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Saturday, May 15, 2010

The power of pure light

This week has been long and hard. 12-14 hour days...work and then my MSc - some things working, some things not. Lots of work. And despite this, there have been a number of great rewards to keep me going...In the middle of the week there was a crazy roadtrip to Calgary to hear a set by Shpongle. Mr Posford is the mind behind Shpongle, Younger Brother, Hallucinogen and the whole Twisted record label (there's a link on my sidebar...go on...check them out...)...and it was a grand show. He remixed songs from all his collaborative groups...it was very very good. I saw many great peoples I have not seen in a while and dance my ass off to fine music...then scurried home to dive back into things.

But even better than that, was Thursday.
On the U of S campus we have a 3rd generation synchrotron - the Canadian Light Source. I went on a tour of it when it was built almost a decade ago but I've been dying to have some reason to be in there and actually use it. The last month or so I've been collaborating on a research project, prepping samples for a cancer study and on Thursday I got to go tour the facility and then assist the main researchers in analyzing some samples at the mid range Infrared beam there. I could geek out with my knowledge of Infrared chemical analysis...and be in the freaking synchrotron...

My people...the synchrotron is FUCKING AWESOME. Seriously.
A ring of incredibly powerful light divided into functional wavelength units....low -IR through high X-ray. All in one giant facility with odd industrial machines and nooks and crannies all covered in tinfoil...

I got to wander to all main acessable areas and snoop about all the beamlines after. Fascinating stuff. There is even a biological beam line for study of proteins and live animals with visible range light. One of the biological lines was down and I could snoop in the room used for larger samples...it looked like a freaking space ship capsule in there. I did the happy dance. Right there. And the person showing me around knew exactly why....I have not geeked out like that in a long LONG time.

They let me wander and look at things...even a research lab where blue light harms their end product so the whole lab is bathed in orange light...how cool is that?

My most amusing thing from the facility was the poster by the biological beamline showing the layout and functionality of the beamline and where the sample would go...represented by a dog. Bizarre. And yes...you could put a dog in the beam. It would be OK. And you could study it's dogginess on the atomic level. I mean BAH! Craziness...

So yeah...I'm busy, but life keeps handing me cool things to keep me hanging on to the edge of sanity. On days like thursday I really really like my job :)
Tonight I'm going to see the Full Monty musical with a friend but before that I must be good and go to finally put the final coat of paint on my kitchen cupboard doors...I mean it's only been 4 months since we started the kitchen. I should probably stop wating precious time and finish that up, what?

Have a grand weekend everyone.
Geo out...

2 comments:

grapecat said...

wow! way cool. geeking out is very very cool, y'know :)

sounds like fun - hope you're enjoying your weekend.

Rimshot said...

Ahhh, it sounds like nerd heaven (in the best possible way).

I wonder what atomic level dogginess looks like?