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Alexander Ivanov

The Last One

posted August 5, 2016

Sadly this is the very last blog I will be writing this year, unless of course I come back next year which is what I plan to do. I think that this internship has been a life changing experience for me. First of all I learned about lots of different aspects of science from research to doing a project. I especially enjoyed creating graphs in R because it was just incredibly rewarding to see trends in data that have never been made before. Making a poster was also fun because we got to design the layout and it was like a puzzle when we tried to fit everything that we wanted on one poster. When we presented our poster I got an opportunity to practice for AGU but also to learn what presenting scientific findings is like. Overall the science project that we did at this internship is a definite must because of how much I learned from it and I hope that future interns enjoy it as much as I did. Our trip to the hover tower was also really special. There were no clouds that day so we had an incredibly view of the bay and all of Stanford. I could even see my house, or at least the area where it should be. Finally I need to say that I will miss all of my fellow interns and supervisors, even though I will see most of them again at AGU.

Some Place in the Middle

posted July 20, 2016

The internship seems to only get better and is greatly exceeding my expectations in terms of how much of it is devoted solely to educate us interns and how fun and interesting everything would be. In the past few weeks we have had lots of different speakers and they all have presented on very interesting topics and really gave me a perspective on what being a scientist is like. They also showed me that there are very many different ways to pursue a career on what I am most interested in, and that I don’t need to give up passions. One presentation that I found specifically interesting was about genetic trees in populations. This topic was interesting partly because it was a combination of math and biology which I didn’t think was possible. I hope that I will be able to better understand the idea with a better explanation. One major highlight of the internship was definitely our camping trip. I have been camping before once or twice but only when I was little, so doing it at an older age was a completely different experience. A key part was our hike up the mountain where the view was just phenomenal. You could see mountains upon mountains going off in all directions. Going back to more daily activities, we have almost completely wrapped up data collection and are working on our research projects. I am very happy to say that I can now at least on a basic level use R to make some sort of plots. The various R lessons and packets that we received in R helped me begin to learn the appropriate though process for R. What I mean to say is that R has a different way of thinking about problems than other languages that I have previously used. Also the way that data is processed is completely different from what naturally comes to my mind and it took some time to realize how things are supposed to be done. Overall I am very happy with my experience so far and I can’t wait to see the results of our projects.

When I first thought about what the lab would be like...

posted June 29, 2016

When I first thought about what the lab would be like I didn’t know that it would be as fun and as exciting as it turned out to be. The articles that we are given to read and discuss are incredibly interesting and really explain evolution. They manage show the numerous amounts of different patterns and trends that can be found even though the fossil data that is used to find them is nowhere close to complete. One especially interesting pattern is that over time larger organisms tend to evolve and this is because of a thing called the left wall. This wall is the limit of the size for any organism and because there is no limit to the right organisms tend to move to the right, to become larger, because there is nowhere else to go along the scale. Our first field trip also turned out great and helped enforce ideas that we have learned so far. Being able to find real fossils of bivalves, snails, and mammals was super fun but so was looking at how the different layers of rock and fossils. The layers of fossils can tell us about a past environment just from the density of the shells and the shape of the layers. Each layer corresponds to a period when lots of organisms were washed up onto the shore and then covered in sediment. The way that sediment deposits onto the shells changes the shape and density of the layer, potentially giving it a strait or curvy border, among other properties. Overall the internship is a blast and all of the fun activities and field trips make me want to come again next year.