Reflection: Cowan says…

Pre-camp reflections

Read the introduction, objectives and theoretical background to the project and then answer the following questions:
  •      What interests you about this project?
  • I'm interested in what angle the ball rolls best and how to extract caffeine from beverages and how it looks like.
  •       What do you want to learn by doing this project?
  • I want to learn how to extract caffeine in beverages.
  •       What questions do you have about this project?
  • I am not sure how to extract caffeine and… <Continue from here>
  •      What do you personally want to have achieved by the end of this project?

Reflections on Plenary Sessions

For each plenary session, consolidate your learning by answering the following questions:
  •     What are your key learning points?

Plenary Sessions (Day 1)

  1. My Key Learning Points From Each Session.

  1.   Plenary session by Prof Kerry Sieh.
Our region: South-East Asia, resides at an extremely earthquake prone area. Many lives are at risk. However, it is possible to estimate when and where the earthquakes might strike. 
By analyzing layers of soil, or dead corrals, we can see layers of sediments brought into the earth through tsunamis, or in the case of corrals, the regions where they have died out in large By carbon-dating these soil samples, we can find out when the tsunamis, which are triggered by earthquakes, have struck.
After a series of analysis, research concluded that earthquakes in these region occur in sets of two. After all, the past hundred years always had an earthquake striking after another, followed by a long period of silence.
As we know there has been a recent earthquake, it is highly probable that another earthquake would follow. Thus, the scientists would then be able to predict and evacuate the people affected by such a thing, saving many lives.

       ii.  Plenary session by Prof Seah Hock Soon

Math has a very important aspect to play in animations, to increase how realistic it may be or create special effects. For example, calculus is used to create shadows and light, while the laws of physics have to be applied to motion of objects.
There are 2D and 3D animation and one stop. However, 2D is extremely labor intensive, of lower quality, and harder to incorporate special effects, 3D, is less expensive, easier, higher quality, and easy to make special effects. But, it requires specific equipment to carry out.

        iii.Plenary session by Prof Ma Jan

Nanotechnology is one of the many fields of science. Others include; biotechnology, electronic technology and defense technology. Nanotechnology, however, is the design, fabrication and application of nano (very small) materials.
Nanotechnology is perhaps a whole new frontier of science that humans have begun to breach. Soon, we would be able to manipulate the properties of atomic particles through electronic atomization, make our own elements, who knows what else? We can make nano machines that can detect and destroy tumors from weeks of formation.
Nanotechnology has indeed made interesting progress. We are beginning to manufacture mesoporous materials, high dielectric materials. Hydrothermal engineering, or making of ceramics and carbon fibers are too recent developments.
  •      What new questions do you have about the topic?

a) Could we ever stop earthquakes, or completely resist them? Is it possible that with advanced enough predictions and technology would we be able to predict earthquakes accurately?

b) Can nanotechnology banish the curse of mortality? If it becomes advanced enough to target whatever diseased cells or repair damaged ones, can we human beings live forever? On a second note, would nanotechnology be ever abused to build new weapons of mass destruction? Like a new element that is even more destructive than plutonium or uranium?


Reflections on Applied Project Challenge: Your Accomplishments
  • Discuss how the project has deepened your understanding and broadened your awareness of the selected discipline.
  During the caffeine extraction procedures, I have learnt much more, and understood the reason of all those safety procedures that are implemented during experiments. (wearing lab coats, gloves, goggles, the glass screen). This procedures are very important especially when boiling or experimenting with volatile substances. They are equally important when experimenting with toxic materials.

  • What do you now understand about this discipline that you were unaware of at the beginning?

  There is something called supercritical fluid. This is fluid, for example, supercritical carbon dioxide, that is a substance at a temperature and pressure above its critical point, where the boundaries between liquid and gas disappear. It behaves like gas where it can diffuse into liquids, while behaving like a liquid where it can be a solvent to dissolve other materials.

  I also learnt that oil does not necessarily make things faster. Though it would reduce friction, it is an adhesive, and sticks to the object, reducing it's speed if there is no mechanical thrust. 
  • Describe how what you have learned from doing this project can be connected to what you are learning at school.
  When I carry out experiments in school, I would be better prepared and more accustomed to procedures. I too would be more familar with different scienticfic equipment now since I have experimented with them. By knowing more about safety procedures and potential hazards, I can look out for fellow students safety and inform them if there is an imminent danger.
  • Describe how you can apply what you have learned from doing this project.
  Like I mentioned in the earlier question I would be able to help others, and be more familiar with using such equipment. On a side note, the knowledge of being able to calculate the factors and speed of the ball would also help me with my physics.
  •  At the end of the project, what new questions do you now have?
  i) Can molecular gastronomy go to the extent of us humans being able to manufacture synthetic food, to resolve the imminent global crisis and widespread famine.
 ii) Can the implementation of nanotechnology in every single aspect of our lives, combined with manipulation of other organisms plus molecular gastronomy enable us humans to 'leave nature behind' and progress to such a stage that we're completely independent of our organs and planet?
iii) If oil slows down the ball, what about the other 'things' that were supposedly cause it speed up, like water or flour or ball bearings?

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