Member: Lucas Chia

 Reflections for day 1
My key learning points from the plenary session “Importance of Water - Dirty and Clean” is that most places in the world do not have access to clean drinking water. In fact, 1.1 billion people have no access to proper water, another 2.4 billion have no adequate sanitation, 3.4 million people die from waterborne diseases each year and 2 billion people are at risk of such diseases.
Examples of diseases that can be contracted after consumption of unclean water are Cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery and brainerd diarrhea. However, the professor also told us that although microbes are the cause of such diseases, some microbes can also help to purify water.
In addition to that, I also learned some interesting facts such as people in the past having the technology for sewage management, whether it was chamber pots or flush toilets.
Another interesting fact is that Singapore is the only country in the world where the whole area is used for water catchment. This is to maximize the water we can collect as we only have a very small land area.

My key learning points from the plenary session “Revolution of Microelectronics Technology” by Prof Yeo Kiat Seng is that Asia is becoming the focal point for electronic companies, resulting in the supply chain moving to the region and since Singapore is in the heart of Asia, we have to take advantage of this.
In addition to that, I also learned that microchips makes all our electronic devices, such as the Xbox Kinect and our cellphones, work, without them, they would be nothing but cheap plastic.
The professor also included some interesting facts in his talk. For example, the first computer was invented in 1936 and was enormous and used vacuum tubes to work. The first computer with transistors was built in 1956 and replaced the computers that ran on vacuum tubes. Another interesting fact is that IBM was the first company to launch the computer in the market.
Electronics can help us in any ways from creating entertainment systems such as television and gaming consoles to improving medicine, such as replacing risky surgeries that have to be done by a skilled surgeon with a machine that can complete the same surgery with less risks.
Finally, I learned that electronics and biology are actually converging on the nanoscale, teaming together to create things such as implants that can monitor the glucose level in the patient’s blood.

My key learning points from the plenary session “Innovative breakthroughs in Nano-Science and Nano-Technology” by Prof Ma Jan is that there are three different types of technology. Nano Technology, Bio Technology and Defense Technology.
The goal of Nano Technology is to decrease the size of an object to increase the power output of that object. For example, the making of synthetic materials that are stronger, lighter to replace existing materials.
Bio Technology is used to improve the health of people using Nano-Technology. For example, the use of a bio adhesive to fit in an artificial hip joint.
Defense technology is used to improve both the offensive and defensive capabilities of soldiers in the battlefield, increasing their overall battlefield effectiveness and survivability. For example, the changing of the old army uniform from patches of green and brown to try and match the surrounding colour of the jungle to a pixilated pattern. This pattern will trick enemies who are far away into thinking that the soldier that they are staring that is not actually there.
There are also many other ways to use Nano-Technology, such as to filter water, create coloured contact lenses and built solar cells.

My key learning points from the plenary session “IT for Animation” by Prof Seah Hock Soon is that animation is an optical illusion of motion created by a consecutive display of 2 or more different still images.
He also taught us that there are many types of animation, from the 2D stop motion, 3D animation and motion capture animation. Examples of movies created by each of these animating methods are “The Lion King”, which was drawn in 2D stop motion, “Toy Story”, which was created in 3D animation and “Avatar”, which used motion capture animation to create the humanoid creatures in it.
Another thing that I learned during this talk is that mathematics is needed for animation. Maths is used for geometric modeling in 3D movies and physics is used to make the movement of water, fire or people realistic.
Finally, we learned about the process of animation, which starts with the scripting, storyboard, character designs, sound, reference frame drawing, intermediate frame drawing, painting, composition and shooting and the final print.
My key learning points from the plenary session “Disappearing glaciers, rising sea levels, and why gravity is even more important than you think” by Prof Emma Hill is that sea-level rise will not be the same everywhere. This is due to self-attraction and loading caused by melting glaciers. Since Gravity is the pulling force between two objects, the large glaciers in the Arctic and Greenland will have a pulling force on the water in the sea, pulling it close to land, making the sea-level near the glaciers higher. This effect is similar to the pulling force that the Earth’s Moon has on the sea-tides.
When the glaciers melt, the water in the ocean will increase in addition to the mass of the glacier decreasing. This will make the gravitational pull that the glaciers exert on the water lower causing water levels near the glaciers to decrease. This will result in the excess water dispersing towards the tropics, causing the rise in sea level there.
The professor also told us the various methods on how scientists measure the mass of a glacier. One method was to send an expedition team to a glacier and have them plant a device there that will measure the mass of glacier over time, however, such expeditions can be dangerous as the expedition members may fall through thin ice or get frostbite from the extreme cold.
Another method is to use The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), a satellite which measures gravity and lets people know how water moves around Earth. This allows scientists to keep track of the effects of global warming without risking their lives.
Finally, the professor told us why this is such a problem for Singapore. If we allow the glaciers to melt, sea levels in Singapore may rise by as much as 25% which may cause flooding of our island. Therefore, it is important to protect the environment to prevent such a fate from happening.

The plenary session that leaves the deepest impression on me is the talk on the “Importance of Water-Dirty and Clean” by Prof Ng Wun Jern. What I like about it is how interesting the professor made the talk. He added in some funny jokes throughout his talk and made the subject of waste treatment fun by talking about his past experiences and how his job will benefit others. He also talked about how he got his job which was interesting too. In addition to that, the professor also told us about his projects and those he took part in in his past, which made me interested in his job as he managed to help people who are in need of clean drinking water. Finally, I find his job in Environment and Water Research a rather unique and interesting one as it combines my love of biology and helping people into one amazing job.

Reflections for day 3
I chose this project because I found the testing of materials and use of the electron microscope to be interesting.
My main role in the group was the cameraman.
The challenges we encountered were that we did not really plan who would take what role in the team, therefore we had to decide that on the spot.  I believe we could have settled our tasks faster if we had done that.
Through this project, I discovered that all of our roles within the group are important as they allow for the task to be completed much easier and in time.
I have benefited from this program as I have learned why material science is important in our everyday lives and how scientists study materials and make new ones so that they can improve the quality of life for everyone.
My aspirations are to find out more about material science but I am not sure if I would want a career in that field as interesting as it is.