The Old Days When I Was Doing Liesegang Experiment

Time passes by really fast. Before I have a full grasp of what is going on this year, the year has come to an end.

Ritual akhir tahunku dimulai dengan membersihkan Google Driveku yang sudah merah dan minta diselamatkan. Tinggal tunggu waktu hingga akhirnya dia menyerah dan bilang, “Bayar extra storage sekarang, atau kamu tidak bisa menyimpan hasil kerjamu!”

Mumpung semester musim dingin belum mulai dan aku belum disibukkan oleh kelas Learning Science through Cooking yang akan kuambil (kabarnya, di kelas terakhir kami akan pergi ke pabrik cokelat!), dan dengan mengumpulkan niat yang menguap ditiup aroma liburan, akhirnya aku mulai menyortir Google Driveku juga.

Aku pun mengklik “Sort files by last modified”. Tak dinyana, aku menemukan banyak kejutan, terutama di tahun pertama aku berada di UWC.

leisegang-1-12
Dokumentasi eksperimen Liesegang. Clockwise, dimulai dari hari pertama di pojok kiri atas.

Eksperimen Liesegang ini dilakukan untuk mengobservasi bands yang muncul dalam reaksi pengendapan. Selama kurang lebih 12 hari, aku memotret perubahan di tiap tube dan melihat berapa bands yang terbentuk. Sayangnya, karena metode eksperimen yang cukup sembrono (maklum, masih SMA waktu itu), banyak air bubble di dalam tube-nya, sehingga mengakibatkan eksperimen yang tak sempurna. Meskipun begitu, kalau teman-teman melihat hasil akhir dari eksperimen ini di gambar paling tengah dan paling besar, ada beberapa bands yang terbentuk, terutama di tube kedua dari kiri dan kedua dari kanan, di mana ada beberapa garis yang tampak.

Tidak berhenti di Liesegang, ada banyak hal yang membuatku tercengang sendiri. Sesuatu yang tak kusangka, 16-year-old-Titan could do.

screenshot-39
Error analysis?
screenshot-40
Rangkuman untuk ujian oral Indonesian self-taught.
screenshot-41
Salah satu diagram untuk Mathematics Internal Assessment.

Satu hal yang jelas: aku merasa beruntung sekali sempat bersekolah di UWC sebelum akhirnya kuliah di sini. Kalau tidak, mungkin aku akan keteteran di tahun pertama (dan kalau tidak sekolah di UWC dahulu, kemungkinan besar aku tidak akan bisa kuliah di sini).

Selain menemukan files lama soal eksperimen kelas Kimia, Fisika, proof panjang soal bilangan imajiner di kelas Matematika, dan juga ringkasan singkat buku Sitti Nurbaya atau Der Besuch der alten Dame, aku juga menemukan rekaman singkat suara teman-temanku, yang aku lupa untuk apa. Ekstensi file-nya adalah .wav dan aku benar-benar lupa rekaman itu untuk apa.

Tidak lupa, a big chunk of the files is actually college-application related. Ada banyak essay yang tidak jadi dikirimkan ke universitas yang kudaftar karena berbagai hal. Salah satunya adalah berikut ini.

I threw away the lettering sheet and the 2 cm x 2 cm pertinax to trash bin. When I looked at the corner of my desk, the permanent marker was still there. I took and let it be together with its companions. When I walked outside the room, I saw my technical drawing of lamp dimmer circuits on the bed. I grabbed it, rumpled it, and pitched it away as well.

A big question mark looked like had stamped on Mr. Radiks Patria’s face in the next day.

“Where is your pertinax?” asked him.

“I could not draw the circuit on the pertinax. I tried with the lettering sheet and the permanent marker, but every time I put it in the ferric chloride solution, my drawing was always washed away,” told me snappily.

“Let me help you. Do you have your technical drawing?”

I paused, swallowed, and slowly said, “I already threw it away.”

He smiled while he was taking his bag and searching something, “I already marked your drawing. So, let’s use my drawing, draw it on the new pertinax, and get your lamp dimmer done.”

Apathetically and half-heartedly, I followed his words. He made a small instruction on blue post-it note, “Do not put the pertinax more than 5 minutes in ferric chloride solution!”

I drew the circuit quickly because I got used to it. After preparing the solution, I put the plate inside. Counting down nervously, I shook the container of warm solution and the plate softly.

“5, 4, 3, 2, 1..,” I took the pertinax using tweezers. I washed it with cold water, and got rid the lettering sheet and marker. Surprisingly, the drawing did not fade away. I jumped around, went to my teacher, and thanked him.

“Now, drill, and solder your components to it,” told him shortly.

I did it faster than before, faster than my friends who had their PCBs ready before me. Using soldering iron, I made a hole in a plastic ware to put the lamp base and fuse. I bite the cable sheath, and connect the PCB to the lamp base. In the last step, I screwed the lamp, and gave it to my teacher as the first student who was done.

He took a note and a red pen to grade my work. “Let’s go to the electrical socket.” I plugged in the cord, and slowly turned on the lamp dimmer with a big hope.

The lamp was still off. Nothing changed.

I was disappointed, but my teacher told me, “Let me check what the problem is.”

He took an Avometer, and checked it. After one minute, he said calmly, “I know the exact problem. Give me your soldering iron and some tin.”

He took one of the diodes off and explained how I switched its legs. Then, he started to put a new diode and solder it. But, he was not careful and got his long sleeve a burnt hole. He did not care and kept working.

“This is your lamp dimmer and your first work in electronics subject. Congratulations!”

I cannot forget his smile until now. He teaches me not only discipline, patience, but also not to be a quitter. The feeling after my first work was unbelievable. I would like to participate more in contributing small aspects of human’s lives.

Sebuah cerita yang memberi efek fuzzy warm di dalam hatimu, bukan? Pak Radiks memang salah satu pahlawanku saat SMP. Karena beliau, aku tidak gemetaran lagi saat menyolder PCB, sebuah skill which comes in handy these days, when I have to repair parts of the tools I am using in the lab.

Ada juga cerita lainnya.

Experiencing earthquake at least twice a month is something normal for Indonesians because our territory is the meeting point of tectonic plates. After Tsunami 2004 in Aceh, I assumed that there would be no more destructive earthquakes. Because we have the highest number of Muslims in the world, everything happened is always connected to God’s willing. “God was angry at the people in Tanah Rencong (Aceh), that is why he shook that land with His Hand,” told my brain.

It was May 27th 2006, when I left after three hours of school because it was Saturday. My friends and I jumped around happily because weekend finally coming. I smiled and knew what I would do.

A ten minutes walk from my middle school, there was a small library where I always borrowed some Japanese comics (manga) and novels. I knew the librarian very well, because we always talked about the new released books. When I approached him to have a small talk, he was looking at something else.

The television was turned on; breaking news about an earthquake was delivered. I almost ignored it then I heard what the news anchor said.

“Big earthquake of 6.2 Richter scale in Bantul, Yogyakarta, has made the natural disaster mitigation agency announce the possibility of tsunami.”

My life paused there. Rapid sequence of images during Eid ul-Fitr in my grandfather’s house popped out in my mind. The coop that my grandfather built by his own hands, the unique laughter and smile that my grandmother had, the hide and seek game that I did with my cousins in the garden that was full with banana trees,… and thousand more memories struck me suddenly.

I rushed to go back to my house. When I stepped off the bus, the television’s volume was loud enough to be heard. I saw my mother crying hysterically. Her face was red, as well as her eyes. My father was sitting down calmly, trying to hold his tears, which I had never seen before.

I never questioned God before. I always prayed five times a day and fasted during Ramadan, but at that time, I just did not understand why it should be my family and me who experienced this. After one year of the tragedy, I still felt like that, until I finally had a chance to go there.

My grandfather invited me to sit with him in the porch of his damaged house in the afternoon, with two cups of black tea. He breathed deeply and said, “I do not blame God for giving this lindu (earthquake). I forgot to show my gratefulness to Him, and He tried to remind me. That is why I wanted to tell you: do not wait until He reminds you using His own hands. Be grateful by doing your best every time you can to show your thankfulness not only to God, but also to your parents.”

He passed away exactly one week after the day he talked to me. Sadness was dominating my life for few days, but his words are still remaining in my heart until now. “I am doing this to show my gratitude to You and my parents,” has become a small prayer before I start to do something for the rest of my life.

Hal ini juga merupakan kisah nyata yang kuhadapi beberapa tahun lalu, saat kakekku meninggal. Umur beliau memang sudah tua saat itu, tetapi tetap saja, rasa sedihnya tetap terasa hingga saat ini, ketika mudik lebaran, tanpa keberadaan beliau di kursi, menerima keluarga besar, sanak saudara, dan tetangga.

Jadi, apa ritual akhir tahunmu? Mungkin sudah saatnya menata kembali files lama yang terpinggirkan sekian lama. Mungkin ada kejutan menarik siap menantimu.

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