Monday, September 17, 2012

on tour part 3: exploding balloons and metal tigers at p-town

My school has a good sized Jewish population, which means two good things for me: lots of bar and bat mitzvahs (I partied so much in middle school) and no school on Jewish holidays! Today, I had no school for Rosh Hashanah, so my family and I went on my third college tour to... Princeton University! We drove up to New Jersey last night, stayed at a hotel for the night, and then visited the university in the morning.


My mom had the idea to sit in on a class before the engineering tour and skip the general information session, since I had already gone to one in Maryland. I chose "CHM 207 Advanced General Chem: Materials" taught by Dr. Robert Cava. Coincidentally, it was the first class of the course, so I didn't miss anything! In fact, since it was the introduction to the course, I knew most of the information from what I have learned so far in AP Chemistry.

Here I am in the back of the auditorium before the class. If you were wondering, the seats were very comfy!


Here Dr. Cava is writing on the board before class. The blackboard was really cool. You can use a switch to send each panel of the blackboard up, so he has plenty of space to write!

Dr. Cava was so engaging and funny. He showed his college ID from his first semester freshman year, and then a picture from his second semester sophomore year. He had grown a scruffy beard and was wearing a tight shirt and sunglasses. It was hilarious, and my mom suspected that it was probably a picture from Halloween or something. He showed us a drawing of his "Legal Seafood Theory of Science." There were four fish of different sizes, with each bigger fish eating a smaller one. From smallest to biggest, the fish were labelled "materials," "components," "devices," and then "systems." He said that his case for why everyone should switch to a major in material chemistry is that without materials the whole ecosystem dies! I thought it was a cute analogy. :) Then, there was a demonstration. There were three balloons: the first was filled with helium (He), the second with hydrogen (H2) and the third with hydrogen and oxygen (2H2 + O2). His co-instructor lit each one on fire! The He balloon caught fire and popped, but the H2 balloon exploded really loudly, and the 2H2 + O2 balloon exploded even louder! We all had to cover our ears for the last two. Awesome explosions always make a class more interesting!

The class was in the Frick building, which was really pretty on the inside and the outside. The hanging lanterns and the glass ceiling sort of reminded me of the Gilman Hall that I saw on my tour of Hopkins.

After my first class in college, we went to the tour of the engineering school. The tour guide said that engineering students make up about 20% of the undergraduates. She talked about the different fields of engineering at Princeton and showed us through some labs.

Then, we walked around the campus a bit before going to lunch. There are a lot of cool statues and structures.

Here is a metallic statue of the Princeton mascot, a tiger.

There was this pretty fountain. Not sure what the animal heads on stakes are supposed to signify...

We also saw this statue. My mom and sister thought that it was an artistic representation of holding hands, but my dad disagreed. He said that it was an artistic representation of an eight. That's some deep artistic interpretation.

When we were outside of the campus for lunch, I had this picture taken of me, and was surprised to find that my visit to Princeton had transformed me into Albert Einstein! No way!!

After lunch, we went on the general tour of the campus. The campus was gorgeous. There were trees everywhere, and the architecture gave the college an old, rustic feel. As we walked around the buildings, our tour guide pointed out buildings or parts of buildings that were designed by the same people who designed the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. She also showed us the library, which she said had 7 million volumes. Strangely, she seemed to think it was a special treat that people could find library books on the shelves by themselves, instead of having a librarian do it for you.

Here are some pictures of the pretty buildings around the campus:

West College:

Nassau Hall:

East Pyne Hall:

She also talked about student life. Eating clubs are unique to Princeton and are a pretty significant aspect of student life. They're like dining halls and social houses. I remember that at the Princeton information session I went to, one of the alumni speakers raved on and on about his eating club. Sadly, we didn't get to see any housing on the tour. Our tour guide said that every house was so different that showing us one house would be pointless.

Speaking of eating, here's a cute picture from outside the cafe. Yay for the periodic table! I'm suspecting that the food there supplements your calcium and iron!

She mentioned that it is easy to get to either New York City or Philadelphia, and that Princeton was a really nice and safe town. Also, as an ice cream connoisseur, it intrigued me to find that there are six places for ice cream and frozen yogurt just on the road next to the campus! This tour guide knows what prospective students really care about! 

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