Saturday, October 10, 2009

Trainee

On Monday I flew out to the US to start my time doing SciMon shifts (as I talked about here) at the LIGO Hanford Observatory (LHO). My first full day here (Tuesday) was not spent at the detector, but was mainly spent in bed overcoming jetlag (and also an illness I seemed to come down with during my flight - not pleasant). But for the last three days I have been out at the detector learning the trade of the SciMon as a trainee. There's been little for me to actually do, but having a computer has meant that I could just get on with my regular work. I have learned what a variety of the monitors that we have in our control room mean (it's a bit like a space mission control room, with banks of screens and computers), and I've seen the effect of the last weeks multiple strong earthquakes on the detector.

Tomorrow I start my first seven days in duty as the "expert" SciMon. After that I then have a day off followed by another seven days of shifts. I'm going to try and write something every day about my experience, so be prepared for 14, probably, fairly dull posts about my experience. I may be going slightly mad towards the end!