This past summer I had the opportunity to develop a prototype for a quantum physics board game with one of my professors. We collaborated on the project for about a month during the summer and then the project was put on hold until the fall semester started up. I met with my professor early on in the semester to discuss plans for the game and he invited me to join him on a trip with one other student to San Francisco to attend an event called Science Hack Day.
I had never heard of this event before, but from what he told me, it sounded right up my alley. It was a bunch of science, philosophy, creative arts, etc. type individuals who were passionate about their speciality and wanted to collaborate with others to make a cool “hack.” The event was at the GitHub headquarters right in San Francisco and for a little over 24 hours, attendees worked on hacks to present the following afternoon. The goal of the trip was to get feedback on the game and further development. This event turned out to be the perfect place to start showing off the game, and we were able to get great feedback from people who knew a lot about physics and/or a lot about board games.
The event itself was the nerdiest event I’ve ever attended, but in the absolute best way possible. I am a nerd at heart and there is no denying it. On Saturday night during our telescope viewing, we listened to one of the coordinators sing her own science love songs, such as the sadness felt by two nucleotides in love but on opposite DNA strands.
While a portion of our trip was focused on physics outreach, we also made time to do typical touristy things such as walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, visit Fisherman’s Wharf, and dine at local attractions. My professor spent a few years living in San Francisco, so he knew plenty of great places to eat and attractions to see; he introduced us to the mint mojito coffee from Philz Coffee and needless to say, it was to die for.
Before heading to the airport we make a quick visit to the Stanford campus, as well as to the Google headquarters. Even with a short amount of time we were able to see and learn so much. It was truly an experience I will never forget and definitely a reason for undergraduates to develop relationships with their professors and work on projects with them if possible. You never know when an opportunity like this could fall right into your lap. I am incredibly grateful for this experience, though for a brief moment on our red-eye home I certainly was NOT. Despite falling asleep in classes upon my return, I wouldn’t change anything about our trip!