February 14th, 2008

PhD in Astrophysics in the US

I've googled: phd best program astrophysics, phd usa astrophysics, phd astrophysics, doctoral programs, etc. read the wiki article as well as some other fascinating things, but now I'm trying to take all the theory I've gathered and check in with you lovely people to see if any of what I've pieced together makes sense.

I'm writing a 25 year old Canadian (male, and still named Rodney McKay for anyone keeping score) genius. He started college in Canada around 17, finished a BA in 3 years (probably with honours) and now wants a PhD in Astrophysics. For my story I need him to be 25 and somewhere on the road to getting his doctorate. This is set in present time.

So, question #1:
If he's getting his MA/PhD in the states, what Uni would be the most awesome he could apply that's currently considred to have a strong physics department (or, ideally, astrophysics) for him to go to? Also, I know some Universities allow studnets who enroll in MA programs to advance to PhD programs after 1 year of excellent performance, in that case would the PhD still take about 4-5 years from that time (I've read that that's pretty average for the sciences and this guy is a pretty motivated genius, so) or would it be longer?

I've read that it's common (or at least not unheard of) for grad students in the sciences to spend some time in advisory/observational capacities in other departments/establishments over the course of their study. Would it be feasible for my character's advisor to send him to another country, assumign there was some super cool research going on there and the person conducting it was a friend of my character's advisor or something, for at least a few months during the PhD process? If so, at what point would this be likely to happen? Towards the beginning/end? How would this impact thesis writing and other responsibilities of a minion grad studnet?

U.S. Medal of Honor and returning to combat

Searches: Medal of Honor; Medal of Honor + return to combat; John Basilone

Setting: 1944-1945, U.S. forces in the Philippines

When a servicemember receives the Medal of Honor, must he or she leave active combat immediately? Can he or she return to active duty easily?

My character joined the military against the will of his family and his church -- he is a Jehovah's Witness and defied his parents and the elders to enlist in active duty. He was disfellowshipped and formally shunned. Going home, for him, particularly to engage in a war-bond publicity drive, sounds worse than the torture he got. At least dislocated shoulders can be popped back in.

In combat he covered the retreat of his battalion single-handedly, was captured, briefly tortured, escaped and inflicted losses on his captors, and was found, in bad shape, and brought to the aid station. He is recuperating when he is told he is being recommended for the Medal of Honor. His own survivor's guilt factors aside, can he still get the Medal but request not to go home? I'm pretty sure he would turn down the Medal if it meant he had to leave the front, but I don't think he can do that.

His experiences are inspired by MOH recipient Elmer Fryar; going back to combat as an officer is based on John Basilone. But Fryar got his MOH posthumously, and Basilone was forced to go do some homefront war bond stuff before he finally got to get back to action. I am trying to not have my character leave the area; he has about two months from being rescued to when I would like him to go back into combat.

Several questions.

Setting: (late) XIX century Europe, particularly Ireland, Portugal, England and Italy.
Google searches tried: basically anything envolving "Courts" "Guests" "Europe" and so on.

1. My main character is a painter. Doesn't matter if he has to be famous or not. How would he go about staying with the Portuguese Royal Family, in their holiday home or otherwise? Would he be invited or "invite himself"? Would he have representatives to arrange things for him?
2. How frequent was it to have children listen to stories about lore and superstitions, in particular in Ireland? Can be whenever, just the character's Irish relative is telling them about it (when he's thinking about his childhood).

  • Current Mood: artistic
  • Current Music: "Straight Boys" ~ Jeffree Star

Calling all cardiology experts!

Setting: Present Day, Japan
Previous sources: My friend's dad who is a doctor, google, wikipedia.

I'm planning a fic where the main character suffers from acute viral myocarditis. This is a flexibe diagnosis, but it's the closest thing I've been able to find that fits my criteria. Those criteria being that it needs to be a heart disease that is non-congenital, and can strike someone who is young (young in this case being 18 years old), and relatively healthy otherwise. Also, it needs to cause significant chest pain. If anyone can think of any other ailments that fit that description, please let me know. I would like something with a slightly grimmer prognosis. But anyway, what I've got right now is acute viral myocarditis.

My understanding is that this illness is triggered by a previous viral infection, such as the flu. Also, similar symptoms can arise from bacterial infection, and toxins found in cocaine. The character in question does not do cocaine, and he isn't likely to be infected with most of the illnesses listed, except possibly the flu. So that's what I'm going with. My questions are as follows.

1) Is what I've said so far an accurate understanding? Most of it was obtained through my own research, and I'm not sure if it's right. If it's wrong, what needs to be corrected?

2) Assuming I'm correct, how soon after the initial flu infection would the heart problems start?

3) What kind of progression would the illness have?

4) How is it usually treated? I found several options, but I don't know which of them are actually used on a regular basis.

5) I'm told that the chest pain feels like a heart attack, which is the primary reason I want to use this illness. However, I don't really know what a heart attack feels like. I want to be able to describe this with some accuracy, so tips are appreciated.

6) How likely is recovery? What kind of damage could one expect afterwards, if any?

Basically, I'm trying to make this as accurate as I possibly can. Since it's a somewhat obscure illness, I'm not finding a lot of information. Thanks in advance for any help that you can give me!
  • Current Mood: curious
  • Current Music: AP Reporter - Balsa Gliders

Water flowing under ice and taking a woman's braids with it

Hi all,

This is my first post here.

I am writing a scene set in 1940s Ukraine, near Poland. A woman is standing on a bridge sometime in the winter or early spring. It is cold enough that there is ice on the river. The river is not entirely iced up but is flowing fast under the ice. She has cut off her braids (they're long) and she throws them in the water.

My question is, if the water carried them to the ice's edge, would they get stuck there or would they go under the ice?

I've googled "water flowing under ice."

Also, is this kind of water always black? I think in Maine I have seen it almost liver color, but I'm not sure.

Descendants, rate of reproduction

I've done google search after google search (usually on reproductive speeds and genealogical charts), but nothing I've found has been helpful, so I turn to you.

If a man alive during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu (2589–2566 BC), married with two children (fraternal twins, a boy and a girl), found himself flung through time and fetched up around 2285 AD, how many descendants would he have (presuming normal birth and infant mortality rates), and how many generations would be between him and them?

Edit: Answered, thank you!