Reflection: Chelsea

Pre-camp reflections

3A: Fastest Ball Challenge

1. What Interests You About This Project?
The moment my eyes connected with the words "ball challenge", my fullest attention was already directed at the task at hand. Although it wasn't what I expected it to be, the project quickly drew my interest when I saw that we would be focusing on the laws of conservation of energy. There is a lot of mathematics involved for calculation reasons and therefore, I reasoned that this would become a good opportunity for me to optimize whatever limited knowledge I had on this particular area of mathematics and subsequently broaden my horizons so as to become more knowledgable about the subject.

2. What Do You Want To Learn By Doing This Project?
I personally have a fear of the 'G' force one experiences when he/she drops or falls from the sky. I came to the conclusion that I would probably be able to find concise solutions to the variables/factors that will ultimately aid in the speed at which the conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy occurs, therefore giving me a reliable assurance as to how I can be able to reduce the forces acting on me if I ever attempt to ride a roller coaster in the near future.

3. What Questions Do You Have About This Project?
I'd like to know if what I learn can really be applied to real life situations and if possible, exactly how so?

4. What Do You Personally Want To Have Achieved At The End of This Project?
Naturally, I'd like to make sure that my doubts have been cleared and my questions answered. It would be nice if I were to be able to fully understand the concepts behind the project and be able to apply them to other experiments with ease.

3B: Extraction of Caffeine for Beverages

1. What Interests You About This Project?
Caffeine is really something that we students require, what with our hectic schedules that require us to wake up in the wee hours of the morning even when we're only going to bed at around midnight or later. It must be a misconception on my part but from my understanding, caffeine is the most prominent in coffee which unfortunately does not suit my tastes, but the knowledge that there are alternatives that I may rely on has me on my tippy toes.

2. What Do You Want To Learn By Doing This Project?
I'd like to be able to identify the components in caffeine that keeps people awake. Since we are extracting caffeine, I'd like to know how since  the chemical compounds are surely bound together either physically or chemically.

3. What Questions Do You Have About This Project?
Why are we extracting caffeine?

4. What Do You Personally Want To Have Achieved At The End of This Project?
I want to be able to identify the techniques required to extract caffeine from beverages as well as the detailed process of doing so. The concepts behind each technique is important to be able to understand the procedures itself.

Reflections on Plenary Sessions

A: My key learning points from each session... 

Earthquake Research On The Coral Reefs of Sumatra by Professor Kerry Sieh
From this talk, the topic of stratigraphy and sedimentology was introduced to me. Both terms refer to the study of the collected layers of soil to determine the age of past tsunamis that may have occurred on that particular piece of land. Measurements are taken with the aid of scientific equipment such as GPS stations which have been planted on higher ground. Since maintaining such apparels is expensive, scientists look towards ancient coral reefs to establish a pattern and make forecasts about the next possible strike. 
Due to uplift and subsidence, we are able to identify which parts of the megathrust has been raptured to produce earthquakes and tsunamis of great magnitude. The forecasts made were based on physics (hydrodynamics) and engineering of the effects of the coming tsunami. 

The Use of IT In The World of Animation by Professor Seah Hock Soon
From this talk, we defined animation as an optical illusion of motion. One form of animation  is ‘stop motion’ where a story is being told through a series of frames. After we established a solid foundation in terms of the understanding of the term animation itself, we moved on to differentiate two different forms of specific animations - 2D and 3D. 
2D animation is hand-drawn whereas 3D animation involves motion capture. In this process, a series of steps occur to create the final product, which is the film itself. Although animation seems to involve a lot of technology, mathematics is also very applicable in this particular study. Geometric Modeling involved the use of geometry, calculus and the laws of physics to create the special effects we see so often in various movies and films. 
IT does in fact play a part in solving the many problems our society faces today. Innovations have been created to counter such problems. One example would be CACANi, a software created by NTU to develop the drawing and animation system and to redefine 2D. 

Innovative Breakthroughs In Nano-Sciences and Nano-Technology by Professor Ma Jan
From this talk, I got to understand the nature of nano-materials and the ways which it is being utilized. The basic principle of nano-particles is as follows: smaller size for fixed volume = larger surface area. The advancement of technology through nano-materials can be seen in the manifestation of equipment and apparels coated in a layer of nano-particles which act as a protective layer. From surgeries to defence mechanisms, nano-materials can be found everywhere. Forensics also benefit from such research, with finger prints allowing for easy identification in systems. Nano-bio-technology has also created artificial photosynthesis. 

B: New Questions...

How does each individual study tie down with what we can apply in our daily lives? - Does it have a direct impact on our individual lives or our lives as part of a bigger society?

Reflections on Applied Project Challenge: Your Accomplishments
  • Discuss how the project has deepened your understanding and broadened your awareness of the selected discipline.
    • For physics, I was able to correct my stereotypical means of thinking. For example, with the findings that oil can not only act as a lubricant but also a hinderance to a moving object, I was able to stop myself from subconsciously creating assumptions when conducting my experiments. 
    • For Chemistry, I was able to open my eyes to the endless possibilities of accomplishing a task and I also managed to get a taste of chemistry - understanding DNA structures and the compounds that affect said structure.
  • What do you now understand about this discipline that you were unaware of at the beginning?
    • For Physics, I have come to the understanding that mathematics plays an important role in this discipline. For me, I pictured physics to encompass the study of movement and the forces that may affect it, either negatively or positively.  
    • For Chemistry, I realized that it not only revolved around countless of meaningless experiments but also integrated the understanding of the reactions between each chemical compounds - that behind each reaction, lies a complicated reasoning that I not yet come to fully comprehend. Molecular Gastronomy, a type of scientific cooking can also be classified as a branch of chemistry; and I was lucky enough to be exposed to it.   
  • Describe how what you have learned from doing this project can be connected to what you are learning at school.
    • For Physics, I learnt how to use photogates, which will no doubt be used in my school experiments. 
    • For Chemistry, when I finally take up that subject I would have a head start since I have already been exposed in that area. 
  • Describe how you can apply what you have learned from doing this project.
    • For Physics, I can now understand energy conversions behind the movement of the ball.
    • For Chemistry, I am able to decipher the hidden principles behind each step/procedure by simply observing the reactions between chemical compounds.
  •  At the end of the project, what new questions do you now have?
    • For Physics, I would like to know if the chemical structures of compounds affect the movement it generates. 
    • For Chemistry, I would like to know if the mutation of DNA structures ties in with evolution.  

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