(I) Plenary Sessions [Day 1]
(A) My key learning points from each session...
1. Importance of Water - Dirty and Clean
I have learnt that we should not take the clean water that we can get so easily for granted. Many other countries do not have this privilege. Statistics have shown that 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to drinking water resources. 2.4 billion people have inadequate sanitation facilities, 3.4 million people die each year from waterborne diseases while 2 billion people are at risk of waterborne diseases. These shocking statistics have indeed given us a reminder that we should treasure the precious resource that we have in Singapore and not waste this limited resource. In this 21st century, among the continents in the world, Asia is one of the continent that is growing, advancing and developing the fastest as compared to the other continents in the world. Therefore, as water is used for many things such as for domestic use and to cool the industrial machines, the quality of water is being compromised. Hence, there is a need to increase the need to protect the cleanliness of water so that everyone can enjoy the usage of portable water. There is also a need for green cities due to urbanisation to reduce the carbon footprints and rate of global warming with the high water and energy consumption. From this plenary session, I have learnt that we should expand beyond our country and not just make a difference for ourselves but also others in the world.
2. Revolution of Microelectronics Technology
I have learnt that the advancement in electronics have impacted and benefitted many people through the 9 “O”s of integrated circuits. These 9 “O”s of integrated circuits are namely: Bio, Radio, Auto, Info, Nano, Water/Hydro/H2O, Audio, Video and the formula of Energy. With the convergence of biology and electronics at the nanoscale seen in the modern era, there are many new inventions that have improved the lives of many and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of people from all walks of life.
3. Biomedical Engineering & Technology
I have learnt that nano-technology can benefit the society in many areas and it has a lot of potential in the market of tomorrow. With its small size, it can be as strong as a steel yet be a fraction of the weight of steel and have a large surface area. Many nano-technology related projects are very good and has a great impact on the lives of many. An example of such projects are the nano-technology in man made jewelries. Different impurities can give rise to different colours in minerals such as ruby and sapphire. Nano-technology have also been used to improve the design of the Singapore’s national service’s uniform for better protection against enemies. Apart from the usage of nano technology in the commercial and military aspect, it has also seen itself aiding in biotechnology regarding the emulsification of lens for cataract removal.
4. IT for Animation by Prof Seah Hock Soon
I learnt that making an animation film is very labour intensive and time-consuming. It differs from the production of 2D animations and those of 3D animations and mathematics is certainly needed for the production of the animation films. Although the process of making an animation is quite tedious, the reward of knowing that the animation film is very well received after it is published is definitely worth the work. From this plenary session, I have learnt that we should always dream of something big and believe that everyone can be an inventor.
5. Disappearing glaciers, rising sea levels, and why gravity is even more important than you think
I have learnt about the job of a space geodegist and how technology has helped in this field of study for the benefit of mankind. A space geodegist basically measures the shape and size of the earth, its gravity field and how these things change overtime with space-based techniques. Due to the advancement in technology, it has helped to benefit many lives and made many things easier such as to track the rise in sea levels around the world. A satellite called GRACE - gravity recovery and climate experiment have helped to measure the movement of the earth via its positions in space. When the glaciers is on top of a solid surface, the crust is depressed leading to the land being pushed down and causing sea level to rise. However, when the glaciers melt, the crust rebounds and cause the sea level to drop. Since it is only possible to measure a few glaciers from the ground, the job of a geodegist is rather challenging. Although this school is very new and have only recently started, I find that this field of study is pretty interesting and fascinating.
(B) Deepest impression...
The plenary session that leaves the deepest impression on me is the Importance of Water - Dirty and Clean delivered by Professor Ng Wun Jern, Executive Director, Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) because this plenary session have showed me the importance of clean water in our society and the effects of dirty water on us. It appears as a warning signal to all that If we do not ensure clean water, then many people will be harmed and may even die from the waterborne diseases. This is serious and if we do not help in the effort to ensure clean water, then no one will.
What I like about it is that I could feel that the Professor was very passionate about his lecture. The lecture was not boring and dry as he injected humour into the lecture. Therefore, I felt that the lecture was light-hearted and the content was sufficient and easy to understand. I have also learnt a lot from this plenary session, hence I felt that this was the lecture that left the deepest impression on me.
(II) My Personal Reflection [Day 3]
1. I chose this project because I was interested in caffeine extraction from beverages. Hence, I chose this project so that I could see how caffeine can be extracted from beverages and hopefully extract caffeine from beverages. I was also interested in how the angle of inclination of a ramp could affect the speed of the ball travelling on the track. I had hoped to see the applications of the information in the project manual in the experiment. Therefore, I chose this project as I wanted to find out how the information in the project manual for the fastest ball challenge would come into the picture. In addition, since I like to carry out experiments in the laboratory, I chose project three so that I could have a chance to do experiments in the laboratory.
2. My role in the group is to enable my teammates to learn as much as they can throughout the camp and to help them to do the best they can and gain many learning points from the project.
3. The challenges that I encountered when working on this project in the last two days were there were times when I could not understand what the professors and lecturers were saying, hence I overcame this problem by either clarifying my doubts with the professors or the teachers or surf the internet to research about the topic that I was unsure of. In addition, when I was doing the experiments for the project, one of the problem that I faced was I kept looking for the right answer when I did the experiments. I suppose this problem that I have is due to the fact that when I am told to do certain things, I have this perspective that there is a right answer to everything. However, the professors soon told us that the experiments conducted were for us to think out of the box as generally, many people would always have the mindset to look for the right solution to the problem. Hence, after this project, I have learnt to be more flexible and open minded and think out of the box when I am faced with a problem, and not be rigid in my thinking.
4. Through this project, we discovered that oil may not necessarily cause the ball to travel faster on the track for the fastest ball challenge. Also, we discovered that we should not assume anything before we perform the experiment and prove our assumptions via the results collected. We should always think out of the box too when we are faced with a problem and not have a rigid thinking. For the extraction of caffeine from beverages, we discovered that the lower the pressure, the lower the boiling point of a liquid. The pressure of the atmosphere is one bar and that means if the pressure of the surroundings is lower, the boiling point of a liquid would also be lower as compared to that in a pressure of one bar. We also discovered why calcium carbonate is used in the brewing of tea, why dichloromethane was denser than water and why anhydrous magnesium sulphate is used in the filtration of the caffeine from the separating funnel.
5. As an individual, I have benefitted from the programme by getting to experience what higher learning is like and for the past three days, I managed to experience briefly what it is like to study in a university. Also, I have benefitted by being able to spend time to bond with my friends and strengthen our friendship. Apart from that, I could make new friends as well. This programme has really helped me to gain more insights on the different field of study in the university and gain new knowledge from the projects and plenary sessions.
6. I wish that I could apply the knowledge that I have learnt from this camp into real life situations and benefit the world. I hope that more Secondary two students in the future can get to experience the same thing as us because I believe they will really benefit from it and learn many new and interesting learning points that they can takeaway with them.