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Ellen McCallie's Diary

Day 32: Melting Gold

Photo: Ellen flattening goldWhat is the goal of the program? Our challenge is to cooperatively make things out of gold. Things, plural, out of gold. Make things, very difficult because the only pure gold we have is the nugget we found in the treasure box. The gold we collected ourselves has many other metals and elements mixed in with it. Purifying gold, need intense heat.

Purifying gold. Intense heat like none of us has ever used before. Make the furnace ourselves out of available materials. Not much time. Even less experience. We'll be mighty lucky if it gets hot enough. Different styles. Irrational, imperfect beings, who often say things they do not mean.

Photo: Ellen with clayBy mid-morning today I think we were doing pretty well. Mike L. went off to build bellows. The rest of us identified and discussed the main factors that will determine the success of the furnace we are building: insulation, heat source, and airflow.

1. Insulation: good clay, free of air bubbles and mixed with charcoal.
2. Heat source: supposedly we have coke, which is a very hot-burning form of coal.
3. Air flow: position of fire with relation to openings in the furnace, bellows.

Hard work. Cooperation, a must. Steep learning curve for all. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

After dinner
Photo: Evening  filmingAt dinner we were asked to talk about how we, the five of us, work as a group. Jonathan was sick in bed, so he wasn't there. This is a tough conversation to have, as well as a huge one, especially during program 6 and with one person missing. Also, what is the goal of talking about how we communicate? I would like to see our goal to be to devise ways to work together better and to communicate more effectively with one another. Without a shared goal, however, this kind of conversation can degrade quickly. I think it stayed right on the edge for a long while. When it looked like it might slide into bashing, I chose to leave. I want to be productive and effective. We are hired as scientists and professionals. I'd like to see us have as a common goal to work effectively as a team to produce high quality science programs for television, but people have different agendas.

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Photo: Ellen McCallie
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