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About Me:

My name is Olivia and I am a senior at Butler University. I spend most of my time in Lilly Hall as a BFA Dance Performance major. When not in rehearsal or ballet class, I write papers for my English Literature second major. In my super-abundant, never-lacking, this-is-highly-sarcastic spare time, I attempt to cook in my apartment kitchen, watch Youtube videos of ballet, knit sweaters that never seem to come to an end, and read books both silly and serious. If I could take any class at Butler just for kicks, I'd go for DiffyQ.

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Posts Tagged “science”

Butler Best Memories: Junior Year

Sorry for the hiatus — just finished my first week in Tulsa Ballet’s second company! (And I’m already grateful for the broad training I received both in Richmond and at Butler. All those character classes and modern classes make the challenges I’m meeting here fun rather than overwhelming.)

But junior year awaits:

I loved living in the Apartment Village. As much as I learned living with roommates for my first two years at Butler, having my own bedroom in AV instantly made me much happier. To have a private place to de-stress and soak up the quiet was a marvel. Also — the kitchen. Getting off the meal plan and making my own odd food creations was great. I highly recommend soup. It’s really hard to mess up soup.

The same cannot be said of risotto. This risotto I made with my friend over Fall Break was crunchy. This is because you cannot use brown rice instead of arborio. Also over Fall Break, I stayed and worked on my long paper for my Contemporary Irish Literature class, which I thought at the time would be my senior English essay. Thus began that long saga. : )

To further define junior year, I could not omit physics class. When I wasn’t writing my Irish Lit paper or working on choreography or dancing, I was doing physics homework. This is noteworthy not only because just yesterday I used my understanding of angular momentum (no joke — it helped my assemblé en tournant in the Raymonda variation I’m learning), but also because I fell in l.o.v.e. with my homework buddy who even now patiently explains science to me.

And then it was winter and my roommates decorated the apartment and we all generally reveled in the having of a living room again after two years in the dorms.

In the beginning of the new year, it was freezing. My homework buddy/now boyfriend and I bundled up to brave the Icepocalypse. And I wrote my proposal for Butler Summer Institute for hours when I got home after rehearsal for Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht each night. I remember these few months were busy and full of blessings — and bitterly cold.

Spring finally showed up shivering on the doorstep, and it brought another round of March Madness. Again, Butler’s basketball team made it to the championship game. Again, the campus went wild with spirit events and communal viewings.

In the end, I presented my first paper at Butler’s Undergraduate Research Conference, performed my first solo as Fairy Miettes-Qui-Tombant in The Sleeping Beauty, prepared for a summer of research with BSI, made it through my first ever teaching-assistantship, and even found time to make a couple loaves of bread.

Two Talks: Jennifer Homans and John Bohannon

In my last post, I didn’t mention the two talks I attended this week — one informal conversation with John Bohannon of “Dance Your Ph.D.” fame and a formal presentation from author of “Apollo’s Angels” Jennifer Homans.

1. John Bohannon

My roommate sent me a link about a month before the dance majors got the email. The link I’ll post below. The email said John Bohannon would be talking at 1 pm on Tuesday in LH 168. I went and listened to his story about dancing science, about collaborative efforts, and about the game of zero-gravity tag he wanted to play with the dance majors on Thursday. While I didn’t attend the game — fighting expedia for decent airfare took longer than anticipated — I walked past and saw dance majors slowly rotating a water bottle and a stool through the air. It was cool.

YouTube Preview Image

2. Jennifer Homans

The Jennifer Homans talk was through the JCFA’s Leadership Through the Arts forum. Each other, Leadership Through the Arts brings in speakers across the range of JCFA disciplines to speak. In past years, Ralph Lemon, Joe Goode, Denise Jefferson, Alonso King, and even Jacques D’Amboise have come to Butler through this program!

Ms. Homans outlined early French ballet and Russian ballet under the Soviet during her talk, ending with a Q&A conversation about the necessity of bringing new relevance to the art form.

I really liked the talk, but I was sitting onstage with other dancers (I don’t know why they wanted us onstage, except that Ducky, the venue, was completely full, and they were even live-streaming the talk to more people in the reception room in the basement). I have a very hard time sitting still for longer than about 40 minutes, so the whole time I was trying not to fidget!

It’s funny that Ms. Homans came this year — my grandmother gave me her book as a Christmas gift this December. What perfect timing!

Final BSI Dinner

Wow. BSI is over. Students have been presenting Friday through Wednesday (today) for two or three hours each morning. We had our final BSI lunch Tuesday night, and I spent a lovely evening with four other students, a history professor, a creative writing professor, and two chemistry professors. Since the students consisted of two international studies majors, two creative writing majors, and me (Dance performance and English Lit), I was glad we didn’t talk about super artsy things the entire night. Got to let the science people have their say. : )

I learned that “aromatic” means something different in chemistry than in the rest of the world. This means, “So someone told me ethers were like aromatic rabbits” does not make for quite the conversation starter I thought it might. Turns out “aromatic” isn’t quite the word, and I would have done better quoting my friend’s actual “smelly bunnies.” Instead, I discovered “aromatic” refers to the configuration of bonds. (Is that it? Is that even close?)

It also turns out, with some quick internet searching, that I might have confused “ether” and “ester,” since esters are definitely smelly, but ethers look more like rabbits. Well, I found a snazzy dimethyl ether on wikipedia…

It also, also turns out that chemists are people too and thus perfectly well qualified to speak on matters other than chemistry. Still, I do love some chemistry talk. This summer has been wonderful, getting to hear about all the science projects. After listening to an explanation of the G-protein receptors project about four times, I think I might sort of get it!

Watching the chemistry presentations was definitely harder than the others, since so much of the basic language tends to baffle the average liberal arts major. (I still don’t know the difference between a substrate and a reagent. I vaguely understand the function of primers.) I finally, finally got a grasp on “stereochemistry,” and line structures aren’t quite so mystifying. I think the chemistry presentations did a good job of catering to a mixed, partially non-science audience.

But dinner! Dinner was at Shanghi Lil’s in Indianapolis with all the BSI students and the large percentage of mentors who could make it. Dinner was served family-style, as all Chinese meals should be served, and it was absolutely delicious. Pineapple shrimp. Pineapple. Shrimp. Pineapple shrimp. Genius.

(I also just typed “pinaepple” every single time I attempted to write “pineapple.”)

I will have to update you on the ant infestation in our apartment and on final presentations… but now I simply must go make some toast and Skype with a friend.

Summer at Butler: What I Learned

  • The “so hard to say goodbye” in “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5 can use a I V IV V I chord progression.
  • Fish tacos in Chicago make an excellent snack.
  • Welsh eisteddfodau: Grown men dress in bardic robes for the ceremony which declares the winner of the traditional-form, Welsh-language poetry competition. There is a sword involved, and the whole crowd shouts “Peace!” in Welsh.
  • Pianos are expensive.
  • BSI projects can be wicked cool: YouTube Preview Image
  • Both Howards End and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog are more entertaining than A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
  • If you leave your bike overnight at the IMA, the snack fairy leaves you a fruit bar.
  • Don’t use the recipe on the side of the cornmeal container to make cornbread, because it doesn’t taste very good. On the other hand, add a bit of coco powder to pancake batter, then some bananas to make chocolate banana pancakes. Heavenly.
  • Guerilla knitting happens.

    I saw this tree when I visited Downer's Grove during my epic trip to Chicago.

  • English publications generally don’t like papers over twenty-five pages.
  • Some species of sour cherries are self-compatible.
  • The GRE is a) necessary for grad school; b) expensive; c) changing and half price if taken this August or September; or d) all of the above.
  • Biking up hills is much easier when one’s bike is not stuck on the lowest gear.
  • Jude the Obscure is the most depressing book in the English language, and, as Jasper Fforde recommends, one should read it backwards if there is to be any chance of a happy ending.
  • G-protein receptors. They exist. You have them almost everywhere in your body.
  • ISIS stands for “Image subtraction, image subtraction.”
  • Straws aren’t so bad after all.
  • Euchre isn’t so complicated after all.
  • Don’t put potato peels down the kitchen garbage disposal. You’ll only clog the sink and render the dishwasher unusable for almost a week.

Catching up sans mustard

I am done! It is officially Thanksgiving Break, and I survived last week.

Monday: Irish Lit paper due. Dance history abstract due. Full run-through of The Nutcracker. Butler Catholic Community meeting. Done, done, done, and done. Physics.

Clowes Hall

Tuesday: The Nutcracker run-through. Science lab. Attending a concert at Clowes to see my two jazz-musician friends play = awesome. Sigma Rho Delta meeting (albeit briefly, as the concert ended after the start of Sigma Rho). Physics.

Wednesday: The Nutcracker. (Do you notice a theme here?) Frantic studying for the massive physics test. And–oh yeah– more physics.

Thursday: Physics test. Doomdoomdoom. And The Nutcracker. Frantic reading for my Irish Lit class. Speaking of Irish Lit, I got my paper back and extremely surprised to find that some of the things I thought were awful could, with some refinement, actually fit into my convoluted thesis. Much excitement ensued.

Around 11:15 pm, I enjoyed watched all the students stream off campus to see the Harry Potter movie, though I regretfully remained in order to sleep in order to dance safely the next day. However, I saw fellow-blogger Justin looking quite spiffy in his purple Dumbledore robes and cotton-ball beard.

Physics produced a mixed reaction. I felt like I hit most of the key concepts in the two problems–for any interested: the law of conservation of momentum, the law of conservation of energy, the work-energy theorem, projectile motion, force diagrams, forces like tension and friction, uniform circular motion, and collisions–but I didn’t actually get a concrete answer for the last part of the last problem.

More infuriating than a simply inability to finish was that fact that, by the end of ballet class, the idea that was previously slow to come to me had made its way into my brain: the equation for time down. Duuuuh. Also, I realized that the distance one would travel around the rim of half a circle is in fact pi*r, not 2*pi*r.

Friday: FRIDAY! I had nothing due. The most pressing duty on my list was laundry. I spent my breaks yesterday compiling a Thanksgiving Break playlist for a CD. I ate a pumpkin muffin. I watched my physics professor demonstrate gyroscopic motion by standing on a stool and letting the torques (or something…) from the gyroscope make him rotate around. Best physics class ever. I really wanted to try the gyroscope out on my own. Maybe next time.

This break is off to a fabulous beginning, and I’ll looking forward to the rest of the week! I do have a bunch of homework to do, but, you know, sleeping will occur.

Off to get some more tea…

In which the smackdown disintegrates

What’s the score between Olivia and physics? It’s hard to say, since the smackdown has disintegrated into madness.

Pro-Olivia: The professor posted a list of early term grades via student ID number, and he placed them in descending order. Guess who was at the top of the class? That’s right–the Dance BFA/English lit major!

Pro-physics: The midterm. Two questions. Three sections each. Ninety minutes. (Or seventy-five, in my case, since I had a ballet class that began at 12:20.) All was well and good until the last section of the last problem. I think I finally ended up with a system of six equations with six different variables. I wrote, “Solve the system found at the bottom of the extra work page. Did not have time to execute.” Darn vectors pointing every which way!

Yeah. Definitely not at the top of the class anymore.