Classes have been going well at ISU - we have lectures in seven core areas: Space Business and Management, Space Life Sciences, Space Policy & Law, Space Physical Sciences, Satellite Applications, Space Systems Engineering, and Space and Society.The lectures have been pretty interesting - a good deal of it is review for me, since I have studied Aerospace Engineering and Space Policy and work as a Systems Engineer. However, some review, especially on the engineering and physics concepts, is completely welcome - it's been a few years since I've seen rocket propulsion or orbital mechanics equations.
Jeff Hoffman, who I TA-ed for while at MIT, is giving the lectures physical sciences, and those have been especially interesting. He was involved in the production of a documentary about Cosmology - discussing the origins of the universe - and showed some of that in class. It's called National Geographic: Naked Science: Birth of the Universe. If you can find it on TV or online, I highly recommend it.
In addition to classes, we attend evening lecture series once a week at CosmoCaixa, the science museum in Barcelona. We usually get there a little early, which gives us a chance to see the museum. They have a very cool fake rainforest.
ISU also runs "culture nights" about once a week. Since there are people from 26 countries here, they have people from four countries give a 15 minute presentation each week. The U.S. is scheduled for this week (tomorrow actually!) along with Austria, Turkey, and Ireland. Our presentation is pretty silly, and has very little educational value, but should at least be entertaining. Stephanie and I made a section about things you can learn about American culture from American movies, and at this moment Stephanie is coming up with a section on the E! channel. So that should give you an idea of the quality we're going for...
There are lots of other exciting things to look forward to as well. I'm going with Jeff and some friends to Tarragona this weekend. It's a beach town about an hour south of Barcelona, and Jeff's roommate, Victor has a house there where we'll stay Saturday night.
My friend Monica, is flying in from England on Saturday night, and luckily the airport is right next to Tarragona, so instead of having to take an hour train to meet me, we'll be able to pick her up at the airport! Then she'll come back to Barcelona with us and stay til Wednesday.
In other travel news, Stephanie and I booked our trip to Portugal! We're flying to Porto on August 8th and returning on August 10th.