How to Survive University

Notice I didn’t title this “How to Ace University”. After four years at university, I’m no longer naive to the fact that failing is part of life. If you got a degree without failing a homework, quiz or test, congratulations to you. For everyone else, here is my comprehensive list of *almost* everything that has gone wrong for me at university and quick fixes for each.

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Sometimes my classmates don’t look like me.

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Atmospheric Water Generators

Typical Atmospheric Water Generators (AWGs) don’t work well in environments with low humidity or temperature. Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found a way to extract water from soil in the driest biome in the world- the desert. Using an air-cooled sorbent-based atmospheric water harvesting device, the research group predicted that over a quarter-liter of water could be extracted per kilogram of metal-organic framework (MOF) each day.

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Image from supplementary documents of MIT study.

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The Garbage Patch

After studying the environment at university for four years, I have written over 60 blog posts on environmental issues, formulated a personal memoir on my life as an environmentalist, and maintained a semi-annual environmental news page. Nevertheless, I still haven’t done everything in my power to end environmental issues.

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Hello, Madison!

The pain of waiting for an answer is over: I’ve been accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study Land Resources. The bustling capital city is located between two frequently-kayaked and very fishable lakes, Monona and Mendota. The city is sustainable in that biking and walking are the main methods of transportation, and places to eat, live, study, and be entertained are all very close to each other. A highly centralized city like Madison is a great environment for a grad student without a car, such as myself. The average apartment here rents for around $800/month but according to students, the price of living is increasing as people are discovering this secret city. Here are some pictures from the plane, a map of Wisconsin, and the view of the “West Side” from the top of the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) building at the University. Continue reading “Hello, Madison!”

Grad School Purgatory

Since urban dictionary doesn’t quite spell it out for you, I will: This is when applications have been completed and sent, but there is neither an acceptance nor rejection from anyone. There is little to no knowledge of when an answer will arrive, if ever. This is grad school purgatory.

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Interview: Michael Oppenheimer

Recently I had the unique opportunity to interview renowned climate scientist Michael OppenheimerWe met at the Hubbard Brook Annual Conference following his motivational speech. Dr. Oppenheimer is not only a professor of Geo-Sciences and International Affairs at Princeton, but also is a former member of the Environmental Defense Fund, and has an active role in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He attained an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and a PhD in Chemical Physics, but is also versed in Atomic and Molecular Astrophysics and has even taught Astronomy at Harvard. Oppenheimer is able to speak about climate change in such a way that he has been a guest on several significant shows such as Oprah Winfrey, ABC News, and the Colbert Report. Aside from his credentials Dr. Oppenheimer is actually a very humble and inspiring person. Once you speak to him you will find he is quite delightful.

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Dr. Oppenheimer is an astute climate scientist, but was also very warm and welcoming to undergraduates Jessica Turner (left) and Brandon Colon (right)

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Hubbard Brook

 

On Sunday night we arrived back at the University from our trip to Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire. There were around a hundred researchers who attended the annual conference there. And let me tell you, not a single one wasn’t in shape. The mountain was steep, with an occasional dirt path leading the way, but other times you had to bushwhack to get where you were going. Although I had no cell service or internet for miles around and people were scarce, the restaurants we ate at were pure heaven. In the picture above: Woodstock Station and Brewery, view from Shamrock Motel of the White Mountains, the lab, and view of the brook.   Continue reading “Hubbard Brook”