27th December 2013 - SAYES End-of-Year Gathering 2013
February Monthly Gathering (13 Feb 2015) - Chen Xinyi
On 13 Feb, SAYES held its February Monthly Gathering to celebrate Chinese New Year. It was my very first time attending a SAYES event and it was a heartwarming session for me, as I finally had some people around me to celebrate Chinese New Year together since I was away from home.
The stations were set up after I reached science centre and still many had not reached. I took the chance to chat with other SAYES members and got to know their backgrounds. I found it amazing that people from different walks of life could actually gather here due to their common interests in science. While waiting, SAYES members have talked to each other and known each other better.
Finally the party commenced. We started with station games. First we played with a game of chapteh, introduced by Kenrick, our vice president. We really enjoyed the games a lot and burst into laughter intermittently. Delicious food came next. We tossed Lo Hei to celebrate lunar new year and filled our stomach with Macdonald fries and pizzas of different flavours.
Apart from having fun during the gathering, we also attended a talk to assist in our learning. We learned about the birth and death of stars, and grasped the basic idea of what it is like deep in the universe. After that, we proceeded to the observatory for a star gazing session. Luckily, the sky was clear and we could see constellations of Orion and Major Canis. Most excitingly, we spotted three moons surrounding Jupiter, a planet in the solar system.
Singapore's Largest Rube Goldberg Machine (74 Steps) - Cai Xin Rui, Wong Hui Yi, Marion Pang
“The journey of building the machine is definitely an enriching one. As I got more involved in this project, I realised it is not that simple as I initially
thought of. The most challenging part of this project is about the accuracy and precision. One minor mistake would result in a failed attempt. To
overcome this, we did a lot of trying and careful adjustments. Through the project, I have learned how to use different tools such as a drill and meet
many like-minded peers. Though we face many challenges, we struggled through and felt a sense of achievement when we succeed. This project was
indeed a great experience to me.”
-Cai Xin Rui
“Building the Rube Goldberg machine was fun and interesting to me, and is also why I joined this project. We had an enjoyable time making the Rube
Goldberg machine with the SUTD students. Teamwork was very important because this project needed coordination in almost all areas. What I have
gained from this project was to think creatively when stuck, as nothing is absolute, and your mind can see things in different perspectives. Hence, let
us be creative and knock down the obstacles ahead!”
-Wong Hui Yi
“The Rube Goldberg project was the first long-term SAYES project that I have participated in since I joined SAYES. As I didn’t have much prior
experience planning or building sequential steps, this project was an eye-opener for me in this area. Due to the collaboration with SUTD,
we got to interact with both SUTD students and other SAYES members to solve and brainstorm for any problems that were faced. Overall, the project
was a good and intriguing experience for me.”
Istana Art Event - Rachel
SAYES members and volunteers entered the Istana grounds early on a Saturday morning, passing through the security check before walking to the large field where white tentage had already gone up in preparation for the Istana Art Event 2014. On this day, the 2nd of August, not only would the Istana be open to the public, but various organizations such as the National Museum of Singapore and the Malay Heritage Centre would also run crafts and activities for young visitors.
Science Centre Singapore set up a booth which featured three different crafts that melded science and art together, incorporating weaving and folding techniques as well as electrical circuitry. For example, traditional weaving, such as that used in making ketupat, formed the body of a fish that had a glowing light inside, evoking bioluminescent fish found in the ocean. Materials for the fish craft, a ribbon rangoli craft, and a coconut leaf grasshopper were laid out on three tables.
The many booths formed an L-shape around a central area where a scattering of small tables and chairs awaited the first participants. As the people arrived, they explored the various activities, which included paper doll colouring, toy fishing, and more. Children played on the grass, kicking chapteh and rolling hoops. Many children tried out the crafts at the Science Centre booth, but parents and elderly folk also came by. At my table, volunteers guided participants through the steps of the fish craft: weaving the fish body from shiny blue and silver ribbons, gluing and trimming the fins, sticking on the eyes, and adding the circuitry to make the fish glow. Despite my training session, and the fact that the fish was supposedly the easiest of the three, I failed several times and had to hand over the task to a more adept friend. Later on, though, after a “remedial session,” we figured out the problem and I managed to successfully teach some participants.
The volunteers took turns to have breaks. When mine came around, I toured the grounds for a while with a friend. Enormous red balloons, emblazoned with the words “SG 50,” dotted the grass, occasionally getting uprooted or floating away. Beneath a large white canopy, performers played popular songs like Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” and Disney Frozen’s “Let it Go.” Just outside the Istana building, which was also open to visitors for a fee, a water feature sat in the middle of a neatly groomed lawn. Tourists and locals took advantage of the open house to enjoy the expansive grounds, with their beautiful landscaping and lush greenery.
A high point of the day was when the President himself and his wife arrived to take a look at the event. As he progressed to the Science Centre booth, a crowd of people followed, surrounding the booth and toting phones and cameras. Miss Wong from Science Centre who had designed the activities presented the President with one of the grasshoppers, demonstrating how the motor against the glass mimicked the sound made by a real grasshopper.
I had opted for the half-day slot, so I and my brother left after walking about a little more. On the way out, we saw the snaking queue to enter the Istana--which, by volunteering, we had been privileged to bypass!
P.S. Check out the photos under 'Snapshots'!
Code Xtreme Apps 2014 - Kenrick Koh
Blog Entry for Hackathon:
“Wow! That’s so cool. But I think you are going to die, Kenrick.” Were the first words I heard one of my friend say when I told her I was joining a hackathon. For those that don’t know what a hackathon is, a hackathon is a portmanteau (new word that I just learnt existed, please Google for clarification) of the words hack, and marathon, [not Megatron.]
To clear up some of your doubts, hack in this reference does not mean to gain illegal access to. It simply means programming. And in contrast to popular belief, a hackathon does not involve running 42km while carrying a laptop.
Now what exactly is a hackathon? It is a programming competition for an extended period of time, usually 24 hours. The pre-requisite for joining a hackathon is
1)Your mum allows you to stay up late,
2)You are not allergic to Red Bull Energy Drinks.
So Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the Information Technology Standards Committee (ITSC) hosted a hackathon called code::XtremeApps. The system used for this competition was either Raspberry Pi, or Arduino. Their theme for the competition was Smart Living, which was pretty broad and we saw many innovative solutions to different spectrums of problems. The organizers were incredible, they even gave out free cup noodles. Any organizer that understands their participant’s true need for cup noodles deserve a pat on the back.
As I was saying, my two friends, Rahul and Bernard, formed a team named RBK (taken from the initials of our three names, because, we are so creative), and joined the hackathon to expose ourselves a new experience, and totally not because the prize money was $3,000. We chose to use Raspberry Pi for our competition, as the name sounded cuter than Arduino.
In any team, there are roles. Shown below is a table (because everyone loves tables) with our role description, and how we function as a team.
As you can see, our roles were strategically decided to maximise our fullest potential.
The above statement contains absolutely no sarcasm at all!
The Solution: Convenience for Events
On a more serious note, instead of going through the process and experience first, I will talk about our solution first. Our solution was relatively simple, given the time constraint. Here is the write-up for our solution, called RBKbot
“Our project, RBKbot, brings convenience in events to the next level by integrating Twitter mainly into the registration/ticketing process, and managing databases for event organizers, with a simple yet customizable Raspberry Pi. Designed to be portable and fast, organizers simply need to plug RBKbot into a power source and let it work. This provides a natural and easy way for participants and organizers alike to use without any set up of apps or substantial troubleshooting.”
Of course, all these words don’t really demonstrate anything. Here is an elaboration:
How it works
Event Participant: There is an event going on, perhaps a programming seminar called Learn Programming. RBKbot, the event bot that you follow, tweets and tells you about the event details, and the hashtag for the event, called #LearnProg. To register, you simply tweet #LearnProg, and RBKbot private messages you a link to the QR code you need to show in order to gain entry. Your friends see your hashtags, and joins in the fun too. On the day itself, you go down, show your QR code to the guy at the gantry/door who scans it with a Raspberry Pi, he welcomes you and lets you enter. Later at the end of the seminar, RBKbot messages you to fill up a survey, which you can do at your own time.
Event Organizer: You need to organize an event, perhaps a programming seminar called Learn Programming. Instead of hiring others conduct registration, or design registration websites and print/collate feedback forms, you outsource your registration and feedback process to a company called RBK, who provides you with an RBKbot. You select a hashtag to use, #LearnProg. RBKbot tweets the event, and all its followers register for your event using tweet. A database of registered participants with their twitter user ID is immediately generated real-time for your purview. During your event, you validate all users with just RBKbot at the gantry/door. After the event, RBKbot compiles your feedback forms completed online by users and sends you the result.
Why use Twitter? The beauty of Twitter is that it is one of the simplest social media platform to use, and even work with. Twitter is super simple, and requires a one-liner input from the user only, making it convenient. We chose to use Twitter also because as a social media platform, and in the case especially for events, trending keywords that is common to a group of friends spreads easily to other groups of friends. This is important for events as people want to know whether their friends are also going, and Twitter invokes that necessary publicity for the event organizers.
Organizing events is a hassle. What we did was to provide convenience and customizability to the organizers. The QR code is just a simple method to register for free seminars, so it can be customized to be a link for ticketing, or for more official events, a link for registration, connected to the Raspberry Pi RBKbot, which does the compiles the database for the organizer. The organizer can customize it to have it conduct a poll before the start of the event (e.g. For the Learn Programming seminar, survey the participants’ programming experience level. Also, because RBKbot is reprogrammable, it can be used many times, for different events.
Process and Experience
As a participating team in the hackathon, we were the hallmark of inefficiency. Below is the rough timeline (from 2pm to 6pm next day) of what actually happened in the hackathon. Yay, more tables!
Experience and Takeaways
Well overall, it was fun, but super tiring! We didn’t win $3000 or anything, but surprisingly got into finals! We saw a lot of ingenious products at the finals, which were definitely more deserving of the prize.
Here are some suggestions if you ever want to participate:
1.Bring Red Bull.
2.Bring a jacket.
3.Prepare and familiarise beforehand.
4.Do take group breaks! Most of our inspiration and renewal of ideas came from group breaks, where we just sit around, eat junk food and talk about how to approach/tackle the problems we faced.
5.Truly believe that your product is great! That will inspire you to work hard during the hackathon to create a nice prototype of your product.
6.You do not have to complete the product, just a simple prototype.
That’s about it! If you are ever considering doing computer science or engineering, you should join a hackathon for the exposure!
This blogpost was written with the assumption that the reader has internet connection, to Google the word ‘portmanteau’.
The reaps of Show-and-Tell @ Scientist for a Day
Bryan Sow Miaoxuan
Show-and-Tell @ Scientist for a Day is not an ordinary show-and-tell session. To those who participate actively in it, it means a lot more.
This activity requires you to explain scientific phenomena using props and apparatus from the DemoLab of the National University of Singapore. SAYES collaborates with the Young Educators of Science (YES) to demonstrate scientific concepts with these props and apparatus.
Explaining scientific concepts that you understand is a vital tool in the scientific industry, called scientific communication. Show-and-Tell @ Scientist for a Day is a really good platform for members to practice this skill. Scientific communication is the ability to relate the scientific concept to others in the scientific arena. If the people you communicate to can understand what you are trying to relate, you are successful in making them understand the scientific concept. Many specialists in the field of science make use of scientific communication to relate the concept they were trying to portray all the time.
Scientific communication is not as easy as one might think. In my experiences of participating in Show-and-Tell @ Scientist for a Day, I have encountered explaining to many different people, varying in age, level of study, nationalities and even languages.
There was once I had to explain the concept of polarisation to a five-year old boy. The boy could not understand the terms I used while explaining to an adult that came before him, so I tried using analogies. I remembered using an analogy of a door allowing light waves to be able to only go in one direction to explain polarisation. Thanks to the analogy, he understood the concept quite well.
There was also once when a group of students from Taiwan came to our Show-and-Tell, so I used Chinese to explain the scientific concepts.
Through explaining these scientific phenomena, you will understand a scientific concept even better. Being able to explain a scientific concept shows that you understanding for the scientific concept are high. The better you are able to explain, the better you understand the concept. There was once when I was introduced to the concept of Brewster’s angle, which I really did not understand. Coincidentally there was an apparatus to demonstrate this phenomenon and slowly but surely, I understood Brewster’s angle a lot better.
One of the main things that really probe me into whether I really understand the concept is when the people I explain the concept to ask questions. There was one family that asked a posed a question on air pressure to me. I explained the concept wrongly, and was later corrected. It is from these mistakes that make me understand the concept better. You will remember the mistakes and remember the concept better. As Einstein said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
Lastly, through Show-and-Tell@ Scientist for a day, I meet more people around my age with common interests and socialise more.
Show-and-Tell@ Scientist for a day is overall a very beneficial activity to me. I would definitely recommend this activity to the other SAYES members to try out. Those who do will reap the benefits of Show-and-Tell@ Scientist for a day.
January MG - 25/1/2014
Close to 20 SAYES members turned up for the first MG in our Clubhouse on the 25th of January 2014. A mashup of our MG as well as CNY celebrations, we got to firstly brainstorm together for the record we planned on setting up, following which we have almost everyone's fingerprints forming a 福“倒”, which is an inverted "Blessing" to symbolise the arrival of happiness and good fortune on all of us! (It is exclusively on display in the Clubhouse)
And yes, afterwhich was lunch, and everyone got to bond better by munching on Macs and Subway. It is really heartwarming to see all the old and young members alike gathering together, talking and chatting about stuffs like Pre-U, Army, Uni choices and all, and in that short lunch break the whole Clubhouse was filled with laughters here and there.
After which, at about 1pm we all headed to the CRADLE lab where we attended Dr Wulf's workshop on the Diffusion Cloud Chamber, and we got to see Dr Wulf's kid too (who is really cute!)! But that aside, the workshop was a truly enriching one, learning about Wilson's inventions regarding the formation of clouds, and perhaps some gamma, alpha and beta rays involved when we all got a chance to make our own Cloud Chamber. Our member from the pioneer batch, Bradford, headed to the University of Cambridge was found going round all the workstations and giving explanations to us all about the phenomenons sighted and the concepts involved. The hard yet funny portion was when everyone was trying to not let air bubbles enter when pasting on adhesive foils and black plastics. And following which, we got to play with liquid Nitrogen! It worked just like dry ice, and the liquid was so cold that when droplets drop on us we can feel the chill instantly. When we poured the liquid onto the table, (it) didn't stay just like how water behaves, but instead spread out in all different directions, seemingly desperate to scramble off the worktable. S-O-C-O-O-L. This part got everyone really really interested, (perhaps even those who are not-that-into-physics). CHECK OUT THE PHOTOS UNDER 'SNAPSHOTS'.
At about 3 plus, we wrapped up our workshop and headed back to our Clubhouse, where the highlight began - the LOUHEI :) It was so funny as we had no plate big enough to mix everything together, and so we decided to stack up plates which failed so we kinda gave up. It was such a mess, but the whole process was just humourous :D
So yup, that concluded our first ever MG for the year, and we gotta say it was a blast. Many thanks to those who came down and made this happen, and here's wishing for better and fun-ner MGs ahead!
Title. Double click me.
POSTS BY OUR EXCLUSIVE SAYES MEMBERS
SAYES EOY GATHERING 2013 - FACIL KENRICK KOH
Process of Planning:
The planning process was a great learning experience. Here are the things I learnt:
1. The Science Centre has a shadow exhibition.
2. Daiso is a great place to buy all your logistics. Except the metal whistle that I was blowing for the Capture the Flag game. That whistle tasted weird.
3. Li Hao is a very talented arts and craft guy, and should be volunteered for future projects that require arts and craft.
4. My 3 year old SAYES clubhouse card still works, and is a potential security breach.
During the EOY gathering, it was rewarding to see the members all enjoy the icebreakers and the games! As facilitator for team 3, even though we didn’t get first, it was awesome to see you guys try your best for all games, especially the teamwork you all put in for the Capture the Flag game!
SAYES EOY GATHERING 2013 - FACIL PEI YING
From the perspective of a Planner – Feedback and Reflections
By: Lim Pei Ying
The annual SAYES Year End Gathering brings members of the club together to spend a fun-filled day with one another, and look back at the events for the year. Planned and ran by SAYES members themselves, along with our friendly Science Centre advisors, and a special featuring by Sir Don Blive Mee, the event last year took members through an amusing time travel treasure hunt in Science Centre. Missed the event? Catch up on the gathering and some behind the scenes in this entry!
As one of the five student organisers for the event last year, it was an interesting and fun experience planning the activities for the club. Our diverse team comprised of one 18 year old fresh from her A Levels – Jie Ying, one young gentleman who had just completed his national service - Kenrick, two Victoria Junior College students fresh from their O Levels – Li Hao and Chin Yi, and me, a then Year 3 NUS High student. What happens when you put this unique bunch of kids together? A really busy team with many intriguing ideas and lots of efficiency!
Weeks before the event, a few meetings were held. With the busy schedules of every member, what better way to keep track of our discussions then recording them online, through Google Drive! In one of the meetings, Kenrick, Jie Ying, Kiat Teng and I sat in a fast food restaurant and brainstormed over dinner. A slew of initial ideas were thrown on the table, which we wanted centred on the idea of Running Man (a popular Korean variety show). Just like the year before, we also decided that a storyline was needed to link the activities up for the day. Among the many ideas, two key elements were chosen, time travel and treasure hunting. With that, we wrapped out the session feeling contented on our way homes into the night.
Believe it or not, much of the event planning was completed only the afternoon before the gathering itself. Nevertheless, with an amazing teamwork, the impossible was made possible. From preparing the souvenirs to finalising the games, we had to finish all that before the day ended. With the clarification of the overall flow of events for the day, we split ourselves into two teams: Jie Ying, Kenrick and Li Hao planning the individual station games; Chin Yi and I connecting them up with the storyline. While the other team finalised the scoring system and rules of the game, Chin Yi and I kept our creative juices flowing as we churned up the storyline in detail and wrecked our brains making our riddles hopefully rhyme.
D-day arrived. Starting off with the ice-breakers, it was hilarious seeing how the members created a story with Romance, Comedy and Horror Science-Fiction in it. Here’s the story:
“Once upon a time in a technologically advanced galaxy far far away, there lived an evil tyrant who was unfortunately tiny. He was eyeing a big giant girl who was beautiful but was actually an alien girl who had an army of aliens ready to attack and take over the Kingdom. One day she picked him up with her fingers and the tyrant proposed, and the giant agreed just because she wanted his money. They had a big party and all the guests were aliens while the tyrant had no family members except himself, and the aliens looked very very creepy. All the guests were aliens in the army and they were armed with giant chicken drumsticks as their weapons. The aliens tried to stop the marriage so the giant alien who found out about this used her drumstick to pierce this other alien. However, the drumsticks came alive as chickens and flew back to earth. The tyrant who saw the alien who was going to murder another changed his mind about the marriage. The chicken which flew away flew into a nuclear power plant in the technologically advanced country. Out of the radioactive sludge rainbow unicorns flew out and started a family. Two rainbow unicorns Romeo and Juliet decided they would have a candlelight dinner. Romeo pushed the candle and burned the table. From the flames roasted chickens came out... the end.”
Next, in order to travel back in time to find the lost maps to the treasure, teams had to earn as much time as possible at the station games, where they were led by their facilitators Jie Ying, Kenrick and Li Hao, to 3 different stations around Science Centre. It was unfortunate that one of the teams did not manage to use the typhoon chamber as planned. The members were quizzed on their knowledge of Science Centre as they solved the riddles to the next station, and amazed us with their wittiness at the games. What’s a treasure hunt without pirates too? Teams had to also watch out for Chin Yi and I who acted as quite unthreatening pirates, who could either deduct their point if they were caught, or help them earn points if they ‘camwhored’ with us! Check out the photos!
Initially starting outdoors, the capture the flag game was shifted back into the Newton Room due to the rain a few minutes after the game started. It was pretty chaotic, with people’s strings (which were their ‘lifelines’) kept falling off their arms as they struggled to keep them on whilst pulling others’ off. Lunch came next and the club looked back at past events of the year, along with an award ceremony and the introduction of the new Executive Committee of SAYES for 2014.
After filling our stomachs with much savoury pizza, the members had a visit to the Titans of the Past Exhibit, not without a twist of course! After viewing the exhibit, teams were caught off guard as they were quizzed on it. This was where their time earned in the morning was put to use. I’m sure going in and out of the exhibit a few times helped them to take something away from the exhibit!
If you were wondering where your facilitators Li Hao and Kenrick were during lunch, the two of them along with me, were down at the exhibition creating questions to quiz you for that particular game. We too had our fair share of walking through the exhibition many times, counting the number of moving models, wall lights etc. Yet the teams took use of cameras to capture everything at once so that they wouldn’t have to end up walking through the whole exhibit again and again.
‘Why did my son cross the road?’ Could you guess the location from that hint? The last final chase to the treasures saw teams racing against time as they competed to see who would reach back to base first, and be the master of the treasure! The winning team went home with Kinokuniya vouchers!
After a day of fun activities and games, the members went home pretty tired and after some good exercise whilst making new friends, which is a testament to the enjoyment they had at the gathering! As an organising member, it was a truly satisfying to see the fun our participants had.
Nevertheless, there will always be room for improvements. Much of the final product was very much different from the initial plans. This year end gathering was more physically demanding then previous year’s, and much less requiring of the usage of your brain. We also had feedback to improve the capture the flag game. To the future planning team for the next gathering, you may also want to consider making it bigger and better with improved props!
I particularly liked the morning session better than the afternoon’s. The idea of having the pirates was entertaining as we saw groups getting shocked when they run into an unfriendly pirate, while the ‘camwhoring’ was a good opportunity to capture some memorable pictures of the gathering itself. Seeing how the participants themselves could complete the station games much better than us organisers also prompts us to make the next gathering more challenging!
Most importantly, I made new friendships, strengthened old ones, and had a whale of a time with my fellow organisers as we planned the event together. More than simply having fun at the event, we kept in touch with one another even after it ended. The experience is simply sweet and enjoyable, and I encourage more to step up and pour in your cool ideas for future similar events! I’m looking forward to the next gathering and towards more interesting concepts. Perhaps we could film our very own running man game in the future!
If you missed this year’s gathering, don’t forget to join us next year!
September Research Exposure Programme (8-10 Sep 2015) - Hui Min
The Research Exposure Programme was a very interesting experience for us.
After getting to know one another, we visited the Biopolis Shared Facilities and I was intrigued by the fact that they have created a supermarket for the scientific community. Instead of food on shelves, there are things like beakers and samples!
We were also separated into different groups and visited different places such as the Bioinformatics Institute (BII). The researchers gave a presentation on the process of a research and we were given the opportunity to visit a lab. We were so fascinated by the equipment and apparatus that we all started to wish we could just go for the lab instead.
FusionWorld showcased innovations by A*STAR's research institute. Different sections showcasing different inventions for different purposes as well as watching our group mates go through a Chicken Run Mind Game with pure concentration.
For the main part of the programme, we divided into our tracks and there I was, sitting in the CRADLE lab and listening to a whole bunch of stuff about light and bending light. We learnt about spectroscopy and went around science centre pointing our pocket spectroscope at different light sources leaving many people confused as we walk past. We also got to use Scanning Electron Microscope to look at different things including our group mates' hair.
Lunch talks from Dr Wu Yan and Dr Yue Wan from the Institute of Infocomm Research (I2R) and the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIScover stories of their journey through PhD and their research work, giving us a different perspectives of research.
On top of that we had a forum with the A*STAR scholars to know more about the A*STAR scholarship, about research as well as how it was like to study abroad.
Last but not least, the BBQ. Food is the best.
Oh, and Robert Bunsen (Bunsen burner), is actually pronounced as boon-sen because its German.
X-periment! (10-12 Jul 2015) - Jaslyn Chen
Overall, my experience at X-Periment 2015 held at VivoCity is yet another fun and fulfilling one. This time, we engaged members of the public at our SAYES booth in making chromatography roses with the use of everyday items - water soluble markers, water and paper. Through this activity, we were able to demonstrate the concept of paper chromatography to them in a fun and exciting way. Firstly, participants were given a small piece of paper which they had the choice of choosing the colours and the design that they would like to decorate it with. Subsequently, with the addition of just a few drops of water and voila, the ink could be observed to be spreading out in all directions and if one take a closer look, he or she would actually see different colours of ink spreading out at different speeds or even separating into different colour components. One such example is that after we added a few drops of water to a paper coloured with black ink, colours such as purple and blue could be seen in the spreading ink. The pattern brought out by the spreading of ink was really interesting and also pretty nice. After observing the above, we also helped them in folding the paper into a rose.
It was an enriching experience to be able to interact with the public and communicate with them about science. Through small talks and little conversations with them, especially small children who were attracted to our booth, I have learnt that many of them actually has a developed interest in science, with some of them even having dreams of pursuing a career in science when they grow up. It feels really good to know that they have such interests in mind and there are also boundless platforms such as X-Periment and other science fairs each year that are available for the interested to visit and try their hands on at different experiments at different booths. These platforms are also important as they serve to deepen their interest and grow their understanding not just in science itself but broaden their perspectives about the world.
Even though throughout this whole experience, it may be tiring at times but it's all worth the time and effort when we see the smiling faces of people who came to our booth. Last but definitely not the least, I am very happy and glad to be able to help out in this year's X-Periment as a facilitator, to communicate science with the public and inspire their interest in science.
Maker Faire (10-12 Jul 2015) - Dylan Chang
For Maker Faire 2015 my team tried our hands with a HHO burner, using some online references we've made a simple prototype using plastic containers and some stainless steel plates.
Furthermore, the making of the prototype taught me about the importance of teamwork and also to accept certain failures where we can then improve on. There were numerous setbacks in the making of the HHO burner, through these setbacks are we able to sort out the minor problems in our project. Therefore we were able to learn from our mistakes and create a HHO burner that truly works.
The idea of using HHO is to improve the efficiency of the car engine's petrol combustion and its welding capability. As HHO can be generated on demand it's a safer way to transport it compared to the more flammable welding gases.
I had a very pleasant experience at maker faire 2015, the community was very friendly and supportive of each other. On many occasions we were approached by people who had experience with HHO and gave us tips on improving on our design.
I find maker faire to be very meaningful as not only does it provide an opportunity for makers to exhibit their creation but it also bonds to community together whilst celebrating the act of making.
It inspires the maker in people and this enables the advancement in technologies and new application to existing tech.
Overall I've had a great time at maker faire, as not only did I learn on how to improve the HHO design. I've also met a few makers who have been working on HHO, and I can contact them in the future if I needed help on improving the project. Maker faire is not only a place to inspire the creativity in each and everyone of us but also a place where like-minded people can work together to build a better world.
June Mid-Year Gathering (19-20 Jun 2015) - Pui Min
Life brings us many first-time experiences. I’m both honoured and grateful to say that SAYES represents two of them. This year marked my first time as both a participants and organizer.
Heroes and Villains is the theme for this year’s SAYES Mid-Year Gathering. It’s interesting to know members of SAYES actually thought they were chosen as a Villain due to their appearances; in fact, we threw a coin to decide Heroes or Villains. I am a Villains’ faction leader as well as a part of the organizing committee.
I recalled this interesting question which was raised by our President, Jie Ying “Do you enjoy participating or organizing the event?” This got me thinking. I enjoyed both because they brought me different kind of fun and experiences. As a participant, the gathering serves as a bonding session for me to make friends with SAYES members who are fromcompletely different backgrounds, different school, different age, and different experiences. As an organizer, I interacted more with SAYES members who are part of the organizing committee as we communicated frequently in preparation for the gathering. We shared our experiences of organizing other events and exchanged valuable ideas to synthesize new ideas for the gathering.
Is there conflict of goals being both a participant and an organiser? Certainly, as I was busy preparing logistics, I could not physically be with my team to participate in the games that we had planned for them. However, I will still try my best to stir them on as a faction leader against the Heroes.
The highlight of the gathering is definitely the Datacore War at night. This is when I have come close to experiencing “A Night in the Museum” but of course this was “A Night in the Science Centre”. Not many people have the opportunity to stay in the Science Centre after closing hours, I considered us a privileged group. Almost all lights are switched off at night and the silence was eerie. All screens turned blank, all exhibition turned dark and Mr. Einstein who was busy climbing a rope for the whole day turned motionless in mid-air. Here were we running around in the science centre, attacking the opponent’s base and venturing into dark corners to collect light sticks for bonus points despite knowing that boogeymen are hiding in those dark corners. Clearly, they understood the concept of “high risk high rewards”.
After a tiring war game, we planned to have a movie marathon. We turned Newton Room into a mini cinema. However, after the first movie that is “Interstellar” (a must-watch movie in a science camp) that lasted longer than 3 hours, everyone was drained and decided to close for the day. The movie night was a special experience for me. It felt like home, where everyone was seated comfortably in silence, enjoying a mind-opening movie which no one objected watching. I remembered my friend once told me, “some movies you need to watch twice to understand it.” This holds true for Interstellar. Given that this was my second time watching it, I really did understand it better. It also sparked a discussion betweenFatin, who watched it for the first time, and I in the morning. She was puzzled like I was, watching it for the first time.
Besides interesting games that are related to science, like building water rockets, making google cardboards and archery, we learnt to bake scones. We used really simple ingredients like flour, baking powder and butter but it smelled and tasted good, although it might not be as good as those sold outside. Now I can bake it at home!
Among all logistics preparation, I enjoyed “May Pole” the most. Basically, we got a broom stick and started to tangle 6 nylon strings around the stick. We passed our strings around and we tried to make the entanglement as difficult as possible. Participants of the game were to untangle them with each holding on to one string without letting it go. It was great joy tangling the strings and more delightful watching the participants working as a team and enjoying their time.
Although my mock exam was coming in a week’s time, I am glad I came for the gathering and made full use of my time here. It was definitely an enlightening experience that left good memories for reminiscence. Lastly, I would like to thank Science Centre for providing venues for activities; our mentors, Ling Ling and KiatTeng for being very supportive of the ideas that we have come up with; the organizing committee for putting this together and participants who have taken out time to attend this camp. Till we meet again!
Snapshots of SAYES June Camp:
Chemistry in the Kitchen - Making Own Scones!
Datacore War at night - Heroes vs. Villians
Untangling the May Pole
Launching of Water Rockets!
SAYES member leading the Ice Breakers' Activities
At Biopolis Shared Facilities
SAYES member attempting to make a chromatography rose
SAYES member sharing on HHO burner to members of the public
SAYES members at the Maker Faire's booth
2015 SAYES MYG's Theme: Heroes vs Villians
SAYES members engaged in a game of chapteh
It's time to Lo Hei!
Internship Experience (5 Oct 2015) - Isaac Khoo
A sky full of stars is a very rare sight in Singapore. However, during my internship with the help of SAYES, I had the chance to observe a sky full of stars with a telescope at the Science Centre Singapore Observatory. Being an avid amateur astronomer, I have loved looking at the stars since very young. Finally I had the chance to experience being atrueastronomerduring my short stint as an intern at the Science Centre Singapore.
When I first signed up to be an intern, I did not know what to expect. I walked into the hexagonal staff complex of the science centre on the 4th level. I was introduced to Li Fei, who is in charge of all the space astronomy related matters. I was briefed about what we were to do for the next few days, but it was a very dynamic schedule.
In a bid to highlight the importance and significance of the Observatory, I was asked to digitalise old films of significant events at the Observatory. I was honoured to have played a part in this. Using a camera, I took pictures of over 100 films. It was a rudimentary but necessary method to digitalise the films.
Following that, I went to the main observatory where I was taught the basic operation of the various equipment. Li Fei kindly explained to me briefly how each procedure was critical for the telescope to operate, for example locking on the position of the stars to counter the rotation of the earth.
The telescope was humungous and truly an amazing sight. It was awesome learning how to operate the dome, move the gigantic telescope to the desired mark, storing it etc.
I also learnt how to put on the solar filter on the sub-scope and carefully view the sun in the afternoon. The next day I was told to explain some principles of phases and sundials to people walking along Fibonacci steps outside Science Centre. I met quite a few people and with an aid of the telescope and filter let visitors view the sun and take activities sheets home. It was truly an eye-opening experience for me as I got to talk and explain concepts to people. Following that at night I got to use the telescope. I took some pictures of the sun while it was setting and attempted to take pictures of various stars. I managed to take a quick picture of Saturn before it was obstructed by various clouds and other weather elements.
I realised that using the big telescope at night was especially tricky as clouds were completely unpredictable. Also the moment the star crosses the dome, you had to move the dome which added another layer of complexity. The stars, given the haze and clouds, were hard to spot and there was a time when it was down to only one visible star visible. This was especially tricky when maneuvering the telescope around.When it was low, you needed a stool to climb up. When it was high, you had to bend down.
On the last day, I met kindergarten teachers and taught them about the hydrogen filter and solarprominence or flares on the sun (the particles ejecting from the surface of the sun). They were really fascinated and I helped them take some pictures with their phone through the telescope. I operated the telescope and set up the filter for the teachers to have a look at both of them. Following that I brought the smaller scope to the entrance of Science Centre covered walkway and explained the same thing to interested visitors.
All in all, I truly enjoyed my few days at Science Centre learning and sharing my passion for science. Thank you SAYES and Science Centre for such a great opportunity!
Talk on "My Memorable Fossil Hunting Trips" by (14 Nov 2015) - Lan Xuan
The talk by Dr Li Chia-Wei, “My Memorable Fossil Hunting Trips”, which was held at Science Centre Singapore on 14 Nov was indeed a memorable and extremely information one. We were brought through Dr Li's memory lane, all the way from where he started with his interest in fossils and life sciences to what he has found and accomplished now. As a young kid, I was very interested in fossils and the beginning of life as well. It was such an honour to get to hear from one who has dug fossils to tell us about how the fossils dug allows them to have a peek into time and into the evolution of life. It was also a very humorous talk when Dr Li told us about all the different people he met on the various expeditions while fossil hunting, as well as the different cultural experience he had. In total, it was a very enlightening talk and I learned a lot from Dr Li.