Monday, July 14, 2008
The weather on Saturday was beautiful, so six of us took a trip to the Hou Hai District. We ended up renting a six person paddle boat, and took turns paddling around the Hou Hai Lake. We had a really great time even though we had a few boating collisions and had to navigate around the men swimming around the lake.
My research has been progressing over the last couple weeks. My original goal was to bind copper nanoparticles to copper nanotubes. My first couple attempts were pretty unsuccessful, but over the last few weeks the results have been slowly improving. Last week the TEM images showed many small copper nanoparticles bound to carbon nanotubes with hardly any copper aggregation, which was pretty exciting. For the rest of my time in Beijing I'm going to work on optimizing the conditions for monodisperse copper nanoparticle deposition.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
I started work today! I had met with my professor, Yan Li, a few times in the last two weeks, so I knew that I would be doing research involving carbon nanotubes. Since I had never worked with carbon nanotubes before, I asked for some papers to read, which gave me some background information on the subject. I was still a little nervous when I started work today because I wasn’t sure what to expect. Everything ended up pretty smoothly though. Luckily most of the people in the lab speak some English, so communication shouldn’t be too much of an issue. One of the undergrads, Lin Zi Yin, whose name I can’t even begin to pronounce (it’s much harder than it looks), got me set up at a desk, with a computer, and gave me a cute little leather lab notebook, goggles, and lab gloves. He also showed me around the lab, explained how to use most of the instruments that I’ll have to use, and translated their buttons into English for me.
I learned today that I’ll be trying to figure out how to effectively bind copper nanoparticles to carbon nanotubes. I spent most of my time in lab today reading a few papers on the topic, and was sent home with a few more to read. Tomorrow I will be trying out my experiment for the first time. It turns out that my overabundance of black clothes will finally be coming in handy. Apparently carbon nanotubes can leave black marks on clothing, so I’m going to have to wear dark clothes into lab for the rest of the summer.
This past week has been similar to the first; we’ve been seeing a lot of
I also ate meat at dinner on Friday. We went out for Peking Duck, which is a huge part of the culture in
After dinner that night we went out to the Peking Opera, which is also a pretty big tradition in
We had been told that karaoke is huge in
This weekend five students went to Xian, I was not one of them. The weekend was still action packed for those of us who decided not to go on the trip. Since it was Kelly’s birthday a few of us snuck out Saturday morning to find her a birthday cake. We tried to have “Happy 21st Kelly!” put on the cake, but instead we ended up with “Kelly (21st) Happy!” I actually really liked that touch.
For lunch we went out for hot pots, where we were given two huge pots of boiling broth, and then raw vegetables, fish and meat, which could be cooked in the broth, and then dipped in sesame sauce. The hot pots were amazing, probably one of my favorite meals so far on this trip. Even though we were all pretty full, we had brought Kelly’s cake along. The cake was huge, and there were only eight of us, but we had no place to store leftovers, so we split the cake into eight gigantic pieces and finished the whole thing.
We managed to visit both the
I made it to
Right before dinner we walked to the top of a drum tower, with terrifyingly steep stairs leading up to it. The view from the top of the tower was amazing, I could see all of
Thursday, May 22, 2008
1. What are you looking forward to the most?
I'm very excited about being able to live in China for a summer and become immersed in the Chinese culture. China has always been a country that I have wanted to visit, since the culture is so different from the US, so I'm very happy that I have an opportunity to go. I'm also excited to be able to gain more research experience, and learn more about my interests in Chemistry.
2.What gives you a sense of anxiety about going?
I think I'm most afraid of having to communicate with people while not being able to speak Chinese. Conducting research while not speaking a common language with others in the lab will definitely be a very difficult task. Outside the lab as well, I'm sure just getting around, ordering food, and doing other everyday tasks will be a challenge. I'm hoping to pick up enough Chinese to be able to get around while I'm there, but after taking our first Chinese class a few days ago, this seems more difficult than I had expected.
3. Not everyone who expressed interest ended up applying to go, what was the most compelling aspect of the program that made you decide you wanted to do it?
I was looking for a program that allowed me to conduct research while being abroad, but was having trouble finding research opportunities in chemistry outside the US. When I came across the UM PKU program I was very enthusiastic. I liked the fact that this program allowed me to be with a group of students my age, and seemed much more structured than many of the other programs I had encountered.
4.The pre-program period in Ann Arbor is meant to get the group to get to know each other before the trip. Is this a good idea? Were the activities effective?
It is definitely a good idea to have a pre-departure orientation in the US. We have all gotten to know each other and become friends, so when we arrive in China we'll have a support group. It was a great idea to separate getting to know one another from getting used to the culture in China. If we had all just been given tickets to China, and met once we got there we would not have had the same chance to bond in a familiar environment.
As for the activities, the ones that were planned were pretty effective, but we usually finished them around 2:00, and then didn't have much to do for the rest of the day. I think we would have enjoyed more activities to get to know one another, maybe some fun activities in Ann Arbor.