Gulfstream Grandeur.

POSTION: Embry-Riddle

For those of you who don’t know, a Gulfstream III was recently donated to Embry-Riddle’s Aviation Maintenance Science Program! And if you didn’t know, a Gulfstream is my favorite type of (modern day) aircraft. We got the amazing opportunity to check it out today. Needless to say, I was a kid in a candy store!

Near the Embry-Riddle Maintenance Hangar, GIII

Getting my Gulfstream loving!

GIII

I was in a state of pure happiness. It’s moments like this that make all the hard work pay off – especially after having three tests! Sometimes it’s important to cherish the little things in life; details can be the most important things. The details that make you see how intricate life truly is. It’s important to realize how blessed we are in the midst of living a busy life. I ran out of the College of Aviation this afternoon completely stressing out over an upcoming test and saw this beautiful Gulfstream staring me in the face. Then it hit me.

GIII cockpit

 We all get caught up in the ‘doing’ of life that we forget the importance of ‘being.’ This causes us to get caught up in the ugly part of life and forget the beauty. We worry, we stress, we overanalyze, we overwork ourselves because we feel we have to live up to this “status quo,” yet we don’t realize that we are forgetting to actually live. It’s not that a Gulfstream taught me this, the concept has been there all along. But the Gulfstream was definitely a reminder for me to stop and smell the flowers. Sometimes if we stop for a moment in the midst of all our rushing, we see the things that bring us those rays of sunshine we often miss. Yes, I was worried about a test, but I was discreetly reminded of why I am doing what I do in the first place. Fear defeated by pure faith. Those are the moments you don’t want to miss.

Me and Sojung under the GIII wing!

On a side note: October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month!

The following weeks are broken down as listed below:

  • Oct. 1-6, General online safety. Raises safety awareness among Americans.
  • Oct. 7-13, Mobile online safety & security. Focuses on the need to protect our safety regardless of when and where we access the internet.
  • Oct. 14-20, Cyber education. Gears toward the advances and opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education.
  • Oct. 21-27, Cybercrime. Works to display how people can protect themselves from internet crimes.
  • Oct. 28-31, Cybersecurity and critical infrastructure. Fixates on the necessity to protect our critical infrastructure.

In the Homeland Security Student Association (HSSA), we have been discussing the upcoming weeks and how to spread the news about the importance of Cyber Security. If you didn’t know, hundreds of thousands of cyber attacks happen in just one hour every day in many different countries! It’s extremely important to know how you are protecting what you do on the internet.

  Life is such a gorgeous thing and in this case, it was complemented by a gorgeous airplane. Next time you find yourself anxious, worried, or unsure- just know that from those situations stem the greatest circumstances. Stop and smell the flowers every once in awhile.
It’s a beautiful life. Do it justice.
 
Blue Skies 

Hanging Out in Orlando and Stuff

Oops – I haven’t written in a while. Sorry about that!

Today was the last day of classes for the summer. I think I escaped Electrical Engineering unscathed. All I have left on my plate is one last lab report and a lab practical on Monday, then it’s two weeks of freedom. That’s the longest break I’ve had since Christmas, haha.

While Daytona itself is kinda “meh” as far as cities go, its proximity to Orlando is great (if you have a car, that is.) I’ve spent quite a bit of time down there the last couple weeks. One of my favorite things about Orlando, is that bands always play there. Minneapolis was always kind of a hit or miss city as far as musical tours, so it was always disappointing to have to miss seeing bands I liked because they decided we just weren’t important enough for a show. But everybody plays Orlando! And it’s awesome.

Myself with Juliet Simms! Too bad I’m a sweaty mess in the photo (it was like 100 degrees and super humid – bleh.)

I spent the whole day down there at Warped Tour a couple weeks ago, which was awesome. I had never been before, and almost didn’t go because I didn’t have anybody with whom to go. Well, I ended up at the show for free, courtesy of Hawthorne Heights, who picked me to work their street team for the Orlando show! Although I was promised a backstage pass that never ended up happening, I still got to get in early and for free, as well as meet the band and get some free cool signed stuff, and all I had to do was hang a bajillion posters around the grounds. It was awesome. Except for the part where it thunderstormed and they tried to shepherd the entire audience at this enormous music festival into a big barn thing. But I digress. I also got to meet Juliet Simms, who is awesome. If you don’t know who she is, she is the singer for the band Automatic Loveletter (they aren’t super well-known, so I don’t really blame you if you haven’t heard of them. Oh man that sounded so hipster.) She was touring with Warped as a solo act, and she put on a really great show – her voice is amazing. She’s on my list of musical idols (along with Lzzy Hale, Amy Lee, and Ville Valo – if you don’t know who these people are, I urge you to find out), so it was really cool to get to meet her, and she was super nice.

All the signed CDs I got from Warped Tour, plus the compilation album. Woo! I also got a couple signed posters from Hawthorne Heights and Echosmith that I somehow managed to find wall-space in my apartment for.

I also met this awesome band called Echosmith at Warped. They are really new, their first album comes out in a couple months. But get this – they are four siblings between the ages of 14-20. Yeah, the drummer is 14. And they are good. I’m really looking forward to their album. I think they’re going to be super famous someday (and I have a signed copy of their first songs ever released!)

Another thing I like about Florida is that they do a tax-free weekend in August on things like clothes, electronics, and school supplies. So a friend and I went down to the big malls in Orlando for some shopping, (something in which I don’t frequently take part, I might add.) I bought some new clothes and running shoes and coffee cup earrings. And the government didn’t take more of my money! It was a fun day. Orlando has everything – including Panda Express. Mmmmm.

Between Kennedy Space Center, Warped Tour, and tax-free shopping (plus picking people up at the Orlando airport), I’ve put quite a few miles on my car lately! It’s not too bad of a drive though.

Those are the exciting things I’ve been up to. Other things I’ve been doing include super-cleaning my apartment last weekend, writing lab reports, reading about wave acoustics (that’s literally all I’m doing in SPRL right now), and hiding inside where it’s air-conditioned. I thought the worst of the weather was past, but boy was I wrong. It’s been consistently humid and about 100 degrees outside. It’s pretty much terrible. I also dug out my Nintendo DS and started a new game on Pokemon SoulSilver, but I got stuck at the third gym and got mad and stopped playing it.

Hopefully next week I’ll have a cool research project started that I can write about – so stay tuned for that. Then the following week I’m headed back up to Minnesota to see my family ’cause they miss me and stuff. It’s about 70 degrees there right now, so I might just not come back until Florida quits being so Florida-y. Then after that it’s fall semester! I’m really excited for this fall because I’m taking some really cool classes, but more on that later. And I get to blog for y’all again in the fall, so you’ll get to hear all about it. :)

I didn’t talk about much this post, so here is an astronaut sloth for your enjoyment:

“Slothstronaut”

Peace out for now, readers!

-Lynsey

Summer B and Twelve Hours at Kennedy Space Center

Hello again to all my lovely readers!

I apologize for not having written in a while, though I haven’t really had anything interesting to talk about. Now that I have some stuff, commence blog post.

Spending the evening studying up on some circuitry.

Summer B is already well upon us; I’m taking Electrical Engineering this semester. It’s definitely a change from last semester’s math class, but so far I’m enjoying it. The material is very straight forward, and the instructor let us vote not to have a final. Although that means midterms will be weighted a lot more… could be a blessing or a curse, tune in later to find out. The thing I am enjoying about circuitry is that it makes both logical and mathematical sense. When you look at the equations, you can see exactly what they mean and why, just by understanding the way electricity is moving. And I have a good solid circuits foundation from Physics III, for which I am thankful, as most of what we have done up to this point has been review. Boy does time fly though; last week was our first of two midterms and our fifth of ten labs. That means Summer B is half over, and Fall is just around the corner!

I’ve been a lot busier with school this semester than last, which is ironic because it’s a junior-level undergraduate class versus the master’s level class I took last semester. I suppose it’s probably the lab component that’s keeping me busy – an extra 4-6 hours a week, plus writing two reports. As a result I haven’t had as much time to spend in SPRL, but with CEDAR behind me my task for the time being is just reading up on some literature. A good, firm understanding of one’s field is always great, but doesn’t make for good blog content, so I’m afraid that’s really all I have to say about that.

The fourth of July holiday came and went, and I didn’t really do much. I’ve learned to play some new songs on my acoustic guitar, and picked up a copy of Final Fantasy VIII. Per countless recommendations I’ve also started (and nearly finished) watching Game of Thrones. I won’t say anything that could spoil it for those interested in watching, just that it certainly lives up to its hype. I also went down to the Port Orange library yesterday to see a guy from NASA give a presentation on Mars. It was a really cool presentation, and I even slipped him a business card afterwards. I don’t know if I’ll get anything out of it, but I never pass up an opportunity to give my business card to a NASA employee. :)

The Atlas V lifting off! Not a great photo, but you really can’t get anything much better without one of those fancy schmancy cameras that I’m not fortunate enough to own.

Standing underneath the Saturn V at the Apollo center. It is a massive beast of a rocket!

I know that all isn’t very exciting, so now I’ll get to the exciting part: last Friday. It all started with waking up at 5 am and leaving the house with the sun still down. If you know me, you know that that does not happen. In fact, I live by a general rule that if you wake up and the hour is not yet double digits, it’s too early to be waking up. So, you may be wondering what got me on the road at 6 am, and the answer is SPACESHIPS. You may or may not be aware that on Friday there was the largest Atlas V launch to date, which took place around 9 am. We booked it down to Kennedy Space Center and arrived at about 7ish (the sun didn’t come up until we were well down I-95), and then got on a bus to be taken to the Saturn V center at KSC. If you weren’t aware, KSC has bleachers set up there, and it is the closest you can get to the launch publicly (i.e. without sneaking onto secret government property.) After a ten minute delay due to upper-atmospheric winds, the rocket finally went off at 9 am sharp, and boy was it a sight.

One of my pictures next to Atlantis. What a sight it was!

I think we spent half the trip posing in front of cool signs.

That was pretty much the best day ever. After the launch, we spent the day at KSC, and didn’t leave until they closed at 7 pm. And let me tell you, if you’re a space-enthusiast, KSC is even better than Disney World. We saw the new Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit first, and it was AWESOME. So well done. There were some really cool short movies before you even got into the exhibit, with the last one being projected onto a dome so the shuttle footage was all around you. Then the screen lifted up and right in front of you, not more than ten or twenty feet away, is Space Shuttle Atlantis. You could get within nearly an arm’s reach of it – it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. The Space Shuttle exhibit is also home to the Shuttle Launch Simulator (which was at KSC before the Atlantis exhibit opened, though I had never had a chance to ride.) That was a really cool experience. They say that astronauts have ridden in it and said it’s as close to a real launch as you can get in a simulator.

Panoramic picture of Space Shuttle Atlantis. Click for the full-sized beauty!

NASA shuttle astronaut and astrophysicist, Dr. Sam Durrance.

Standing next to a full-size lego model of the Mars Spirit/Opportunity rover. Of course they can’t display the real ones because they’re still over on Mars.

Another cool thing at KSC is the Astronaut Encounter, where they have an astronaut come give a presentation and then you can take pictures with him afterwards. He gave a really great speech, and it was cool because, not only was he a shuttle astronaut, but also an astrophysicist. We also watched an IMAX film about the Hubble Telescope, walked around in the future explorers building (they had some cool Mars stuff there), and took tons of pictures all over the park. It was really a twelve hours well-spent. It was dark again by the time I arrived back home, and I collapsed into bed and slept straight through until about noon.

KSC is running a deal on annual passes right now in celebreation of the new shuttle exhibit, and I highly recommend taking advantage. It is only $5 than general admission, and because parking is $10 and the pass gets you free parking, it’s actually cheaper to get the pass than it is to go once at the normal rate! Plus you save 20% on all food and 10% in the gift shop (which is literally the coolest gift shop I have ever been in), and can get guests in for $10 off. It’s only about 45 minutes from campus, and makes for a fantastic trip – so head down there! I plan to go at least two or three more times before my annual pass expires.

That’s all I have to say for now. Another week starts tomorrow, and before long August will be upon us! (I apologize for the photo-heavy post, if you have a slow browser!)


The 2013 “Coupling, Energetics, and Dynamics, of Atmospheric Regions” Meeting

Greetings from Boulder, Colorado!

I’m going to be writing this entry throughout the week as events progress, but as the conference is nearly half-over (or half-started, for you optimists), I thought I should get started writing! Also for anybody interested, you can read my conference poster here. Note that it’s a hi-res PDF so it may take some time to load.

Tuesday

View of the mountains from outside my hotel room!

I’m blogging from my hotel room at the CEDAR conference while I take a break from sitting in talks that go way over my head. It’s been a great experience being here; I’ve met students from all over the country and world, and have really enjoyed talking to them. The weather is absolutely gorgeous, as is the view. This is my first time in Colorado, and I can definitely see myself calling it home someday, should the opportunity come along.

We arrived in Colorado late on Saturday night, after a long day of taking a final exam, catching a shuttle to Orlando, a delayed flight to Denver, and a shuttle to Boulder that forgot about us and ended up being an hour and a half late. It was quite lucky to have the time-change working in my favor, as I was up at 7 am the next morning (something I swear never to do) for breakfast and the beginning of the student workshop. Sunday was a whole day devoted to some lower-level talks aimed at students (albeit Masters and PhD students, so I was still pretty lost) and a lot of socializing. The group of us from Riddle, which consists of myself, three PhD students, and three Master’s students (all EP) have been pretty much sticking together, but in the last couple days we’ve also been hanging with a student from the Indian Institute of Technology, some students from Utah State and various other state colleges all over the country (I’ve lost track!), and a group of students doing an REU program at the MIT Haystack Observatory.  For those who haven’t heard that term, REU stands for Research Experience for Undergraduates, which is similar to an internship (it’s basically what I’m doing, but you usually go to another university to do it.) They are my favorite to talk to because they don’t make me feel like the kid in the group.

Panoramic picture of the mountains over the CU Boulder football stadium. They are such a sight to see, the camera just doesn’t capture it. Click for the full picture!

Yesterday we attended a fancy schmancy banquet at CU Boulder, which was a great time. The food was delicious and it gave us an opportunity to chat about all sorts of things – time flew and we almost missed the last bus back to the hotel! We all went out for “the best frozen yogurt in Boulder” afterwards and had more chance to chat in a less-formal setting. It was a blast! I regret sitting with students at the banquet rather than doing some networking with professionals, but I’ll have a better opportunity for that later in the week anyways (My plan is to schmooze some NASA guys into hooking me up with an internship.)

A few of us Riddle students after lunch in Boulder. Mountains!

The conference itself is definitely interesting, but does get boring (just being honest here!) The sessions are generally aimed at other scientists in the field, i.e. people with PhDs, so a lot of what they are talking about goes way over my head. It’s some pretty cool stuff though, and I do enjoy bits and pieces of it. Mostly it gives an impression of what it’s like to get out into the world and actually be a physicist, because until now the only viewpoint I’ve had was The Big Bang Theory. I’ve been spending a bit of time sitting in sessions, and then taking breaks to sit in my room and let my brain recuperate. The coolest talk so far has probably been the one this morning, which was a tribute to 50 years of gravity wave research. Dr. Colin Hines, the first to publish a paper on gravity waves (in 1960!),  participated in the session via phone, which was pretty cool. After that I grabbed lunch with the group from MIT Haystack and then came back for another gravity wave session, led by ERAU’s own Dr. Snively.

Tonight will be the first of two poster sessions; it is divided into “IT” and “MLT”, which stand for “Ionosphere/Thermosphere” and “Mesosphere/Lower-Thermosphere”. Basically it depends on what part of the atmosphere your research focuses on. My poster is MLT, so I’ll be presenting tomorrow evening, but I’ll definitely be out there tonight to get a feel for the session and check out the other posters from Riddle. That’s all I’ve got for now, I’ll write some more tomorrow…

Wednesday

Standing with my poster at the MLT poster session.

Today was the big day! I skipped out on all the sessions this morning to sit in my room and read over every inch of my poster – had to be ready for the big, scary questions! Well, there weren’t many big, scary questions, so that was good. Overall I think my poster presentation went well; I definitely got flustered going over my spiel so many times, but people seemed genuinely interested. And they should be, as I’m the only one here doing non-Earth research. I even handed a business card to a guy from NASA. It’s always worth a shot in the dark to say, “hey, I see you work at NASA, do you have any connections to internships?” I think he admired my forward-ness, because he took my business card and said he’d email me. You never know what can come from good networking!

After the poster session we all went into downtown Boulder for dinner – wow! I wish I had taken some pictures. It’s a really cool city, lots of small brick buildings, street performers, and little shops, bars, and restaurants. We ended up eating at this bar/restaurant, and had the whole second floor balcony to ourselves (mostly because it was the only place all 8 of us could fit!) It was a great time. And they had this raspberry red velvet torte with coffee ice cream that was divine.

Thursday

More mountains! I loved taking pictures of them.

Well, the conference is winding down. We were up way too early today for “breakfast with NSF”, where the directors of the National Science Foundation sat down with students over breakfast and just had an open conversation. It was cool, but I didn’t feel like I got much out of it. We ended up talking more about how the conference went and suggestions for next year than we did about getting jobs and working in the field. Also, we were just sitting in a big circle of chairs, and it’s really difficult to eat French toast from a plate on your lap. Just saying.

After that were the poster prizes. One of the students from Riddle and the guy from the Indian Institute of Technology with whom we have been hanging both won honorable mention awards! There was also a distinguished speaker lecture this morning by a woman who has been in this field of research for over fifty years. It was really interesting, because she talked more about her life and building her career than the actual science – she spoke about being denied entry into a PhD program in India and only being allowed to teach undergraduate physics to women, simply because she was a woman. It was a very thought-provoking lecture.

Ethiopian food! You take those bread rolls (we called them “food towels”) and use them to pick up the different foods. It was really good!

In the evening a few of us went out for Ethiopian food with the group from Utah State. It was a really cool experience – they bring one big plate of food to the table, and you all just kind of dig in (with your hands!). There is this like soft bread stuff you would rip off and use to grab the different foods. It was delicious, cultural, and a lot of fun!

Tomorrow we leave Boulder around noon. The trip over all has been fantastic, and an amazing experience. I can’t wait for next year!

Our whole group from ERAU!

Feel free to email me if you have questions about anything I have (or haven’t) talked about here. I’m always open to emails!

-Lynsey
schroel2@my.erau.edu

End of the Semester and the Brunt-Väisälä Frequency

Hello again from good ol’ Daytona Beach!

My brand new coffee table from IKEA – it really makes the living room feel like a living room. And I put it together all by myself! :D

My life is virtually the same as it was last time I wrote. It’s still way too hot and rains a lot – but that’s all I will say about that, because I promised no more complaining about the weather. I did get the leak in my car fixed, so at least now when I drive in the rain my feet stay dry! The Summer A semester is already winding down – my final exam is this weekend! It’s crazy how fast it went. I’ll definitely have to give two thumbs up to summer classes. I’m really looking forward to having my first three grad credits under my belt. Last weekend I went down to IKEA in Orlando with some friends to get new furniture for my apartment. IKEA is always fun; if you haven’t been you should definitely go. It’s like one the essentials of being in college. Not to mention spending two hours assembling a dresser at midnight really brings people closer together. Aside from all of that I’ve been doing a lot of the same old stuff. School, work TV, music, eating a lot of Indian food take-out (I’m a little bit addicted.)

A map of the location on Mars where we are simulating gravity waves, and the corresponding altitude map. The big mountain on the right is Olympus Mons.

My research in SPRL has been going really well. We’ve been working on simulating gravity waves near Olympus Mons, which is the largest mountain in the solar system, measuring up to about 22 km high (that’s 14 miles for those of you stuck on the English system.) There are a few different types of gravity waves but the type we are working with are Buoyancy Waves, which are caused by, you guessed it, the buoyancy force. Basically what happens is that air particles are forced to move upwards in the atmosphere because there’s a giant mountain in their way. Because the air at the base of the mountain is more dense than the air it’s now surrounded by, gravity pulls it back down. Think of it like taking a pingpong ball and pushing it down into a bath tub – once you let go it flies back up into the air because it overcompensates for the density difference. Air does this too, and as gravity pulls the air down, it pulls it too far, and the buoyancy force tries to fix this by pushing it back up – but too far again and the cycle repeats over and over again creating a wave in the air.

A time-lapse plot of a wave we simulated on Mars, which has a wavelength of about 40 km! You can see that as time passes the wave moves up and begins to reflect on itself – we are further investigating this phenomenon.

These waves are similar to ripples in a pond, but way bigger – with wavelengths of tens of kilometers long. That’s huge! In general they can’t be seen by the naked eye, however they often cause ripples that allow us to observe the waves. The waves on Mars are pretty cool. They are larger than the waves on Earth, due to the fact that the Martian atmosphere has a much lower Brunt-Väisälä frequency (I’ll explain about that later.) They also do not make it as far into the upper-atmosphere as they do on Earth, and tend to reflect upon each other around 60 km. We are now working on simulating a wave over Olympus Mons with a realistic wind profile, whereas until now we have assumed zero wind. The results have been very cool so far, and I’ll definitely have something to report next week.

Plots comparing the buoyancy frequency and period for Earth (blue) and Mars (red) with respect to altitude.

So I should probably explain the Brunt-Väisälä frequency. (Super cool name, right?) This is the natural frequency at which the atmosphere resonates. Think of it like when you tap on a wine glass – the sound it makes is its resonant frequency, the sound the glass wants to make based on its size, material, etc. This happens in the atmosphere as well, however the waves are much larger (like I mentioned in the last entry) so we can’t actually hear the sound. In the atmosphere, the resonant frequency is based on the temperature, density, chemical make-up, etc., and is the maximum possible frequency for gravity waves. On Mars, the Brunt-Väisälä frequency is much lower, resulting in much larger waves. For example, on Earth, gravity waves have typical periods of 5-8 minutes, whereas on Mars they are more like 15 minutes. In comparison, sound waves have periods on the order of milliseconds – so you can see how much larger the gravity waves really are!

I feel like I should have more to say, but my life is pretty boring. Well, I leave for the CEDAR conference on Saturday after my final exam… it’s definitely crunch time! I’m really looking forward to the trip, and hoping the weather in Colorado will be nice. I’ve never been to Colorado, but I know that that part of the country is beautiful. I’m also looking forward to having a Caribou Coffee in the Denver airport! (Starbucks has nothin’ on Caribou – midwesterners will know what I’m talking about.)

Tune in after the conference, I’m sure I’ll have a lot to write about! That’s all folks.

-Lynsey
schroel2@my.erau.edu

Simulating Giant Sound Waves on Mars

Hello, again!

It’s time for another installment of “a day in the life of an awesome physics student at Embry-Riddle.”

Well the summer is in full swing; I had my first exam on Thursday, which was also my first exam of grad school, as the class I’m taking is my first master’s class for the accelerated degree. I was really confident, which means I either aced the exam or bombed it – you never really know until you get your results back. I’ve never taken summer classes before, but so far I think it’s pretty awesome. The material moves at a quick yet manageable pace, and it’s nice to only have one class to worry about after the last four semesters of 16-17 credits. My only complaint about summer classes is the “summer” part – why is it so hot outside? It’s unnatural. I really wasn’t born to live in the south; I can handle a -20º wind-chill, but as soon as the thermometer climbs above 90º that’s when I give up and hide inside. Not to mention it rains so much! (I promise I won’t complain about the weather in every entry.)

I’ve had a lot of free time, which is unusual for me, so it’s been nice. Lately I’ve been learning some new acoustic guitar songs, watching old seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and leveling a blood elf warlock. And let me just take a moment to talk about how much I love living in my own apartment off campus. Everything is finally clean, unpacked, and decorated to my liking, and I can listen to loud music in any room at any time and nobody complains about my volume, musical tastes, or singing. It’s great. I live only two minutes from campus, so it’s a nice, short commute every day. Once I figure out how to reduce my electric bill everything will be perfect!

Image of Mars’ Gale Crater from Google Earth. This location was used to generate the profile used in our acoustic wave simulations. Gale Crater was the landing site of NASA’s Curiosity rover, which landed last year.

My days are spent sitting up in the Lehman Building’s Space Physics Research Lab (which will henceforth be referred to as “SPRL”) working on my project for the CEDAR conference in late-June. I mentioned it briefly in the last entry, but I think I should elaborate, since that’s what got me this gig as a blogger. CEDAR (which stands for “Coupling, Energetics, and Dynamics of Atmospheric regions”) is an NSF-sponsered yearly atmospheric sciences meeting that focuses on instrumentation and modeling of the middle and upper atmosphere. I am working with Dr. Snively in the Department of Physical Sciences to adapt his atmospheric wave model to Martian conditions so that we can see how atmospheric acoustic and gravity waves, which are a bit like ocean waves, but in the atmosphere, propagate on Mars in comparison to Earth (if you’re interested, my project abstract is here).

Some plots of relevant atmospheric data on Mars generated by the profile used in our simulations.

We are using MarsGRAM (Mars Global Reference Atomic Model) data provided by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center to specify many different properties of the atmosphere, which has proven very interesting! This data is then used to generate a profile, which essentially shows the temperature, density, pressure, etc. as you travel up through the atmosphere (it’s really just a big table of numbers), and then the profile is loaded into the wave dynamics model. The model produces a simulation based on some inputs, such as frequency, amplitude, etc., and we watch how the wave behaves as it moves upward.

Animation of a nonlinear acoustic wave traveling up through the Martian atmosphere. The one-dimensional simulation is laid over the two-dimensional simulation in order to determine that the results of each are valid. This wave has a frequency of 0.032 Hz, which corresponds to a wavelength of about 31 km. (Click on thumbnail to watch animation.) Note that the axes correspond to the 2-D results (and are in meters – please disregard the error in the labeling.)

This past week we successfully simulated an acoustic wave in both a one-dimensional and two-dimensional model and confirmed that the results agreed. Acoustic waves are really cool – they are essentially giant sound waves that move up through the atmosphere until the air becomes too sparse and viscous, causing them to dissipate. We’ve found that this happens really quickly on Mars compared to Earth, due to the increasing viscosity at higher altitudes. The waves we have been simulating have frequencies of about 0.03 Hz. For perspective, note that the average human can hear frequencies ranging from 20-20,000 Hz, so these waves are much larger and lower-frequency than ordinary sound waves.

The next phase of the project is to simulate two-dimensional gravity waves, which I will talk about in my next entry!

Before I close out this entry, I wanted to touch back on what I said last time about going where life takes you. I came into Riddle as an Aerospace Engineering student, but was converted to Engineering Physics after my first semester due to the fact that I love physics and space and don’t really care about designing airplanes (blasphemy, I know.) Deep down I definitely feel like an EP student, and never once regret my change. In fact, the more I go through my coursework, the more I find myself leaning towards physics and research and away from actual engineering – I took the “gauntlet” (solids, dynamics, and fluids, which are engineering sciences classes you take your sophomore year), and pretty much hated them (though I did like fluids, but that was because professor Davids is awesome!) Plus I am loving what I am doing here in SPRL. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m going to do after Riddle, and, while my plan had always been BS then MS then Work in engineering then PhD maybe later, I am thinking more about going straight onto my PhD and getting involved in space and astrophysics research.

Tune in next week, I’ll have some really cool Mars stuff to share with y’all! (Yeah, I’m becoming a southerner. I say that now.) Be sure to email me if there’s anything you’d like me to write about Riddle, otherwise I’ll just keep rambling on about my life in every entry.

-Lynsey
schroel2@my.erau.edu

The Start of Something Amazing

“Too busy to be sad, too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful, and too determined to be defeated.”
 
These words were on a picture hanging outside the front office of Thompson Intermediate, the middle school I attended in Houston, Texas. I am now going to be a junior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and I’m still repeating these words daily. These words are ingrained in my head, have come to life in my actions, and perfectly describe my drive and determination ever since I was a little girl. I’ve never been your ordinary kid/student/teenager. I think anyone who knows me can tell you that.  I’ve always had an insatiable passion for motorsports and racing. You can thank my dad for that. He got me started at a young age. Jeff Gordon was always my hero growing up and I’d watch the races religiously every weekend with my parents.
 

I started at an early age. I’m on the left and my sister is on the right.

Then that one a-ha moment hit me. You know that feeling, where everything is right in the world and you know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing for the rest of your life? Something just clicks inside of you and you know that one thing that you can’t live without? Well, I had that moment when I was only 9 years old. I knew that being a part of the racing industry was where I was supposed to be. From then on I had set my goals high and have never looked back.

I knew that my dream job would be an engineer working for Hendrick Motorsports, one of the most prestigious teams in NASCAR. As a 5th grader I wrote a letter to Mr. Hendrick, telling him that he would be my boss in about 15 years. Every decision I’ve made since then has been reflective of these dreams. I would usually study a little harder, stay up a little later, and would write those extra words on my essay. I’ve always gone above and beyond, wondering if I would someday have anything to show for it.

My first time at Daytona International Speedway and first time at a track on theNASCAR circuit. Such an incredible feeling setting foot on the track I dreamedof being at as a little girl.

It’s crazy where your dreams can take you. It’s even crazier where hard work, persistence, and determination can take you.I’ve just completed my second year of college and I’m already living my dreams. I may not be at Hendrick Motorsports yet, but I am well on my way. I feel like the most blessed girl in the world right now and have so many people who have helped me get this far. I’ll get to that later though. That’s another story in itself. But the one thing that makes me unique, is that I’m not only doing this for myself. I’m not the only one I’m focusing on here. I’m not working towards a role as a woman in motorsports for my personal gain. I know you’re probably thinking, what could I possibly be talking about?I am here to inspire children, students, and women to chase their dreams. I know countless people who are unhappy with their jobs because it’s not truly what they want to be doing. They never went after what they love. It may have seemed too impossible or out of reach. But let me tell you:
 
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
 
You can’t be afraid to venture into the unordinary, to get a little uncomfortable, to feel a little pain. And this is what it comes down to. You can’t throw in the towel as soon as you start to hurt or experience your first failure. If I had done this, do you know where I would be right now? I’d probably be back home with my parents, playing my NASCAR video games, and pretending to be the mechanic on the TV screen. I was not meant to be at home on the couch. And you’re not either!I truly feel that this blog is the start of something amazing for me, and for all my followers. I am absolutely ecstatic to share my experiences with you about my previous internship at Larsen Motorsports, my experiences at Embry-Riddle, as well as my summer internship with NASCAR. I can only hope that I inspire you all to go after what you love.I know I sure did and I don’t regret a single step of my journey.

From Snow to Sunshine

Hey everyone!

I wish I knew a better way to start my first entry than with the obligatory words “my name is…” oh wait, there we go.

My favorite cow and signed Halestorm album.

I’m Lynsey, and I think “quirky” is a good word to describe myself. My interests are all across the board: I’m an avid musician, a lover of math and science, a gaming nerd, and I have a strange obsession with collecting cows (plastic and stuffed – not real cows.) The walls of my apartment have space shuttle posters, vinyls, and signed photographs from the cast of Star Trek (why yes, I have met George Takei), people who have actually been to space, and rock bands like Evanescence and Halestorm (bragging rights: Lzzy Hale has given me a hug.)

I was born and raised in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The state where we drink pop (not soda!), shop at the Mall of America (I even worked there for a while), and sometimes have snowstorms in May (you think I’m kidding, but I’m really not.) You’re probably wondering what got me to move 1,500 miles south, where there are palm trees instead of pine trees and it’s way too hot outside. I’ve just finished my second year at Riddle, but before I get into that I want to tell you the story of why I chose to come here in the first place.

In order to explain why I came to Riddle, I have to start a bit farther back. It was a cold, snowy evening in 1993… just kidding! Anyways… Throughout my whole life I knew where I wanted to go to college. I talked about it since at least fifth grade; I always said that someday I would go to –nope, not Embry-Riddle! But that’s what makes the story all the more interesting. If you asked anybody who knew me at any point in my childhood, they would tell you I wanted to go to MIT. All through high school whenever I did something I had a constant voice in the back of my head asking, “how will this help my chances of getting in?” I had a goal, and everybody knew it. I should mention that, if you’re reading this and thinking I’m just at Riddle because I didn’t get in, keep reading, that’s not the story.

Senior year of high school always seems so far away, and then somehow it sneaks up on you. Before you know it, it’s time to actually apply to the colleges you’ve been looking at and dreaming of attending. I worked effortlessly on my applications, applying to several big name schools. Embry-Riddle first caught my eye because I saw it listed number one for Aerospace Engineering, which was my original major. So I did a bit more research, and I thought it seemed awesome – a great backup (do you think they’ll let me say that word in an admissions blog?) After taking the ACT twice, the SAT three times, and buffing my resume to glistening status, I submitted my college applications and waited. And waited. And waited. One day I got my acceptance letter from Embry-Riddle. It was definitely an exciting moment, but I was still hanging onto hope for my dream school, and didn’t think much of the acceptance at the time. Time passed, and my early action application to MIT got deferred to regular action. It was a set-back no doubt, but I held onto hope. Later I got my financial aid letter from Embry-Riddle, and found out that I had been awarded some pretty generous scholarships, as well as admission into the honors program. Things were suddenly falling into place in a way I hadn’t expected.

My obligatory picture in front of the Wright Brothers statue from when I visited campus in March 2011.

When February rolled around I was presented with the question: which school do I want to go tour? I applied to five schools – four of which were over a thousand miles away, so naturally it was a “pick one trip” kind of deal. I had this gut feeling that I would be going to Embry-Riddle. It wasn’t an abandonment of my dream in any way, it was just a feeling that I can’t really describe; I’ve felt it a couple times in my life, and they’ve all been massive, defining moments. After a lot of thought, I decided on a trip to Daytona Beach to tour the campus. Long story short, that’s all it took. I fell in love with the campus. I stayed overnight with one of the RAs and sat in class with her the next morning. Then my parents picked me up, and we went over to the cashier’s office, where I put down my tuition deposit. I was a Riddle student.

You’re probably wondering if I missed a point in the story. What about MIT? Did I get in? You know what, I didn’t know yet. I wouldn’t hear back for another two weeks. But I was so sure I was at the right place and making the right decision that the word backup immediately vanished from my mind. I was so excited to start in the fall, because I had found my dream school in a place I didn’t even think to look. I learned a major lesson from this decision: sometimes life has a way of working out the way it’s supposed to, and all you have to do is follow it. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s so true. I love Embry-Riddle, and I don’t regret my choice for a second.

I’m really looking forward to sharing my Daytona Beach shenanigans with you. This summer, apart from taking a couple classes, I’m spending my days in the Space Physics Research Lab as an undergraduate research assistant. My current project involves developing a model of the Martian atmosphere in order to simulate acoustic and gravity waves – I’ll talk more about that in the next entry, but for the meantime, if you’re interested, you can read my conference abstract here.

Part of the living room of my new apartment, which I absolutely love!

This is my first summer here in Daytona Beach, and I’m enjoying it so far (apart from the temperature, that is.) I just moved into my first apartment off-campus after two years of dorm life, and I absolutely love it. Aside from working days in the lab and taking a math class, it’s been nice to have some free time, as I keep pretty busy during the school year. My evenings have been essentially empty, so I’ve had a chance to play some video games and get back in touch with my acoustic guitar.

Even if I may seem crazy, I’m pretty friendly, so feel free to hit me up with questions, comments, fan letters, etc. Especially if there is something you’d like me to talk about in my next entry!

That’s all I have for now. I’m still trying to think of a cool catch phrase to close with, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I think I’ll go with “Live long and prosper.”

Until next time…

-Lynsey

January 2013

Half way! It’s really hard to believe that I am already over halfway done with my freshman year of college. This year has really been flying by (pun intended). I’ve been back at Riddle for almost three weeks now since traveling home for winter break. Boy was it good to see my friends and family back in Seattle and spend some time with them over the holidays. It really never felt like I even left! My room was the same, my clothes were still there and my dog was still happy to see me. I was able to get some snowboarding, hiking and some good ole’ R & R in the three weeks I was home for. It was a much needed break. It worked out well because by the time I was boarding my flight to head back to Florida, I was ready to hit the ground running for the spring semester. I’m going to have to keep that mentality going because I have a busy semester ahead of me. I’m taking six classes, ROTC, working, playing intramural sports and getting ready for a Private Pilot check ride, just a few of the involvements I have ahead of me the next few months!

After returning to Florida in early January, I got right back into the swing of things with my flight training. The first day back my instructor did my dual cross-country and flew to St. Petersburg. We were able to get quite a bit done during the week before classes started despite relatively bad weather. The flight operations discount all flight activities by 50%. It worked out perfectly because I was able to get all of my cross countries done during that time. Last week I did my local solo and my first solo cross country. For my solo cross country I flew to Gainesville and back. It is about a 150 Nautical Mile round trip and takes about 2.3 hours. Tomorrow I am scheduled for my long cross country where I will be flying to the Tampa area, then up to Gainesville and back to Daytona. This is a much longer trip which is about 250nm and should take close to three hours. After that, I have a couple of practice flights then I’m up for my check ride! It’s hard to believe I’m already at the end of course. A bunch of my buddies  and I already have plans to go flying once I get my license, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.

My classes are going great. I was able to pick my classes and set up my schedule this semester and I have to say, I did pretty well. I really like all of my teachers and I am very interested in the classes I am taking. I will go into greater detail about my classes and ROTC in my next post which will be in the next few days.

Stay tuned for important updates on the Daytona Speedway, college professors, Florida weather, flag football, aviation, and possibly even surfing, all to come next week. Happy New Year!

Cruising above the clouds on my solo cross country.

January 2013

It’s been a while since I have been able to submit an entry, from exams to winter break to the start of a new semester. My exams all turned out great, and I was rewarded with a surprise Birthday cruise to the Bahamas thanks to my grandma.  It was great getting the chance to travel, visit home, and see old friends while enjoying the holidays, but it’s even better to be back here at Riddle. I’m looking forward to this new semester and a fresh start to a new year.

I have a rather spread out schedule this semester, with classes ranging from early morning to early evening so we’ll see how this turns out! I’ve already gotten a head start on studying and even decided to enroll in chemistry which I cannot wait to attend. My advice for the beginning of spring semester for any new or upcoming students is do NOT procrastinate, get everything done right away and even move ahead.  It’s time for new classes, new students, new semester, new year, and a new me!