Rebecca AAS

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Day 1
Goodbye Chicago, Hello SEATTLE!!!
Well our flight went well, almost no bumps. Checking the luggage was much easier at the curbside and security went fast. The flight was kinda long but what made it longer was sitting next to TWO heavy sleepers. UH UHM...Joey..Justin. What happened to Sleepless in Seattle boys??? But the brand new movie, Wall Street, was playing so it kept me busy for quite some time. Then off the flight we came with a bang and onto the walk on the yellow brick road to the train. The train ride was pretty interesting. I have never been on a train that came off the ground before so that was a new experience. It swayed from side to side and went speeding around curves, but I found it rather fun after a few minutes. Stop after stop we finally came to our destination...University Street, where we would walk to our grand hotel, The Crowne Plaza. The hotel was very nice and quaint. The rooms were big and spacious. Very clean as well. I must say the pillow spray and the eye masks really were a perfect touch. After we dropped off our heavy luggage, we shut our eyes for a little while to rest after the long day of traveling. So after about an hour of rest and refreshment we journeyed for the first time to the Convention Center to go hear someone speak about Neptune. The name of the talk was Neptune after One Orbit: Reflections on the Discovery of a Planet. This talk was presented by Gregory Laughlin from the University of California(Santa Cruz) as well as Robert W. Smith from the University of Alberta. The discovery of Neptune was in 1846 and this year marked Neptune's first complete rotation. A great quote I got out of the interesting speech was, "Astronomy matters most" by F.W. Bessel. After the talk, we went to the Educator Reception and met some kind people, ate lots of different finger foods, and scored a lot of free gifts. After the Educators Reception we ventured to the Opening Reception in the Grand Ballroom at the Sheraton. There we met many different astronomers, publishers, speakers, and friends of our teacher, Mrs. Piper. Some interesting food tasted today was the Butter Chicken with rice from this great little Indian Restaurant called Pablo. Justin and I shared this delicious dish. Aneesh made the right call and ordered the hotness level a 1.

Day 2
It feels like I have already been here, in Seattle, for about a week or so, but it has only been a day! Its crazy how long yesterday was. Well, this morning we are going to go shopping and walk around the BIG city. We are walking to Pike's Market Place. It is a huge shopping center that is indoor as well as outdoor/air market. There were so many different things to see. There was fish markets, food, clothing, jewelry, pottery, and so many other kinds of shops. I bought a beautiful bear paw necklace from a UNIQUE Native American jewelry store that also sold a fossilized Mammouth tusk that costed $17,000! How would you like that for your kitchen table? I also purchased some souvenirs and gifts for my family. After quite a bit of shopping and site seeing we stopped and had a brunch at the Sound View Cafe. I ordered a cheesburger and split it with Mrs. Piper. Soon after we went back to the hotel to get changed we were off to hear two speakers at the convention center. The first one was pretty interesting. The name of this talk was Dark Matter and Black Holes Over Cosmic Time, spoken by Tommaso Treu from the University of California. Mostly proof and experiments about the fact that black holes and dark matter actually exist. Right after this long speech we went straight onto another speech called Exoplanets: Misaligned, Migratory, Metallic, and Mini. This was spoken by Geoffrey W. Marcy from University of California, Berkeley. I didn't really get a whole lot out of this speech because my brain was already full of questions, thoughts, and comments from the prior talk. I feel like there needed to be more time between each speech/presentation. We then went around looking at other posters. We asked some questions, and got some free stuff like: calendars, pins, posters, and pens. At first I was really uncomfortable speaking to other astronomers about their projects because I wasn't quite sure what to say and if I would understand it or not. Joey, Justin and I ended up at the Space Dome, which was just like Star Lab when we were kids only way more high tech. I really enjoyed this because it was a hands on experience and we could relax from the exhaustion of the day. We spent at least a half hour or so in there learning about the programs and how it works, also about interesting constellations and stars. After that we met up with Mrs. Piper and went to the NITARP meeting. I really felt quite uncomfortable and disappointed in many of the people at this meeting. Some people were complaining about their travel and hotels not being good enough. Also, about how their means of communication between one another didnt work. Or about how they didn't believe that 8th graders should be involved in the program. Well I personally feel that a lot of those problems were fixable. If you don't know how to communicate with someone figure it out. Its not hard, especially not in this world. Between facebook, the phone, text, email, google docs, and skype you should have found a way. Also, I believe Wanetta did a WONDERFUL job with all of our travel plans and it took a LOT of stress off the program and the situation. Also, an 8th grader was present in our group, Olivia Rudio, who showed more care, appreciation, and did a better job than some of the HIGHSCHOOL level students so I disagree with the fact that 8th grade students should not be allowed. Thank you Luisa, and Wanetta for all your hard work and thank you so much for letting me be apart of it. This program/project has really met something to me. I have learned so much and I have so much more self confidence now than ever before. Whew, now that I can move on after the "meeting" we ventured to the space needle and walked about 20 blocks only to find that it was closed and we couldn't go. But it was a much needed walk and a good amount of bonding time with the other groups I didn't really know. Thanks Alex for the accurate closing time for the Space Needle. Just kidding. On the walk back we found this interesting Greek Restaurant to eat at. I sat next to Joey, BIG mistake. I watched him eat Calamari, err Squid, err whatever it was it had TENTACLES! Sorry to upset Don, but that was WAY to much for me!!!

Day 3
Today is the day we PRESENT our poster! It went well, and we had at least 20 people come to our poster and ask us questions in the morning. We then went up to listen to a talk called Emerging Results on the Extreme Binary, Epsilon Aurigae by Robert E. Stencel. Although he worked on the project he had his undergraduate student present it to the meeting for the experience. Basically Epsilon is an star that eclipses once every 27 years. This compares to our star because it takes that star 27 years and it only takes our star .084 days!! Big difference. We took a break and snacked on some Subway and Crepes right next to the convention Center. I got this amazing Chocolate Eclaire and it was chocolate mousse filled and it tasted like a slice of heaven. After another round of questions from famous astronomers and many students, we were told by Gordon Squire that we were going to be put into a press release brought to the head of NASA. This was really exciting.

Day 4
Today Olivia and I woke up early to meet Alex and Aneesh at 9 am to present the Science Poster at the Convention Center. We put up the poster after a short quick meeting with Don Hoard and began to review and look over their poster and thought about all the questions we had to ask Alex. The Science Poster was very well done and I think the Niles West group did a great job. We only got a few people interested to talk to us though. I think maybe we werent as inviting as we were at the other poster. After the poster session we met up with our teachers and all met at another talk. This lecture was called Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Inflation and All that by Edward W. Kolb, and Michael S. Turner. This was my favorite talk. They added many humorous images and storys into their presentation. Also, these two were THEORISTS, which means they were the ones who thought of the ideas and came up with theories but they didn't physically do the experiements, the researchers, scientists, and astronomers do. Since it was Olivia's last day in Seattle, we decided to do what she wanted to do (the group wanted to as well) but we took the Monorail (still amazes me that trains arent't on the ground) and went to the Space Needle. After a very long talk we decided to take the free ride up 525 ft and eat in the Space Needle Restaurant also called, Sky City. I ordered a cheesburger and a Strawberry Italian Ice (SO GOOD!) and took pictures as the floor rotated 360 degrees. After the meal, we went ouside on the sky deck and took pictures of the beautiful city, the gorgeous mountains, and the Sound. I absolutely LOVE big city environments and views and this trip influenced me even more to want to move there some day. After the delicious meal and a good amount of time taking pictures it was off back to the Convention Center to finish presenting our Science Poster. During this presentation, Alex and I met our friend, Mauricio Flores, a young college student at the University of Texas. He moved here from Chile for the chance to go to college and make something of himself. He visited our Education Poster and seemed very interested and impressed in our project. So when he saw us, he wanted to hear the speech for this poster. We explained to him the science bhind variable stars, our project, and each of our experiences. Afterwards, he invited us to see his poster. Alex and I accompanied him to his poster, called Pulsar Search Results from the Arecibo Remote Command Center. The Arecibo is a telescope located in Puerto Rico. Mauricio worked at the command center where he studied Pulsars and their periods. Their periods ranged from nanoseconds to seconds. He was excellent at explaining each and everyting about his project including all of his diagrams and graphs. Alex and I were very impressed. At the end of that long day we all met at an Asian Restaurant called Wild Ginger where Justin and I shared the Mandarin Chicken (quite delicious) and I tried the Orange Ginger Mint Tea with Sugar! It was actually really good, and I got to show off my sick chopstick skills!!!!

Day 5
We woke up late after a very late night together and we were off to the airport in a jiffy. Th flight was pretty comfortable and not quite as long. I enjoyed sitting next to Mrs. Ramseyer and Ben. Once again I want to thank Wanetta and Luisa for their continous commitment to this group. I also would like to thank our two famous astronomers, who taught us everything we know: Don Hoard, and Steve Howell. I would also like to thank Mrs. Piper, as well as Mr. Decoster, and Mrs. Ramseyer, for their dedication to teaching and this program. I believe this program will always be with me. I have learned so much, not only about science and astronomy, but about myself. Thank you again!!! I hope we all see each other soon! (:

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