“Hey! Wouldn’t it be a crazy idea to make a subatomicparticle detector in less than a week? What could possibly go wrong?” Thosewere the thoughts which ran through my head when I decided to assemble the teamfor the school science exhibition a few months ago. As fancy as the term’subatomic particle detector’ sounds, the goal of the project was to just makea working cloud chamber. To begin with,our project was already plagued with issues with a notable one being the hecticexamination schedule we had. Thedeadline was drawing close, and all hope seemed to be lost. However, even inthe worst of times, we chose to stick together, and tackled the problem adetermination that could melt even the plastic container of the cloud chamber!As the team leader, I took the responsibility of allocating tasks to myteammates, not limited to purchasing the chemicals and handling testing. At the same time, I spent a lot of sleeplessnights finding suitable solutions to the various problems such as the questionof finding a proper substitute for the expensive dry ice and substituting EthylAlcohol for Isopropyl Alcohol. In spite of what I might have outlined as my role in thisessay, this experience taught me the need for teamwork.
The numerous late nightsessions I spent on the phone with my friend Thomas K on how to present theproject before the judges, and the lengths my class partner Adil J went to findthe essential chemicals were instrumental in ensuring that our project wentsuccessfully. While our project ultimately didn’t win the competition (thoughmy class teacher claimed that it was a close contender), the whole processtaught me a lot about facing challenges. I felt as if I could draw parallelsbetween a simple science exhibition project and a large-scale research projectas from the surface, they both have situations when things won’t go as plannedyet are truly enriching experiences. In the end, I learned that everyindividual in a team had their own quirks, and no matter how horrible thingsmight seem, you have to be as stubborn as a toddler to move through.
Lookingback on that trial while typing this essay, as ‘cloudy’ as things seemed forthe Cloud Chamber, the experience certainly won’t flash past unlike the muonswe attempted to detect.