I'm Chels. I blog about science, art, tennis, and my adventures in journalism. Officially, I'm a Science Writer at Brookhaven National Lab and I blog for them, too. Unofficially, I'm pretty awesome.

Or, you know, owsome.

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The lab is located near a small airport and we’re right in the flight path coming into and out of New York City, so there are always lots of planes in the sky. Today, I counted 14. And at one point there were three that passed right over each other at different altitudes, which would have made for a cool photo if I’d had my nice camera on me. 

One of my goals while I’m out here on this crazy island is to get up in a small aircraft. Flying lessons? Yes, please. I bet this place looks really cool from a few thousand feet above the ground. 

The Brookhaven Zoo

Brookhaven National Lab sits on thousands of acres, most of which are undeveloped woodlands. So that means I encounter a lot of wildlife on a daily basis. Here are all the animals I’ve seen in descending order of how much I like them: 

  • The Lab Cat: I mean, do I need to even explain this one? It’s a cat that lives at the lab. WIN.
  • Groundhogs: These dudes are HILARIOUS. I’ve seen several scurrying around the grounds, but my favorite is this chubby one who runs between the apartment buildings. Siena sits in the window chattering at him, and he runs back and forth just to drive her crazy. I have tried several times to get a video of this little guy, but I’m always laughing way too hard to get anything worth posting. 
  • Deer: Yes, they’re sort of a hazard to driving around here, but they’re so beautiful and majestic, so I love them. The deer here are not afraid of humans at all, and the other night while I was standing out behind the barracks just staring up at the stars, two of them walked right by me, close enough to reach out and touch them. They startled me, but I guess I didn’t startle them, because they just glanced over and went on their way. 
  • Geese: We all know these birds are kind of annoying and they poop everywhere, but in the evenings when the sun is setting, they fly really low above the apartments and land in the field behind the barracks, and it’s kind of nice. Until they start honking. Shut up, geese. Just SHUT UP.
  • Wild Turkeys: I do NOT like these guys. First, they’re terrifying to look at. And they hang out in packs and give me the side-eye every time I pass them. I get the feeling they’re going to attack some day soon. And someone told me today that he has seen them hanging out in the trees, which sounds even worse. I mean, if I’m going to have an altercation with a turkey, I want to at least have the upper hand as far as location goes. Because I’m lacking in the crazy-with-a-beak department. 

I’ve been told that there are also foxes (yay!) and 6-foot-long black snakes (blech), so I’m sure I’ll have further updates as the months go by.

Cool thing I learned in my New Employee Orientation

An early version of Pong was invented at Brookhaven. They had a visitor’s day back in the 50s and one of the scientists was asked to create something that would be entertaining for the people coming to the lab. It was called “Tennis for Two”. How cute is that?

This is my favorite piece of trivia about the whole place. 

Met this lab cat on the way to my car tonight. I’m assuming he’s a reincarnated scientist. (Taken with Instagram)

I love working at a place where people are asking the really BIG questions. (Taken with Instagram)

Spritz Bombin’ at the ‘Haven (Taken with Instagram)