Quantum Mechanic

Content from 2011-09-11 17:13:48

New job again!

posted on 2011-09-11 17:13:48

Well, the summer ended and it was finally time to move out of central New York. I managed a whole two weeks of work at the Air Force, but met some nice people. Now, though, I am relocating!

When looking for an apartment in New York City, there is a strange dance to be done. First, one would want an apartment, right? I sure did. Apparently, though, you need to be able to prove you can pay for it before you can move in (if you can find one at all) which means you need a job before you can rent an apartment. Of course, it would be nice to live near that job in the city that you're paying for the apartment with, wouldn't it? You can't do that until you have the job. I don't know how most people deal with this. After a few weeks job and apartment hunting, I'm guessing a lot of people just don't.

In any event, I got a job with the Wong Group at Columbia University.  This is quite new to me!  At this point, most every new job is a completely new experience for me, but in this case, well, this is probably my first real job.  I worked in a public library for 2 years, so, I guess that probably counts as a real job, too, but that was during high school and this is in a field I studied in College.

On my first day of work (Wednesday) I was given a budget code, told to order what I needed and left to do what I would in the lab with a laser that cost a quarter of a million dollars.

Then, I reminded myself that I was, in fact, qualified to use the equipment and got about learning how the particular equipment that they use in this lab works.  It's certainly a very free-form environment, working at a University instead of a government lab.  People are in and out whenever, and my introduction to the equipment took place at 8:30PM.

As usual, I've gotten myself into an unusual situation.  I'm working in the Mechanical Engineering department, where they're big on building things, and people at talks get their degrees listed along with what companies they've started.  I have yet to understand a talk given by another person in my lab (and I've already seen a few) so I'm hoping I can return the favor in a few weeks when it's my turn.

I'm working on checking some of the devices they work on.  Right now, I'm just checking some bulk BBO crystal to make sure it's creating the right entangled state (the $$ |\Psi^+\rangle = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}\left(|HV\rangle + |VH\rangle\right)$$ state), by quantum state tomography.  Apparently, the group is (in part) working on entangled photon sources on a chip, and so once I've shown I can do QST, I'll be doing it to the outputs of a fiber and chip based device!

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