Sign in

Atypical Physicist.

“You know the CDC says that masks aren’t effective, right?” I prodded.

Ignoring my question, my lab mate gathered his things from his desk and prepared to leave the office for good. He gave me an exasperated look from behind his mask as he went out the door. He would be working from home from now on.

It was the morning of March 9th, 2020, and the Coronavirus still seemed far, far away from MIT, my lasers, and the undergrads I live with as a Graduate Resident Advisor (GRA) in Maseeh Hall.

That week I was excited to start working…

In order to demystify quantum mechanics, you have to build a lot of technical machinery from scratch. Box by box, you have to develop control systems for the quantum world. Without that, entanglement and other forms of “quantum weirdness” don’t readily present themselves.

I’m an atomic physicist, which means I spend most of my time building an absurdly complex, room-sized machine for quantum mechanical science experiments. With all its tangled wires and aluminum-foil-wrapped vacuum components, my lab looks like a space station in disrepair. …

My friend is Alice

She has important secrets

A measurement shows

“No.” I said. “I don’t want to.”

I was standing on the street in front of a man in a suit. That man (let’s call him Ryan) was frantically trying to usher me into his apartment building. He held the door wide open, incredulous that I wouldn’t do what he wanted.

“It’s not that big of a deal! Let’s just go inside and get something to drink.” He reached his hand out toward me. It was something between an offer and a grab.

“No. I only just met you — I’m not going into your apartment.”

This Harvard-educated man (three…

Walking into my MIT dorm for the first time, I itched to meet my peers. Although MIT students are known for being nerdy, I figured grad students (myself included) already went through a social awakening in undergrad. Making friends would be a piece of cake.

I rounded the corner on the way to finding the bathrooms, and there he was. A real-life MIT student walking toward me. I opened my mouth to say hello, but before I even let out the “h”, he averted his eyes and scuffled behind the closest lockable door.

Well, that’s awkward.

I assumed it was…

“Let us choose for ourselves our path in life,
and let us try to strew that path with flowers.”
-Emilie du Chatelet, Physicist

I love dresses and bows, face masks and makeup.

When I get ready for a day in lab, I avoid it all.

It’s my first semester at MIT, and I wear a skirt nearly every day. I alternate my long hair between chic buns, French braids, and flowing freely — as I have my whole life. Slowly, as I become accustomed to my group, my work, and my building, I realize I am the only one. I…

Most spiders don’t take the time to realize how intimidating the stone insect is when they come across it. They see that its height resembles that of a grasshopper, and so they focus on the attack. Many, likely, assume they’re in for an easy kill and a treat of a dinner.

I guess I should be happy that spider populations have been steadily decreasing. No more rolled up newspapers for me.

I learned about these bugs through an old documentary, found in my dad’s box after he died. It was the kind of forgotten film you see in B-rated movies…

Alyssa R.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store