Monthly Archives: May 2014

Aaand boom goes my tire…

So, as a few of you may know I drove home to Long Island last weekend, half because it was Memorial Day Weekend (and I feel that it’s a requirement to go for a ride on my boat to start the summer off right) and half because I found and apartment that I’m moving into … TODAY (and all weekend probably, given how much stuff I have).

Unfortunately, a draw back to living on the other side of NYC  from Rochester is  that whenever I drive there, or back, I have to find a delicate balance between me wanting to sleep late-ish and me not wanting to get stuck in rush hour traffic; which, may I mention, lasts for about four hours.  So, it’s more of a rush-four-hours.

Unsurprisingly my dislike of traffic won again for this trip and I woke up bright and early, at 6:45am, so that I could pack up, get breakfast and gas, and get on the road to miss the Memorial Day traffic.  Let me also add that any holiday weekend traffic (especially if it falls on a Friday) tends to lengthen rush-four-hours to approximately rush-six-hours and instead of starting around 4:30pm it usually starts as early as 2:30pm.  So by leaving by 8am I planned to be home by 2 or 2:30, and successfully evade Memorial Day traffic.

 

…..Let’s just say none of that happened.  About 20 minutes into my drive (just before the Geneva exit on the thruway) I had an instantaneous blow out of my rear passenger side tire.  I guess I really am as cool under pressure as I think (go me!) because I was able to get off to the shoulder and far away from the 18-wheelers to be safe.  AAA was called, and told me half an hour. So instead of sitting like a lame duck for that time I decided to start changing my tire and actually got it most of the way changed before the guy came to help.

 

The damage. Clearly not your everyday flat tire.

The damage. Clearly not your everyday flat tire.

 

Following an excruciating two hour ordeal of changing tires and getting a new tire (because I tend to have bad luck and was fearing another blowout) I was back on the road maneuvering my way through the back roads of the Finger Lakes … just in time to make sure I hit the tri-state-area smack dab in the middle of rush-six-hours.

My usual six hour drive took me ten hours and I barely made it home for my favorite dinner; roast beef, homemade gravy, mashed potatoes, and corn. But, dinner did make up for my disastrous drive home in the end.  During this dinner with our next door neighbors (my best friend’s parents) describing how or what made my tire disintegrate so quickly really puzzled me.  I found myself in the middle of what seemed like an everyday discussion but what had a scientific (mostly physics) background from all the different forces that were acting on my tire.

I don’t know exactly what we decided happened to the tire, given that they were in pretty good condition and I didn’t see anything on the road I may have run over. But, seeing my family and friends, none of whom are even remotely science-people, think critically reinforced several of the themes we have been discussing in class.  I found that although none of these people had careers even close to the science field they all possessed scientific literacy and were able to think critically about my tire disaster.  We had evidence based arguments and predictions; heck, I think there was even a corn-on-the-cob based model used at one point!

 

And I did get to take a ride on the boat!!

And I did get to take a ride on the boat!!

My Inner Scientist

March of eighth grade was when it all changed for me. I was always a math person, that was what intrigued me and what I did best in. But, when choosing summer classes for CTY summer camp in 2005 I decided to take high school chemistry and step outside of my “box.” For three weeks that summer I, at 13 years old, was completely immersed in Regent’s level chemistry with my teacher “Dalak,” as he preferred to be called. Through funny mnemonics and music Dalak made eight hours of chemistry, five days a week, for three weeks of my summer vacation exceptionally and unexpectedly fun.

I followed up my summer CTY chemistry experience by taking the same class in school for graduation credit, and subsequently AP Chemistry where I became an informal tutor of sorts for my friends and soccer team. My senior year of high school, while sitting through Regent’s Physics, it dawned on me just how much I missed chemistry and the creativity which it provided me.

Through college I took almost every undergraduate chemistry class that The University of Rochester offered and never got tired of the twists and turns in the material. I thrived in and came to adore organic chemistry; and, with my outside interest in diseases and their corresponding treatments got involved in a drug discovery project for my senior thesis.

While taking part in my thesis I also became a teaching assistant for the freshman general chemistry lab. At the end of the year, when handing in the final draft of my thesis along with the final grades for the students I taught, I realized that for every second I enjoyed my thesis and being in the lab doing cutting edge research that could change people’s lives in the future that I loved teaching my students in general chemistry lab ten-fold more. The experience of seeing them grow as scientists, and people, and make the connections to understand even the most challenging material was so fulfilling to me and made me realize that I can do more help, in my opinion, by continuing to teach students the subject that I’ve now loved for almost a decade.

Valencia Science Museum Pic