Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day Two

Summer Placement - Day Two

I cycled into work today, and found it slightly easier than I had expected. The headwind must have been lighter than when I went out on Saturday. So I arrived a little early, but no matter.

My supervisor's original plans for today were thrown out of the window almost immediately due to some unexpected business requiring immediate investigation. So we got into our overalls and went out to work in the Turbine Hall.

Nuclear Engineers wear only boxers underneath their overalls. Bet you didn't know that! I soon found out the reason why. The Turbine Hall is incredibly humid and the air is uncomfortably hot. My poor supervisor sweats so profusely in the heat that it looks like he's crying, that is no exaggeration!
It is also so noisy that you have to actually leave the building in order to communicate with the person standing next to you. Quite a difficult place to work for a long period!

Being in places like the Turbine Hall is rather unnerving because the conditions impair all the senses you normally use to read the environment and people around you. Your hearing is useless because of the noise and your earplugs. The ability to feel vibrations in the floor is useless when the two sets of giant turbines make the entire building shake. So a person can stand right behind you and shout, and you probably wouldn't notice. It is awareness of this fact plus the sensory overload that makes me keep 'seeing' people behind me and turning around to find no-one there. Then there was the time I sensed nothing but turned round to find two men standing behind me in the tiny space where I was working!
Fortunately, after a while my ears began to filter out the background noise and I was more able to understand people 'talking' (shouting). I imagine that people who have worked there a while are used to this.

For lunch, I bought an egg salad sandwich only to find it had cucumbers in it. Cucumbers are my no.1 most hated foodstuff, so I was not pleased! Tomorrow, I'm making my own sandwiches without any damn cucumbers!

In the afternoon, we spent a long time discussing the morning's findings. I was struck by how much this meeting resembled that bit in House where they write the symptoms on a board and then discuss possible diagnoses. All we were missing was a sick person, a flawed genius and the cool transparent glass blackboard. I must try to persuade them to invest in one!

Yesterday I said I hoped I'd see some real work soon. Today that wish was granted with a vengeance!

PS. Made a nice lasagne for dinner to make up for yesterday's lunch. It's a bit big, it'll last me three days at this rate!

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