more revisions, and so on. 

We had a BUSAT brown bag lunch, and updated the rest of BUSAT on our project.  It was exciting talking to and hearing from many different undergraduate and graduate students about what exactly they are doing on a week by week basis.

In the afternoon, we met with Jean, our new graduate student friend.  She is helping us to construct the cut down mechanism for our balloon.  This mechanism is required by the FAA, as the Balloon must have two methods of dropping its payload.  One is the balloon bursting, the other is the cut down mechanism. 

We went through and tallied up the supplies we would need for the cutoff mechanism and then ordered them.  We’re still waiting for our supplies, so until then, we are revising labs.

Here is the diagram of our cut down mechanism:


Pre-Workshop Training- Day 2

Day 2 of the pre-workshop training started with a continental breakfast, similar to the one I had on the first day.  I took the Red line to Park Street, and the BU Central Stop is  We met in the Photonics building, in an amazing conference room on the 9th floor.

The first part of the day we received presentations from the REU, the Research experiences for Undergraduates program.  They had been working at the program for about 3 weeks, and seemed like they had learned a lot and many were using terms that we weren’t even sure of. 

We then had about an hour of Laser training, and learned all about different classes of lasers (there’s a lot!), and how to be safe around lasers in general.

Lunch was in the student union, and I had a delicious salad for really cheap.

In the afternoon, we had different laboratories provide us with what their RETs would be for the summer.  It was interesting to get to know what the other teachers were doing.

We then had a social with all of the laboratory representatives, and finally headed to the BU College of Arts and Sciences, to see where we would be working.  We decided to meet outside Professor Fritz’s office on Monday to begin work!

First Meeting Professor Fritz’s Lab

I am completing a summer research experience for teachers through the Boston University Photonics department ( this summer, and thought it would be worthwhile to document the entire experience for anyone interested in learning more about science.

Today we had our first meeting with Professor Theodore Fritz’s lab at Boston University.  The lab I will be spending my summer with BUSAT (, working on the outreach materials and the culminating experience will be a balloon launch from Mount Greylock ( in Western Massachusetts.  The individuals we met with were Nathan and Kamen, who will be our point people throughout this summer process.

BUSAT already has some labs constructed, but they are in more scientific terms than students may understand.  My partner, Fjodor, and I will be revising these laboratories into teacher editions and student editions, and finding connections to other Massachusetts and National Science and Technology Frameworks.

We met in room 613 of the Photonics building, and were able to see the lab before our meeting.  It looked very much like a standard physics./mechanical engineering laboratory, it’s too bad I didn’t take a picture of it at the time.  The meeting lasted approximately an hour, and we were on our way towards our summer experience!