Reflections: Plenary Sessions
“Importance of water — Dirty and Clean” by Prof Ng Wun Jern, Executive Director, Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI)
The talk has widened my knowledge about the types of problems and solutions regarding the problem of dirty and contaminated water. Prof Ng was very enthusiastic in his speech, and made the talk a lot easier to understand for us. Before the talk, I was already aware that there are many waterborne diseases, but had never really thought about making any solutions for the problems.
The talk also made me realise the seriousness of the situation. A lot of the world’s people are still facing the problem of not having access to clean drinking water sources, and many deaths per year are caused by harmful bacteria and microbes contaminating water sources. The fact that 3.4 million die each year from waterborne diseases and that a much more significant number of 2 billion are at risk to water-related bacterial diseases is astounding and eye-opening. It is indeed a call to us, to tell us that there is an urgent need to develop technology for dealing with the problem. There are a lot of opportunities in this field, and many possibilities for researchers to explore.
“Revolution of Microelectronics Technology” by Prof Yeo Kiat Seng, School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Head of Division of Circuits & System
This talk has made me realise that however advanced our current technology may be, there will always be a need to continue improving and finding a better way to communicate, work and play through technology, be it with faster speed of a computer or the difference that a single microchip can make to the system of a computer.
It was unexpected that we got to learn about the history of computers and how they were invented. It taught me that no matter how new the technology and no matter how advanced it may be, there are always roots which triggered the start of the further development for that particular type of technology.
It was also interesting to learn about the “9 O’s”, namely Bio, Radio, Auto (automobile industry), Info, Nano, Water=Hydro=H₂O, Audio, Video, Energy=M.C²=M.C^two, where all the ending letters are “O” and the beginning of the words make up the word “brainwave”.
“Innovation breakthroughs in Nano-Science and Nano-Technology” by Prof Ma Jan, Chair, School of Materials Science & Engineering
Through this talk, I realised that nano-technology is a very useful field in the future should we decide to pursue a career in electronic engineering. Nano-technology is very interesting, in the sense that it adds extra features to objects which would otherwise not be able to have those features, such as adding extraordinary strength to a light material.
All this probably revolves around the theory that smaller size for a fixed volume means a larger surface areas, leading to more energy available for use. This has led to breakthroughs in several fields, such as nano-tech, bio-tech, and defence-tech. In defence-tech, it has been used to modify current army uniforms to make them “invisible” to the eye from afar, because the pixelated design is matched to the size of the human iris and thus blends in with the environment, and even so it is being further researched so better uniforms can be made. Some planes have a nano-coating, and this strengthens the material and making it better-suited for enemy attacks.
“IT for Animation” by Prof Seah Hock Soon, School of Computer Engineering, Division of Computing Systems
Before the talk, I had a misconception that 3D-animation was more expensive compared to 2D-animation, mostly because of the technology and the amount of time and work needed to complete a project, and that 3-D animation was becoming more common due to consumers’ demands. However, after the talk, I realised that 3-D animation is actually more cost-effective, as it is less labour-intensive. I also learnt that it is not only about the standard of animation, but more importantly, it is about the story that the animation tells. Without a good storyline, the animation will not be as highly valued or regarded.
There are many ways to produce an animation, through using stop-motion, or with the help of several softwares. Even animation requires Mathematics, in that it requires calculation for special effects generation.
The main thing I learnt from the plenary session was that everybody can be an inventor. We should take the first step and start something big, then perfect it later.
“Disappearing glaciers, rising sea levels, and why gravity is even more important than you think” by Asst Prof Emma Hill, School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences, Division of Earth Sciences
Most people know that global warming affects the level of sea water, but many do not know that the rise in sea level varies in different countries, and that the countries nearer to the melting glacier actually faces a drop in sea level.
I also learnt that the sea level is not uniform and flat throughout, and even changes as the Earth goes through weather changes throughout the year, such as the monsoon season and drought seasons. The data that “GRACE” displays is useful and fascinating, as it shows very clearly the several weather patterns that affect the Earth. As it uses different colours to differentiate between the different states of change happening around the world at different times. It makes studying the Earth more visual and simpler to understand.
Overall, the talks were very interesting, engaging and very informative. They portray each subject in more detail and have increased my understanding of the various topics. Through the talks, I have understood that in order to do well in a field, there must be great interest and understanding of it, and that it takes a lot of effort and patience.
(B) Deepest impression!
The plenary session that leaves the deepest impression on me is “Disappearing glaciers, rising sea levels, and why gravity is even more important than you think” by Asst Prof Emma Hill, School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences, Division of Earth Sciences. What I like about it is that it explains how and why the sea level rise in each of the countries is different, and that it is easy to understand yet sends out a message that protecting the Earth is really very important.
(II) My Personal Reflection [Day 3 - complete this section]
1. I choose this project because distillation is a very important process in most companies, and I want to find out about how it works, and its difference compared to a small-scale distillation equipment found in Science labs in school.
2. My role in the group is to record the data that comes out from gas chromatography. It has helped me to understand the importance of knowing why I do my job and why it is important that I do it.
3. Challenges I/we encounter when working on this project in the last 2 days are getting the tasks done on time and quickly and we overcame these challenges by being patient as we did our work and trying our best to do things accurately.
4. Through this project, I/we discovered that distillation works effectively only when certain factors are in place, and that in order to reap accurate and stable results, a lot of patience is needed and impatience does not solve anything.
5. As an individual, I have benefited from this programme as I have learnt about how distillation works on a large scale, as well as what is required in order to get the results and the best product possible.