The laboratories of physical scientists across the planet have pulsed laser systems like this one, and many look quite similar: a collection of squat boxes covering optics, electronics, and beampaths. Above or below the surface of the table are additional boxes of electronics driving the lasers and detectors. This particular system is special to me for two reasons: (1) most modern laser tables don’t have rad wood grain paneling, and (2) this was the instrument I used during my sabbatical at Berkeley Lab last spring. Lots of good data emerged from its photomultiplier tube.
When all of “my space” meant a tiny Berkeley apartment and a tiny grad student desk, things that were important to me and integral to my daily life accrued only in those places. This desk might appear messy, but it’s also stuffed full of books and tables and notes. There are parts of my bike and parts for the laser and parts for making things in the machine shop. There are drawings and computer equipment, and there are cups for coffee and cups for beer. What more does a graduate student need?