Post 2: Immunocontraception and Chemical Sterilization

This update is marking the soft conclusion of my research. I’ve read many articles on different chemical sterilization techniques and have discovered why they are not frequently used. There are three major categories of chemical sterilization: hormonal down-regulation, immunocontraception, and chemmosterilization.

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Modeling Crystal Structures

The idea behind x-ray crystallography is that focused, collimated x-rays diffract off of clouds of electron density in a calculated manner defined by the Bragg equation. By measuring the intensity of these reflected x-rays, we can reverse engineer a 3D lattice from sets of thousands of diffracted spots, called reflections. My last post detailed some of the more physical skills related to crystallography, but I completely neglected to mention one of the greatest programs ever created for crystallography: SHELX. SHELX was developed in the 1960s and 1970s. It was coded in fortran wth the goal that it could be completely self-contained. This occurred at a time when the Internet was in its infancy, so everything that crystallographers used had to be independent. Keep in mind, this was originally stored on perforated paper tapes! SHELXLE is the GUI that crystallographers use today for refining structures. Fortunately, it lets you see the 3D visualization after every iteration. (The original version required crystallographers to print out a paper with numbers in the exact location of each atom from a specified orientation, so this is much more user friendly.) The goal of refinement is to match the measured electron density with positions of molecules in the lattice, while realistically describing how atoms interact. This is very different from simply reading off a graph because the data is coming in three dimensions of space and it extends ad infinitum. It is important to remember that the refinements are attempting to match all of space with the average unit cell. Sometimes free variables must be added and refined to proportions that describe how likely a certain arrangement is.

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Post #2: Update on Interviews and ROUGH Poems

Hey, everybody,

I completed the first two parts of my project–the historical research and the face-to-face interviews. In total, I recorded twelve interviews. The number was lower than I expected, but it should suffice for the upcoming poems. I am waiting on a response from my advisor on whether or not I should get more interviews. The initial purpose of the interviews was to capture the attitudes of the three towns I’m researching: Cedarville, Xenia, and Yellow Springs, Ohio. Not only did the interviews help me find a general attitude, they also sparked many more specific poem ideas. For example, while interviewing a young couple on their feelings about Cedarville, I learned that other mothers frequently asked the wife not who she was, but who she was married to. Some stories seem like they have more poetic friction to them. Thanks to my interviews, I added even more stories on top of the ones I found during my historical research.

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Post 2: Heavy Metal Pollution in Lake Matoaka

This past week consisted mainly of testing some more recent sediment samples for a variety of heavy metals. After looking at the results from the first batch of samples, I decided to focus on zinc, cadmium, and copper in this second batch. I tested samples dating from around 1944 up to 2016. When the ICP machine (I explained how it works a little bit in Post 1) finished going through all the samples, it gave a report in Excel. It gave an individual report for each metal I had selected, but I still had to go through all the data (and do a few convoluted calculations) to get the numbers I wanted. Once I found the concentration values (µg of the metal per g of sediment), I made a graph relating year to concentration.

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