Our lab has been buzzing with research activity this summer. We thought it would be fun to sit down with a few of the worker bees — undergraduates, high school interns, and research technicians — to ask them some questions and learn more about their work.
Name: Moriah Barrow
Degree: Engineering (undeclared)
Year in school: Sophomore
Career Goal: Product Engineer / Physical Therapist
How long have you been working in our lab? About 8 months; started in January 2013
Describe your project/research: My Project uses the pladmodium of the slime mold Physarum polycephalum to model hurricane evacuation routes in the southeast United States. Using slime molds is a really cool alternative way to look at navigation systems. Essentially, I use oat flakes (a source of nutrients for the slime mold) in place of cities on a map of the U.S. The slime mold then navigates throughout the map, connecting the different cities. What’s cool about the slime mold is that it will create the shortest, most optimal route between nutrients (cities in this case), creating a network similar to a road map. The end goal is that the slime mold can help to create more efficient hurricane evacuation systems, which always have room for improvement.
What was the craziest/funniest/weirdest thing that happened to you in the lab this season? I think the weirdest thing was being around so many bugs! I was working in the lab one day and heard a sound from a box across from me. I was alone in the room and looked over to find a box labeled “live crickets”. Yikes!
Scientists get inspiration from strange places sometimes, where do you get inspiration? I really get inspiration from everything around me, whether that be people, places, things, etc. There are so many things in the world that we know absolutely nothing about; that in itself inspires me! I love to learn.
What is one question you REALLY want the answer to? Why are softballs hard?
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