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PRISE Photoblog
Dear PRISE colleagues, staff, and friends,
My name is Gordon and I am a rising Senior in Mather (currently in Lev G 113). During the school year I take photos for the Humanities Center at Harvard as well as several student group events. I am excited to be your 2011 PRISE photographer and photoblogger! The past few weeks have been amazing and I am thrilled to be able to capture the memories forever on this blog. I am going to keep a professional writing style (to not offend anyone), but please let me know if it is too dry. I would love to post your photos and your comments on different events as well so please email me any photos that you would like to go on the blog to My photos will appear on Facebook as well so feel free to add me and tag yourself and your friends!

PRISE Final Presentations

PRISE fellows were able to present their research that they have been performing for the past 10 weeks. Everyone was so excited to be able to show the results that they have obtained. The presentations were all very professionally done and although there were a wide variety of science fields represented, we were able to understand most of the presentations. Great job everyone!
90s Study Break

On Sunday, PRISE had our last study break. It was filled with treats from the 90s to bring out the inner children in all of us. I hadn't seen many of the snacks since my childhood and it was amazing to be able to enjoy them today!
PRISE Lecture Series: Dr. Khoshbin

Dr. Khoshbin, our last speaker, gave us a talk involving both epilepsy and art. I personally thought that this was the most interesting and funniest talk. Although Dr. Khoshbin gave us data showing that 70% of the undergraduates are daydreaming during talks given by professors, I doubt that this was true for his talk!
Presentation Practicum

The Presentation Practicum held at the Dudly house dining hall was filled with excitement. Every single one of PRISElings explained the logic behind his or her research. While not everyone's experiment may have gone as planned, it seemed like everyone has had a fulfilling summer. I can only imagine how the real presentations will go next week!
PRISE Formal

Held in the chandelier-decorated Dudly house's dining hall, the PRISE formal was a great success. Over 200 people showed up and danced to the DJ's beats. Everyone looked lovely/handsome with their formal clothing on!
PRISE speaker event: Dr. Cherry Murray

Dr. Murray, the dean of SEAS told us about the story of her professional life. It was interesting to me how someone who has studied art became so well known for her science. I feel like it shows how it is possible to go from one extreme to the other if you just have the enthusiasm for it. Dr. Murray told us about the expansion that the SEAS department is going to go through so I hope to see the day that Harvard can overtake MIT in the field of engineering!
Faculty Chat with Dr. Blitzstein

Blurb from Anji:

The stream of academic and teaching stars of Harvard University never stop gracing PRISE/BLISS/PRIMO headquarters with their presence. On Wednesday night, Prof. Joe Blitzstein from the Harvard Statistics Department--recently promoted to the well-deserved title of Professor of the Practice of Statistics--became the highlight of the evening as he presided over a table of delicious Finales cake (which disappeared at the speed of light) and eager students expounding critical topics such as the categorization of math and CS as logic rather than science, the comparative difficulty of math, physics, and philosophy, and whether working on a Saturday affects one's chance of acquiring tenure. Thanks to everyone who helped make this amazing faculty chat possible! And don't forget to check out (and "like" the Stat110 promotional video!
Chocolate factory tour + Fenway park

Today, PRISE students had the opportunity to go on two amazing adventures! Ahhh how I wish I could have gone to them as well. I was just too tired to wake up early enough to go to the chocolate factory tour (slept at 4 a.m.)... and I didn't win the lottery for the Red Sox game.. =(. But Anji kindly gave me her photos so I am able to upload them here! Thank you Anji for the photos! I hope everyone who went had a chance to eat lots of chocolate and had fun watching the game! You are a true Bostonian now!

Talent show

Until yesterday, I thought that PRISE students were all just scientists. However, the performers showed me that they have some amazing talents that I didn't even imagine of. From dancing to raving, everyone performed beautifully.
Science Bowl

It was a night of intense competition. The science bowl, organized by Nick was a huge success. We had many teams that competed first in a round robin style and then four teams faced off in the semi-final and final competition. My team got 3rd place! Congrats to Will and Sun for winning the competition undefeated!!
PRISE Lecture Series: Prof. Dan Lieberman

Dr. Lieberman taught us about the the misconceptions behind running -- with shoes. I have always believed that our shoes would protect us but it turns out that it actually causes us to run in an incorrect manner and actually may be responsible for damaging our legs in the long run. With two front page nature journal articles already, Dr. Lieberman is the leading human evolutionary biologist in the world! The lecture changed my views about running and I will for sure try out barefoot running when the weather cools down a bit!
Aquarium trip

PRISE members had a chance to go see the Aquarium in Boston. There were so many colorful fish and other sea creatures. I especially loved the Jellyfish they had. Although everyone was remarking how beautiful the fish looked, I was secretly thinking how tasty they looked --- as a big seafood lover they looked so good to eat!
Berryline Study Break

Another free food event hosted by PRISE! This time it was everyone's favourite fro-yo Berryline! It was a perfect study break to cool down from the hot summer weather and catch up on a Saturday night. There were so much food that I doubt that we could all finish it!

On a side note -- Yuying was complaining that I didn't have any of her photos on the blog... Sorry about that -- I made up for it here =)! If you guys go out to events and I have missed you in the photoblog, just let me know -- I'll be more than happy to get some hi-quality photos of you!
Learn how to salsa!

PRISE students had the amazing opportunity to learn how to dance the traditional salsa from Alice. The Leverett dining hall, adorned with chandeliers was a perfect place for PRISElings to learn how to dance gracefully (scientists should know how to dance too right? ;)).
Lecture series: Stephen Kosslyn

Dr. Kosslyn gave us a lecture on how to give an effective powerpoint presentation. Although critics of the book "Clear and on the point" by Dr. Kosslyn say that the material is too fundamental, I don't think so -- I thought his talk was much much more interesting than many of the physics 11b lectures that I have attended (not that I have anything against that!). Greg even bought us all a copy of the book! I hope to see everyone with perfect ppt presentations at the end of PRISE!


Gloucester Beach Trip

PRISE people had an amazing opportunity to go on a full day trip to Gloucester Beach. I couldn't go due to a friend's birthday but many students woke up early (again on a Sunday!) and took the commuter rail to the beach. The weather was perfect for swimming, tanning, walking, and eating! Thank you Richard and Alice for the photos!!!
Six Flags Trip!

Although it was cloudy in the morning at 7:45 a.m., we were all enthusiastic to be able to go to Six Flags. I was amazed that all the PRISE students were able to wake up by 7:45 a.m. on a SATURDAY morning! After an hour bus drive, we made it to Six Flags. The day cleared and the weather was amazing. (Unfortunately I didn't take my camera into 6 Flags so I will rely on Esther's/Richard's/Sumit's photos here) (Thank you so much! =)). We had 10 hours of non-stop fun and by the time we came back to board the bus at 7:15 p.m. we were all exhausted. Today when I checked my back in the bathroom mirror, it was all red! I'm sure I am not the only one with a huge sunburn on my back!
The 2011 PRISE Photoblog
06.28.2011 Cambridge, MA
Distinguished Speaker: Noam Elkies

Dr. Elkies taught us about the beautiful mathematics that is behind the creation of a can(n)on. I never knew there were so many different types of canons and how hard or easy it was to actually create one. When he was able to improvise a canon, we were all mesmerized by his ability. The lecture hall was filled with not only PRISE people but people from all over Harvard and MIT!
PRISE 4th of July Study Break

One of the best things about PRISE is that you can always find free food here and there. Thank you to all those who organized this amazing study break. There were pies, all sorts of chips and cookies, ice cream, and soda for everyone. It's amazing how fast all the pies disappeared!
Scientists vs. Zombies and Ultimate Frisbee

I've been having a pretty bad day today -- Yesterday I took out the pancreas of 9 mice after a week-long $3000+ mouse experiment. This morning, my pancreas #5 somehow disappeared... On top of that, I somehow put my laptop's AC adapter in the washing machine along with my dirty clothes... As my battery slowly fade away, I am still hoping that once dry, it will continue to work..

Although my day was unfortunate, the sun is finally back. As the rain and clouds disappear, the weather is becoming perfect for outdoor activities. It is a perfect day to play scientists vs. zombies and ultimate frisbee!

Speaker Event: Dr. Emery Brown

Dr. Brown explained to us about what goes on in your brain during the process of anesthesia. While it is commonly thought that you are being put to "sleep" or being "knocked out" during anesthesia, this is actually not true. You are instead being put into a "reversible coma". As Dr. Brown says "I don't just knock people out. Any fool can do that. I bring them back".

My favourite quotes:
"This is no humbug" ... "in case you don't know that's the 18th century way of saying this is no bull shit".
"Look at his arm now. See that? It's like spaghetti".
"Are you ok?" "I'm a doctor. It's all right." .... "I have always wanted to say that."
June 29th 2011

BBQ at the Queen's Head Pub

The amazing BBQ was held at the QHP for all students participating in research during the summer. All the student researchers could get together and have a chance to make new friends from other research programs. The meal was delicious -- so delicious that the hamburgers were nowhere to be seen at 6:05 p.m.. It was a great chance for the students to relax after a hard day's work in the lab, eat great food, and socialize.
June 28th 2011

Speaker Event: Christopher Chabris (hosted by BLISS)

Christopher Chabris is a great speaker who wrote a book called "The Invisible Gorilla" ( (no I am not getting paid to promote his book). It was a pleasure to listen to him in Sever hall. The laughter from the audience filled the entire lecture hall throughout the presentation. And we learned something educational: why our minds don't work the way we think they do.

Funniest slide: The thief who stole a person's laptop posted a picture of himself on that person's Facebook.

Most interesting slide: The video of the "invisible gorilla" -- many of the Harvard students admitted that they did not see the gorilla appear and beat his chest.
PRISE Photoblog

PRISE Photoblog

The Official PRISE 2011 Photoblog!

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