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Week 2 6/23-6/27

It seems strange that only two weeks have passed since I started here! I've definitely been getting more used to working here. The 2 hour each way commute is getting somewhat normal, though I don't know if I'll ever quite get comfortable with it.

I definitely have tons of work to keep me busy. Basically what I've been doing these past two weeks is run cyclic and square wave voltammetry with electrodes packed with MnO2 in different solutions. Around 60 hours of this produces lots of data! So in order to compare the different runs, I plot the data on Igor. By comparing the data, I am hopefully able to get an understanding of the electrochemical activity and what the peaks are caused by.

I've run into a myriad of problems and have been finding that its just sometimes hit and miss! It's truly agonizing every time I see the MnO2 from my nicely packed electrode float away in solution. Trying to get reproducible results/electrodes is looking nearly impossible at this point, but I'm making progress nonetheless.

Today our brown bag seminar was pretty interesting--I don't usually ever even think about effects on native communities, but the seminar definitely gave me some awareness of the native community and our responsibility to it. Although my research might not have a direct effect or benefit to them, hopefully, the further understanding of the potential of MnO2 electrodes as sensors may eventually contribute to a method of measuring concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (or any other chemical...I'm not quite sure yet at this point in my resesarch) in the environment. On a global scale, that may be beneficial in its environmental and biological applications.