Reflection: Jie Yi

Pre-camp reflections

Project 3A

1) What interests you about this project? 
This project relates greatly to physics, which is like mathematics (my favorite subject). So all these calculations might be useful to me in the near future when I want to calculate formulas and other things. It will also bring up my understanding on how different types of formulas come about. 

2) What do you want to learn by doing this project?
Generally, I hope to learn how the machines work their mechanism. Different machines work differently, but in the end, they all rely on the energy that is used to power it up. So from this project, I can learn how to play around with the conversation of energy theory to work a machine.

3) What questions do you have about this project?
Where can we apply all these formulas in future?

4) What do you personally want to achieve by the end of this project?
It is simple. I just want to learn new things in relation to engineering/mechanics so that I am able to do hands-on work or better calculations in the near future. 

Project 3B

1) What interests you about this project?
I've never bothered about what is in our drinks before, and when fell upon this title (extraction of caffeine from beverages), I started to think about what might be in our drinks. This project interests me because I will get to know more about what might be hidden in the drinks that we take in everyday.

2) What do you want to learn by doing this project?
I want to learn how to find out the different types of components that make a beverage. By doing so, I also hope to learn the right way to extract caffeine from the beverage. 

3) What questions do you have about this project?
How can we apply all these skills in our lives in future?
Why are we extracting caffeine and not something else?

4) What do you personally want to have achieved by the end of this project?
I hope this project will bring up my interest in Physics and Chemistry in the subject of science. I also hope to be better than others, who took up other projects, in this lab component, so that I can guide them if they need help in future. 

Reflections on Plenary Sessions

(A) My key learning points from each session...

1) Plenary session “Earthquake research on the coral reefs of Sumatra” by Prof Kerry Sieh
This session taught me more about Earth Science and how scientists does earth observatory. This talk is mainly on earthquakes. There are a few ways to predict when and where an earthquake is coming, or happened before. A few interesting things that I have learnt from this talk is the different ways to find out whether an earthquake have occurred before. First, we have to understand that the island will be dragged down before the earthquake because of the plate movements, then it will appear higher than before after the earthquake. We can make use of this information to observe things in the surroundings - the old and new high tide. Then we can measure the uplift of the piece of land (eg. corals) after an earthquake. We can predict the earthquake by using the GPS or looking a the pattern of the earthquake happening.

2) IT for Animation by Prof Seah Hock Soon
Animations are mainly used for Story Telling. Without a story, the animation will be useless. However, animations can also be used for comics, industry use, or competitions. There are a few types of animations - stop motion, 2D, 3D, etc. I’ve learnt that there are many stages that we need to go through to produce a perfect animation (much more than what we learnt in school). Those that we missed out are character building, sounds, coloring, and in-between frames. From this, I have learnt some basic things about 3D animation - geometric modeling (geometry, linear graphs), special effects (calculus, laws of physics), lighting example (ambient/diffuse/specular lighting) and motion capture (image processing, computer vision/graphics, robotics, data processing). I have also learnt that everyone can be an inventor; taking a small step to make a big difference. Keep the idea simple, and perfect it later.

3) Innovative breakthroughs in Nano-Science and Nano-Technology by Prof Ma Jan
Nano-technology can be used for many things like killing bacteria, cosmetic treatments, to be used in ponds for cleaner water, color contact lenses, finger printing, and many more. Unlike other particles, nano particles has to be smaller in size for a fixed volume so that they can have a larger surface area. An interesting take-away from this session is that the army uniform is designed pixelated so that they can camouflage better in the jungle, and that their uniform is made of nano-materials, coated with FGM for protection so that the uniform will be more effective during a war.

(B) New Questions...

Why study corals instead of something else?
Is it possible to learn how to create an animation ourselves?
Is it cheap to be sold to average people like us?

Reflections on Applied Project Challenge: Your Accomplishments

1) Discuss how the project has deepened your understanding and broadened your awareness of the selected discipline.
This project has taught me more about chemistry and physics. In physics, there is always a way to calculate the ‘correct answer’ for most experiments. However, during the real experiment, the results will always not be the same as the correct answer because in practical, there are many different factors that are affecting the experiment. For example, when we roll down the ball from the top to the bottom, the ball does not only 4 kinetic energy and potential energy, but it also possesses and gives out sound energy and rotational kinetic energy to its surroundings. In chemistry, I have learnt that experiments are not always simple and fun to carry out. Most of them are long and might be dangerous. Many accidents can also happen during the experiment and it is always important to stay alert to avoid making mistakes. For example, while doing using the pressure pump, we always have to look out for the meter that is showing us whether the pressure is within the acceptable range. If it goes out of range, something disastrous might happen. 

2) What do you now understand about this discipline that you were unaware of at the beginning?
I can understand from Physics that we cannot always make our own assumptions from what we think that will always be a definite outcome. We still have to put the theory into experiment to be sure of what we are doing. Example, we thought that the oil will help to increase the speed of the ball. However, we were wrong. The oil was sticky and therefore, the ball travelled at a lower speed. This contradicts to our assumptions, and so there is a need to do experiments to confirm details of what we think is right. In chemistry, we have learnt about the different bondings between molecules. This is very different from what we learnt in the classrooms. The NTU students gave us a more detailed talk about the bonding of molecules to test the purity of the caffeine that we extracted. She also gave us some short introduction of what we might be learning in chemistry in the oncoming years about what is alkane, alkene, alcohol, and carboxylic acid. She talked about the single and double bonds and the combinations that we might find in a molecule, then we can identify whether a substance is pure or not. 

3) Describe how what you have learned from doing this project can be connected to what you are learning at school.
In physics, we learnt more about the principal on conservation of energy, which is similar to what we learnt in school. In chemistry, we learnt about the different apparatus used are somehow similar to the ones used in school. Like the lie-big condenser and the rotary evaporator. Both of the apparatus are used to remove the solvent from the solute. 

4) Describe how you can apply what you have learned from doing this project.
This project have taught me that we can always make a representation of a table with many results easier to be seen when it is placed in a graph format. In future, when we are doing other activities, we can always plot our results into a graph so that it is easier to compare. It has also taught me hands-on way on how to carry-out an experiment on our own. Things like the proper way to handle the apparatus, measuring the chemicals used, controlling the use of machines, and other things. These skills can be applied in the chemistry lab when we are doing other projects in the near future. 

5) At the end of the project, what new questions do you now have?
Are we able to use a larger ball to carry out the experiment?
What happens if another type of lubricant oil (not the sunflower oil) is used?
Is caffeine harmful to our bodies if we take in too much of it?
Is there another way to remove caffeine?

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