What do you study?

This is the most common question I usually get when meeting new people in Denmark. The second most common question is: “What’s planetary science?”

So after saying, “Y’know… planets…” and gesturing towards the sky, there are a few surefire options for the following conversation:

1. So what’s your favorite constellation?

2. Oh! Planets! That’s like astrology, right?

3. What’s your opinion on Pluto?

And on rare occasion, I’ve gotten (separately): “Want to make out?” and, “Europa is my favorite planet.” (followed by a lengthy argument trying to convince me that Europa is, indeed, a planet. In the same conversation, the same dude also asked me, “Is San Francisco near California?”)

More often than I’ve expected, people have responded that they’ve always been interested in space and astronomy, but for some reason or another they haven’t pursued it. It seems like there is a pretty high general interest in the subject, but usually space studies stay in the hobby-zone because the career path is deemed too stressful, or tedious, or limited. So I asked Professor Johnson to elaborate on some of the awesome possibilities that stem from a degree in planetary science / astro 🙂 Check it out here!








On Wednesday, I went to the Tycho Brahe Planetarium—”Denmark’s most advanced centre for popularizing astronomy and space research and promoting knowledge on natural science” (according to them). I’m pretty sure you all know how much I love planets, so you can imagine how ridiculously excited I was. Plus, over the summer, Casey (my boss at The Planetary Society) recommended it as one of the places I *had* to go in Copenhagen.

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And it was great! It was pretty similar to Griffith Observatory. They had a room/exhibit about the different planets in our solar system (basic facts and history of discovery, how much you’d weigh on each, etc), and a room about astronauts and missions, and a big room for kids to see if they had “what it takes” to be an astronaut. They also had a really long timeline about the history of astronomy, with an emphasis on planetary science—which would have been really useful for both my 2012 SURF and this year’s internship at TPS.

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It was SO AWESOME seeing all the shoutouts here and there to JPL and Caltech. My friend said, “You’re so funny with your patriotic nerdism.” Which I think is exactly accurate. 🙂

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It was kind of a nice home-away-from-home feeling, seeing things about MSL, Kepler, and NASA. Of course while I haven’t been involved in any projects or missions (yet.. hehe), that feeling of “patriotic nerdism” was definitely there.

As part of the admission, we got to go see a 3D movie in The Space Theater, and I forgot what it was called but it was kind of a mini journey-through-the-universe sort of thing. Normally I’m not a huge fan of 3D, but it was incredible seeing planets zooming towards you, and flying through galaxies.

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In the kids’ room, you could write on the walls! So of course I had to put a shoutout:

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Aaaaand just when you thought it couldn’t get any better.. if there’s anything I love just as much as I love planets, it’s (good) coffee! So after the planetarium, we went to grab cappucinos 🙂

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It was kind of a system overload of awesomeness in one day. “These are a few of my favorite things!”

Another Week in Pictures

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3/8/2013: (12pm) Don’t ask.

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7/8/2013: I was walking through the city center when I ran into Katja! She was headed to go study, but we still stopped to grab a danish together 🙂

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7/8/2013: My first Common Dinner! One or two people in the hallway will choose a night to cook for everyone, and then we all sit and eat together. Hyggelig, you might say 😉 Palmhøj is an excellent cook!!

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8/8/2013: And when it looks like this outside,

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You bake banana chocolate chip cookies!

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Katja er det bedste lærer 😉 ((did I say that right?))

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9/8/2013: Hey look, Murriel is here!!

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10/8/2013: The strange things you see while walking through CPH

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Murriel and I went for a nice dinner on the waterfront at Nyhavn on Saturday night.

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11/8/2013: Look at these cool swings in Christianshavn! (Thanks Anthony ;P)

Hvad hedder du?

Hej. Jeg hedder Lori. Jeg er amerikaner, og jeg er født i U.S.A. Min mor kommer fra Californien, men min far kommer fra Filippinerne. Jeg kan selvfølgelig tale engelsk, og jeg kan også forstå lidt dansk.

I mig klassen, er der fire amerikanere, fire tyskerne, to australienere, et italiener, og et englænder. Der er fem piger og syv fyre.

Jeg drikker kaffe alle dage. I dag er onsdag.

Har I nogen spørgsmål?


(disclaimer: no google translate was used in the making of this post. hehe!)

IKEA Adventures

On Monday (mandag), Gandalf, Du, and I went to IKEA. My mission—to spend as little money as possible while obtaining several key things for my bedroom.

First, it is important to know this map:

Floor Plan of IKEA

(indgang = entrance, udgang = exit, and the yellow dot is the thing you want to buy)

Okay, now that that is cleared up—we tore the place apart looking for cheap things, and it was great. There was a $1 pillow (which was literally the crappiest pillow in the universe) and I got a blanket for like $9! Success!

I got really tired near the end of our epic journey through Swedish minimalism, so of course, coffee. And lo and behold, the cafe in IKEA sold a refillable cup for LESS THAN $1!!!!!!! I was super excited and drank half of it right away, and then it was time to go. As I was walking to the bus stop, the bus was just pulling up to the curb, so I started running towards it. Now, just walking with an open cup of coffee without spilling it is difficult, so my running needed to be quite artistic to preserve my precious drink. I made it to the bus, filled with a strong sense of awesomeness that I had managed to both catch the bus and not spill my coffee.

Victorious, I was about to get on when the driver said NO YOU CAN’T BRING THAT IN HERE. Seriously?! After that extraordinary sprint that I just demonstrated? So now I was faced with a decision that I had to make very quickly—abandon my half-empty cheap-ass coffee and jump on the bus, or wait around 20 minutes for the next one?

…Uh, what kind of question is that? Would you abandon your best friend to save 20 minutes? Of course not!


(I may have just anthropomorphized coffee… oh dear)

Danish Academics, and a Surprise!

One of my friends in Tietgen was telling me how she was stressing to study for an exam this upcoming Friday. “So you’re taking summer classes?” I asked her. She replied that she actually isn’t currently in any classes, and explained something I thought was fascinating about KU:

Here, your grade in a class depends on your final exam—you’re not continuously evaluated throughout the semester like in Caltech classes, with homework sets and labs and midterms. You can choose to “blank” the exam, meaning that you just turn in a blank piece of paper. This will earn you a grade of “–3” on a 12-point scale, which is essentially getting an F (I love how they get into negative numbers here; like, you didn’t just fail, you LITERALLY SUCK). BUT, when you blank an exam, or actually take it and fail, you have two more tries to take it, but at a much later date when you’ve had more time to study.

Isn’t this such a student-friendly policy to have? My friend explained that people often blank an exam when they don’t feel prepared enough to take it, kind of like how we can request extensions at Caltech. So while having your entire grade depend on one test on one day may seem stressful, you have several chances to take it!

Any thoughts from other Techers? Would you rather be evaluated on an average of your assignments throughout the quarter, or just have a final at the end? (I’m not entirely sure about my opinion on this one—finals like ACM95c this year would make me hesitant, haha.)

Later, I went to check my mailbox and I was pleasantly surprised to find cards and a package from some of my favorite people!! 🙂

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