MISIP2018: Aisha Abdalla AlOwais


Joining this internship was like opening a door that leads to the heaven of geochemistry and mineralogy. Since my background is in computer science, and that’s what I use to teach a drone on how to distinguish between meteorites and meteor-wrongs, I had no clue at all about mineralogy. I just knew that meteorites have different chemical compositions than other rocks, and they looked different too. But today, as we are approaching the fifth of week of this internship, my learning curve in geology, chemistry and mineralogy have significantly increased. We have learned how to use a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) to obtain images of our thin sections through the Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) in it, and then analyze each spot using Aztec, to conduct chemical and elemental analysis. We have also been introduced to the Electron Probe Micro Analyzer (EPMA) as well as visual stage. In addition, we carried out a good amount of work in the clean lab to further investigate the elemental abundances in our varied selection of samples, ranging from whole rock to Allende and Murchison chondrules. We have also used the ICMPS and laser probe analysis to have more details about out lovely chondrules. If our grandparents always have stories to tell about their past, imagine what chondrules could tell us! Too bad they don’t speak, therefore we have to use all the techniques and skills learned from this internship to resolve the mystery behind each of them.

Aside from work, the professors and lab technicians are amazing and always ready to help. Each one of them inspired us and enlightened us in a different way. I would like to express my gratitude to all of them for answering all my vague questions, for helping me when I did something wrong in the clean lab especially and for always encouraging me to explore more about what we’re doing. My teammates in this project are very enthusiastic and cooperative, each of them has contributed to my knowledge in this field, especially my lab partner, Noah. A special thank you to the teammate who always took into consideration that I’m kind of far from this world of rocks and always tried his best to explain things for me, from the simplest to the toughest. Thank you for your patience.

This internship was a doorway to learn a new field of science, gain technical skills, use amazing facilities, make friends, exchange thoughts with professionals and explore japan. I cannot imagine being in an internship as good as this one. The efforts put to make this internship happen are highly appreciated, and hopefully with all the information planted in our brains today, its results will shine clearly tomorrow.

Aisha Abdalla AlOwais