I'm already two weeks late on this (and less late on other things) but two weeks ago I got the chance to present my senior research at the University of Rochester. For those who haven't already read about it, I've been working on quantum optics with professor Kiko Galvez at Colgate. I got to start working on this back in September, and being only a senior in college, I can say with little doubt this is the subject I know the most about in physics. Since then, I've become attached to the subject, and was really excited to get to talk about it in front of an audience. Furthermore, since the conference was titled the Rochester Symposium for Physics (Astronomy & Optics) Students (emphasis mine), I figured I'd probably be talking to an audience that knew something about what I was talking about.
I got to talk pretty early on in the day, which was fine by me, I like being done with obligations, and didn't really get the questions I was hoping for. While I'm certainly glad the conference was put on, none of the students really seemed willing to sick their heads out and ask something. There were a couple cool projects, a couple that really didn't seem to have any physics in them (especially in the biophysics section). I guess it was a good time for people to make some of their first presentations. It really brought out how useful Colgate's Physics requirement of presenting your senior research really is. In any event, I felt good about what I did.
With that, I leave you with a link to my presentation, and a picture of the confinement fusion chamber at the LLE at the University of Rochester, which is probably the closest thing to the death star I will ever see.
This is where a whole bunch of very high energy, pulsed laser beams are brought together to cause deuterium and tritium to fuse by melting a plastic ball the fuel is contained in. These pulses are extremely short, but if you look at hole #11 in the picture (under the more visible #22), you can see a black mark that was at least 6 inches in diameter, which is from someone not aligning the mirror as well as they could have.