University of California - Santa Barbara
What I Really Learned from Plasma Physics Internship
4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
The smell of burning metal tickled my nose as I stared intently at the oscilloscope on my messy desk. I looked back at the breadboard, and quickly realized what I had done. I hurried to rip the IC chip out of the circuit, burning my finger in the process. I took in the scene: 2 burnt IC chips, 3 breadboards, a noisy oscilloscope, and lots and lots of wires.
I was at the Naval Research Laboratory, interning in the Plasma Physics Division. My goal was to build a phase-locked loop to track the changes in capacitance in an RLC Circuit, eventually designing a circuit that could tracking a moving object. I spent weeks in my office researching; I borrowed a legion of books from other scientists and scoured the internet for hours before I could finally attempt to build the circuit, which resulted in failure. After weeks of no results, I developed my own idea-- I would track voltage drops instead of noisy phase shifts! I wired the voltmeter to my circuit, making sure not to short it out again
Staring at the voltmeter, I nervously adjusted the capacitance. The voltage dropped! Still in disbelief, I successfully repeated the experiment with different capacitors. The next step was to track an object. Excitedly, I hung a metal sphere from...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 945 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7609 literature essays, 2155 sample college application essays, 318 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in