Meanwhile, my co-op journey continues at breakneck speed. In the past eight months, it has taken me across the country and back, from the classroom to the cyclotron roof, and into a whole new world of storytelling. I spent this winter in Vancouver, B.C., working for TRIUMF – Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics.
TRIUMF is the happening spot for subatomic physics research in Canada. Forget test tubes and lab benches - behind TRIUMF's fence you'll find cryogenic vacuum pumps, thousands of tonnes of concrete blocks, electron guns, beam dumps, and the world's largest cyclotron (confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records). Intimidated doesn't even begin to cover how I felt on my first day.
Instead of capturing local stories from the past, I was now tasked with sharing the extremely high-level physics results that emerge from TRIUMF's multiple experiments. For a girl who didn’t know the difference between a neutron and a neutrino, this was no easy feat. However, after my first few interviews, I began to notice a marked similarity between this writing assignment and my work during the Stratford Story Project. Simply put, people are generous with their stories. Just as the seniors interviewed in my book generously and openly shared their memories with me, the scientists at TRIUMF were patient and passionate in describing their work to me. With their help, I was able to get past the jargon, acronyms, and precise technical intricacies to find... the story.
I shared my reflections on the experience in a guest post on the particle physics blog Quantum Diaries.
If you'd like to see for yourself how it turned out, check out my last TRIUMF article, detailing some of the leading-edge nuclear medicine research underway at TRIUMF.
And now? Off in search of new stories... stay tuned.