Day 3 – ConocoPhillips Science Experience
On the third and final day, we began with two lectures. The first was from Associate Professor Joanna Jamie who is a bioorganic/medicinal chemist and the Deputy Head of the Department of Chemistry and Bimolecular Sciences at Macquarie University. She spoke about the legends behind plants as well as plant histories, toxins and their medical uses. Our second lecture was from Culum Brown, an expert in fish behaviour and specialises in cognition. I found this lecture especially interesting as it proved a lot of theories and myths (most of which I believed) to be incorrect.
After morning tea, we were introduced to 3D printing and design software. The activity combined engineering and technology with environmental principles. We worked in teams to create a structurally sound and appealing construction out of hexagonal pieces of cardboard and connecters. This was surprisingly challenging.
After a provided lunch, we all took part in “the egg drop”. Each group was given 20 straws, 1 metre of masking tape, a handful of elastic bands, 1 sheet of newspaper and obviously an egg. We had to make a structure and/or some form of protection to prevent our egg from breaking as we dropped it from increasing heights. We were given a few rules and then had 20 minutes to plan and construct our structure. We made a parachute to minimize the falling speed and made a basket of straws to provide extra protection as it hit the ground. Out of the nine groups, we won the “most appealing design award” and came =1st in the actual competition. Our egg survived the drop off the first story of the building (as did two other eggs) but none of the eggs were in one piece after the drop off the second story.
We then attended a chemistry magic show. This was one of my favourite activities of the course. A group of scientists performed all sorts of tricks including; writing with invisible ink, freezing flowers and chocolate biscuits with liquid nitrogen, making a 3 metre high liquid nitrogen fountain, blowing up gummy bears and making water glow. A scientist also lit a $20 note on fire and when the lights were turned back on, the $20 note looked completely normal.
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