Installing RUMP/Genplot in Linux! (finally)

Posted in Linux, School, Science! by Cameron Kopas | No Comments »
My research requires that I use Rutherford Backscattering Spectroscopy to analyze samples at least a few times a week.  I use this amazing technique to characterize multilayer samples, and regularly get information such as: composition by layer, contaminants present, layer thickness/structure, and crystallinity.  There is a powerful (albeit command line) software package available for analyzing these files, called RUMP/Genplot, but it has so far been only available for Windows. (well it was “available” for Linux, DOS, and OS/2, but the professor who wrote it never responded to my emails requesting a Linux copy).
Anyway, I was very pleased to learn recently that the program has gone from a paid license, to being completely free.  Even more recently, they posted the source filename (previously completely hidden) with a note that an experienced user should be able to find the file.   This meant that I could perform data analysis on my own computer, and not have to run down to the iBeam lab every time i wanted to re-check some results!
Well, needless to say, I finally managed to get RUMP/Genplot for RBS analysis compiled on Linux, I suspect it will work the same way on OSX, Solaris, or any of the exotic UNIX variants that the program is compatible with.

first, download the source code tarball at:
http://www.genplot.com/downloads/linux/cgs32j.tar.gz

(the filename might have to be updated with future versions)

if the user is on a mac, they need to install Xcode first (free, form the apple app store https://developer.apple.com/xcode/ ).  any *NIX distribution should already have a c compiler installed.

due to the nature of the makefiles, you have to copy it to the “home” user directory, not any downloads directory, so in the terminal, cd to the downloads directory, then;  (note, the $ preceding each line indicates that this line is to be entered into the terminal, it is not a command itself)

$  mv ./cgs32j.tar.gz ~/cgs32j.tar.gz
move to the main user directory
$  cd ~/
then unzip

$ tar -xzf cgs32j.tar.gz

then move into the new directory
$  cd ./cgs

now you need to choose the correct makefile for your operating system.

$  ls

will output a list of the files in the directory.  makelnx is “Makefile for Linux”  and makeosx is “makefile for OSX”

choosing the makefile for your system,  run it using make -f.  the -f flag allows you to choose a particular file, otherwise “make” will be confused by the multiple files available

$  make -f makelnx

wait for that to finish, then as long as it ends with “leaving directory[…]”  and does not spit out any errors, its done.
The program is all command line, so it must be launched from the terminal each time,  to launch, open a terminal, cd to the ~/cgs/bin directory and start it using:
$  ./rump

then you can use the program as normal.

sweet!  maybe now i’ll write a “getting started with RUMP/GENPLOT” article, since learning basic analysis is horrible.

Morning Science

Posted in Life in General, Science! by Cameron Kopas | No Comments »

two  pictures are below, one of a clear shirt, and another of the same shirt as viewed in a foggy bathroom mirror.

Now, putting on this shirt in the morning, I was very excited to see that there was no purple visible in the mirror’s fogged-up reflection, but the blue lines are fine (this was even more exaggerated a minute or so before I took the picture, look toward the top of the image for the most severe effect).

Even if you know it is there, and wanted to, you can’t really see any purple stripes in the fog.  I think the problem is almost the same as astronomers had seeing into forming stars- dust (or in our case, condensed water vapor) blocks light. The reason for this would be that shorter wavelengths are more easily blocked than longer ones (purple being of shorter wavelength than blue which is shorter than green; yellow; orange; red; and so on).

Astronomers solved this problem by instead of looking at the visible wavelengths, building telescopes which record (higher wavelength) Infrared light data.  They could then see through those bothersome clouds of dust surrounding all of the cool stuff going on at the birth of a star.

Unfortunately, I don’t have infrared-vision yet, so for now I’ll have to settle for just not looking for purple in a foggy mirror.

Engineering!

Posted in Life in General, Science! by Cameron Kopas | No Comments »

Moved into my apartment yesterday morning, and of course, I forgot plenty of things.  One of these happened to be a shower curtain.

duct tape and plastic bags

Well while it doesn’t look very effective, the duct-tape and space bags worked great.  No water escaped the tub.  I’m still going to get a real shower curtain though, and as soon as possible.

NASA's Constellation Project

Posted in Life in General by aliencam | No Comments »

So, it looks like NASA is back to doing something marginally important again (another mars lander wasn’t that cool). For the first time (again) we are sending actual live people to the moon. Now that they have had more practice with the unmanned ships/drones/landers, they are using two shuttles. The Ares I and the Ares V. The Ares I will be the manned shuttle, carrying the crew and the Orion Crew Exploration vehicle, and the Ares V will be the unmanned cargo and lander shuttle.

The Ares I (left in picture) is shaped a lot like a syringe, and it basically only holds the Orion and the crew. This will dock with the Ares V (right in picture) cargo shuttle in orbit. The Ares V looks more like the familiar space shuttles, only it carries a lot more stuff. NASA’s website describes the Ares V with: “Ares V will serve as NASA’s primary vessel for safe, reliable delivery of large-scale hardware to space — from the lunar landing craft and materials for establishing a moon base, to food, fresh water and other staples needed to extend a human presence beyond Earth orbit.” This almost makes it sound like somebody is planning on transporting materials for establishing a moon base to the moon using the Constellation project. Which would be quite awesome.

Although the name suggests something else, the Orion crew exploration vehicle is apparently for the exploration of space, primarily the area between the international space station and the moon. This is shaped like most of the past space capsules, looking like a Hershey’s Kiss with the top cut off, however this has the addition of two discs on either side that are solar panels to provide electricity. This capsule will dock with the Ares V to move cargo and crew around, specifically to and from the moon, and will dock at the international space station to do the same thing. (even the space program has docking standards… why can’t anyone else standardize things like that!) The capsule will also serve as an earth re-entry vehicle for lunar and Mars returns, but this time the capsule will not be landing on the moon.

Of course the timeframe on all of this is that the first manned mission will not be until the “2020 timeframe.” This means that since the invention of the airplane in about 1900, NASA can get one manned mission to the moon every 60 years. This second mission shows that the advancement of technology has no effect on the rate of progress our space program can make.

The average distance from the Earth to the moon is about 405,500 km and the shortest distance between the Earth and Mars is 54,500,000 km. So, if we do the math, the first person put on Mars by NASA should be in the year 9964.

No word yet on how NASA is looking to “Go Green” and reduce the emissions of these shuttles, or on how much evil deadly carbon it makes when you blow up a 5 story tall tank of oxygen-hydrogen rocketfuel.

all information and facts for this post were taken from NASA’s website: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/main/index.html

All images were taken from NASA’s website also. They are linked directly to the images on NASA’s servers.

Creative Commons License