What we do in a quantum optics lab

ETA: This is more a masterpost for my own purposes. The intended audience is senior undergraduate/early graduate physics students, and assumes at least an undergraduate electromagnetism and optics course. At some point I’ll work on explaining things to a lay audience, but right now I have to focus on learning and communicating technical concepts to a senior undergrad/grad physics audience.

My friend and labmate makes stuff vibrate with light, and made this video about our research, our lab, and his project for a student competition next week:

My talk for the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference last October, hacked together from my undergrad thesis introductory talk and some pretty pictures from my summer project:

(If I sound stuffy or high or not entirely there, I had a cold the whole four days of the conference.)

Working with/for my undergraduate research advisor and research group is the best thing that I can remember happening to me in my life so far. Even as I cared not about food or sleep or classes, I held on to the thought of working in (being welcome in) a photonics lab with warm hearted and interesting people. All I can say is that at the end of this project I have some external evidence to suggest that I may actually (have the potential to) be competent as a researcher, even if I don’t have a 4.0 in my honours degree.


And then I dreamt I was something
with dry soft skin, ridged spine, knots under my shoulders,
my brain stumbles as I haul myself out of the water with arms too short.
A second time, while salt burns against my wings, I burst out.
I see, in the sky, sketched in white on blue porcelain
I cry out. My voice warbles.

[first publicly published at my writing blog]

Sine arte/scientia, scientia/ars nihil est.


[larger version at my deviantART]

I know this looks like a 12 year old threw this together in MSPaint but I made something to express my sentiment, not my artistic skills. I made this to remind a friend of mine that her worth is more than that determined by graduate school committees. The left panel represents the theory and knowledge, the right panel represents the journey and destination of discovery. Just as these are complementary in science, the creativity of an artist complements the creativity of a scientist.

–The Lady of Light