Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"Will something like that work?" suggests Volodya

 Indeed it WILL work, Volodya, indeed it will.

You see this teeensy tiny little wire?
It's itty bitty. Little. Not even that specialized. However... if you're trying to make your laser go without one - well, that's not going to work particularly well if you want it to, you know, lase.

It belongs here:
It connects the two flashlamp electrodes to each other. Kind of like when you have to line up a bunch of batteries in a flashlight - if they're not all touching each other in series, then you won't complete the circuit, and it won't work.

I was feeling GREAT about the pump chamber install yesterday, right up until the point at which the laser proceeded not to lase. It wouldn't even flash. Pro Tip: Put all the pieces back in first. Pro Tip Number Two: If for whatever reason, you don't HAVE all the pieces at the north pole... well, find a spare somewhere. Or, in my case, send your colleagues out foraging.

So here's a huge shout-out to the Ridge-Lab members of the ACE Validation team here in Eureka. They suffered through my pleas during breakfast. While they were cornered so to speak, and not quite awake enough to fend me off, I fed very grainy low-res photos of the part I needed into their brains. I left them with the request of "If you see one of *these*, then please let me know!! It's got grey ends, like this. And it's little, like that. And... ".

Did they laugh? Yes. Roll their eyes at my own wide eyed optimism? I decline to say. But did they come back from the big red building on the hill with the appropriate part in their pocket? Also yes.

Paul and Volodya were pretty sure we could cobble something together if needed, but that's never the first plan (and not always a feasible or sensible plan at all) at an isolated lab. So the laser could have been out of commission until the next plane came in.

Today, teamwork is good, and teamwork mean that measurements can go on.

As of 7:59 PM, the pump chamber has been re-installed, and so far is even cooperating by not leaking. Go, Science, Go!

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