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5 weeks to the Midwood Science Fair

Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2015 by for Science Fair.

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The Midwood Science Fair is only 5 weeks away. Right now as you read this the sophomore research students are diligently working on their projects, formulating hypotheses, and plotting the best way to gather and analyze data. The juniors and seniors are sharpening their metaphorical pencils as well as their literal questioning skills. The alumni judges are looking forward to seeing old friends at Midwood once again. The teachers are keeping their students focused. Everyone is coordinating their schedules to make sure they’re ready for Thursday, May 28, 2015.

2015 High School Physics Photo Contest

Posted on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 by for Extra Credit, Juniors, Seniors, Sophomores.

The High School Physics Photo Contest is looking for high school students who can explain physical principles through photography and writing. Photos may be entered in one of two categories and will be judged on the quality of the photo and the accuracy of the written explanation.

  • Natural photos are those that demonstrate physical concepts in everyday situations.
  • Contrived photos are those that are set up to show a particular physical concept or set of related concepts.
  • Photos with multiple images or other computer manipulation will be placed in a separate category.

I will be glad to give anyone advice on photographic composition or copy writing, but Dr. Riemersma will be supervising this competition for Midwood. The deadline for entries is Friday, May 15, 2015, but if you give Dr. R your photo for the first time on this day you will not be allowed to enter. There is a limit of 15 entries per school.

Please read the Student Rules before beginning. You may already have a photo in your archives that could be used for this competition. Look to the past winning entries for inspiration. This event is sponsored by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).

           
           
 
           
           

New Horizons mission to Pluto event

Posted on Monday, April 20, 2015 by for Extra Credit, Juniors, Seniors, Sophomores.

On Thursday, May 14, 2015, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) will host a program highlighting NASA’s New Horizons mission — the first-ever mission to the Pluto system and the Kuiper belt. This mission, which will have its closest approach to Pluto in July 2015, will help us understand ice worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of the planet Pluto and its moons, and by venturing deeper into the distant, mysterious Kuiper belt — a relic of solar system formation.

Students will have an opportunity to listen to AMNH’s Director of Astrovisualizations, Carter Emmart, New Horizons Deputy Project Scientist Cathy Olkin, New Horizons Co-Investigator Marc Buie and, Science Operations Team, Tiffany Finley present a dynamic and richly-illustrated overview of the mission and the men and women who make it possible, leaving time for interaction and one-on-one encounters.

This event is being coordinated by Mr. Spergel. He is taking everyone in his AP Physics 1 class, but he has room for a few more students. Contact Mr. Spergel directly if you are interested. This is a field trip, so paperwork needs to be done. The group will depart period 3 on Thursday, May 14, 2015. Extra credit will be awarded to research students who participate and complete the public lecture assignment for any one of the speakers.


Source: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

NOAA-CREST Weather Camp

Posted on Sunday, April 19, 2015 by for Juniors, Sophomores.

The CUNY-NOAA-CREST Weather Camp is a two week program for high school students from the New York City metropolitan area. It runs August 3–14, 2015 and is offered free of charge to 10–15 students. Applications are due Sunday, May 31.

The first week is a day camp on the campus of the City College of New York. Concepts of meteorology are demonstrated by hands-on activities whenever possible, and applied to weather observations both locally and around the country. Experts on such topics as severe storms and climate will speak and answer questions.

During the second week the camp moves to Long Island to be near the local National Weather Service (NWS) office at Brookhaven National Laboratories. Students will camp within walking distance of a beach on the north shore of Long Island, and will go to the NWS for in depth study of weather phenomena. There will be opportunities to go inside a radar dome and help launch weather balloons. Afternoons will be devoted to field observations of the sea breeze effect, urban heat island, surface environment, and clouds.

For people who like acronyms CUNY is the City University of New York, NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and CREST is the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Science and Technology.

World Science Festival needs volunteers

Posted on Thursday, April 16, 2015 by for Extra Credit, Juniors, Seniors.

The World Science Festival is an unprecedented tribute to imagination, ingenuity and inventiveness, taking science out of the laboratory and into the streets, theatres, museums, and public halls of New York City, making the esoteric understandable and the familiar fascinating. The Festival returns this year when hundreds of thousands will gather for a glorious five-day celebration of science, Wednesday, May 27 to Sunday, May 30. The 2015 Festival will feature more than fifty engaging events of all types, including mainstage programs, intimate salons, and youth and family offerings. It all culminates in the Ultimate Science Street Fair, an outdoor extravaganza taking over the area around Washington Square Park and New York University.

Volunteers are the ambassadors of the World Science Festival, serving as the face of the Festival to visitors, welcoming them and being a resource of information about the Festival and its programs. World Science Festival Volunteers support the many production teams that make the wheels of the Festival turn. They are the core upon which the Festival’s success is based.

Volunteers must…

  • Be enthusiastic and have a friendly outgoing personality.
  • Be comfortable working with people of all backgrounds, ages, and levels of familiarity with science.
  • Have great communication skills.
  • Have a passion for learning and sharing knowledge.
  • Be dedicated, commited, reliable and professional.
  • Be flexible and have a sense of humor.

The World Science Festival is a 5 day celebration, but Midwood Science students can volunteer as many days as they want to — with one exception. Thursday, May 28 is the 2015 Midwood High School Science Fair. Since this mandatory event ends sometime between 5:00 and 6:00 PM, it doesn’t leave much time to help out at the Festival on that day.

NYU Poly to hold STEMagination event in April

Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 by for Extra Credit, Juniors, Sophomores.

Polytechnic School of Engineering will be hosting a series of workshops for high school students as part of an all day event called STEMagination on Sunday, April 19, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Each workshop consists of different activities ranging from challenges to competitions. Activities will be fun and engaging, but you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to succeed. By the end of the day, the basic principles of engineering and science will be revealed to you — principles you might not know you already now. You will also be able to speak to admissions office personnel about NYU Poly or college in general.

STEMagination is organized by the NYU Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) in partnership with the White House Initiative for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). This event is open to high school students of all ethnicities. Interested students should register using this Eventbrite web page. Space is limited. Students that provide evidence of participation will receive extra credit.

11 Midwood students win NYCSEF Awards, Lucy Lin wins ISEF Award

Posted on Friday, March 27, 2015 by for Intel ISEF, NYCSEF.

Massive congratulations go out to Lucy Lin and the other 11 winners at the 2015 NYCSEF Award Ceremony today. Let me explain why.

NYCSEF is the New York City Science and Engineering Fair. It is the largest science fair in the New York metropolitan area and is sponsored by the City University of New York (the nation’s leading urban public university serving more than 480,000 students) and the New York City Department of Education (the largest school system in the US with more than 1.1 million students). NYCSEF begins in December when over 700 students apply. From this pool of applicants, the NYCSEF staff approved something like 460 projects. These students presented their projects to judges at the NYCSEF Preliminary Round on Sunday, March 1, 2015 at City College in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan. The top 141 projects were then selected to present at the NYCSEF Finals Round on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. At the end of all of this, 12 Midwood students received awards.

NYCSEF First Award and Intel ISEF Award

Lucy Lin received a First Place Award as well as an invitation to present at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania May 10–15, 2015. The last time a Midwood student attended an ISEF competition was back in 2008. Lucy worked under the supervision of Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College. Special thanks go out to Dr. Chen who has worked with so many Midwood students.

  • Lucy Lin (Earth & Environmental Sciences)
    Project: Degradation of TPH-Diesel in Soil through Mycoremediation.
    Mentor: Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College.

NYCSEF Second Award

  • Raymond Yu (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: The Effects of Sodium Pyrophosphate Tetrabasic on the Conductivity of V4+ Electrolyte for the Vanadium Redox Flow Battery.
    Mentors: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domenec Paterno, Department of Physics, Brooklyn College

NYCSEF Third Award

  • Monique Powell (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Kinematics of the Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) During Courtship Rituals.
    Mentors: Dr. Frank Grasso and Mr. Alfie Supan, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Tamneya Hauter (Behavioral & Social Sciences)
    Project: It Must Be True, I Saw It on TV: The Effect of Television on Adolescent Perceptions of Relationships.
  • Zainab Iqbal (Behavioral & Social Sciences)
    Project: PTSD Symptoms, Aggression, and Crime Exposure in a Sample of Young Adults.
    Mentor: Dr. Sara Chiara Haden, Department of Psychology, Long Island University
  • Emily Tse (Behavioral & Social Sciences)
    Project: Positive Influences on Academic Attitude and Self-Efficacy,
  • Hillary Syeda (Cellular & Molecular Biology)
    Project: Characterization of Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF) Production, Secretion, and Target Cells for LIF within the Cancer Stem Cell (CSC) Niche.
    Mentor: Dr. Christopher Lange, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • Sandra Lin (Chemistry)
    Project: Isolation of isomeric catechols 4-chloro-2-ethoxy-5-(triethlysilyl)-[1,1′-biphenyl]-3-ol and 5-chloro-2-ethoxy-4-(triethlysilyl)-[1,1′-biphenyl]-3-ol.
    Mentor: Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter, Long Island University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Michael Divgun (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: The Effect of Polyoxometalate Ion Replacement on Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries.
    Mentors: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domenec Paterno, Department of Physics, Brooklyn College

Sarah and Morris Wiesenthal Awards

This award is presented to students with outstanding projects that promote the objectives and mission of Environmental Quest; to bring awareness to the man-made and natural environment. Wiesenthal Award winners each received $100. Midwood Science students won nearly half of these awards. All four students worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Grasso in the Department of Psychology at Brooklyn College. Special thanks go out to Dr. Grasso who has worked with more Midwood students than any other mentor.

  • Yukie Wong (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Seasonal Variation in Group Size of Monk Parakeets.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Monique Powell (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Kinematics of the Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) During Courtship Rituals.
    Mentors: Dr. Frank Grasso and Mr. Alfie Supan, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Mohammed Hasan (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Interpreting Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) Behavior and Calls.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Meghan Ng (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Direction of Gaze and Monk Parakeet Vocalization.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College

CUNY Scholarship Awards

  • Michael Divgun also received a Hunter College Sage Scholarship, which recognizes exceptional academic achievement and potential. Sage Scholars receive substantial tuition awards for 4 years, preferred access to Hunter’s residential housing and housing aid, dedicated advisors, special workshops to facilitate success in college and invitation only events with inspirational faculty and community leaders.
  • Emily Tse and Raymond Yu also received a Hunter College Jenny Hunter Scholarship, which recognizes a high level of academic achievement and potential. Jenny Hunter scholars receive a $1,s000 tuition awards for 4 years, preferred access to Hunter’s residential housing and housing aid, dedicated advisors, special workshops to facilitate success in college and invitation only events with inspirational faculty and community leaders.

Additional Awards

  • Zainab Iqbal also received an American Psychological Association award for exceptional projects in psychology entered in the behavioral sciences category.
  • Lucy Lin also received an Association for Women Geoscientists award for exceptional projects submitted by a young female geoscientist.
  • Michael Divgun also received an Office of Naval Research, US Navy and Marine Corps award for an outstanding project submitted by an individual student.

9 Midwood students compete in 2015 NYCSEF Finals Round

Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 by for NYCSEF.

The New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) is the city’s largest high school research competition. More than 700 students from around the city submitted applications in 2015. The top 169 students were selected to advance to the Finals Round on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at the American Museum of Natural History. Midwood High School sent 9 students to this year’s competition under the big blue whale. Awards will be presented on Friday, March 27, 2015 in the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College from 3:00–5:00 PM.


Midwood’s 2015 NYCSEF Finalists, clockwise from bottom: Michael Divgun, Lucy Lin, Hillary Syeda, Zainab Iqbal, Tamneya Hauter, Monique Powell, Raymond Yu, Sandra Lin, Emily Tse

  • Michael Divgun (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: The Effect of Polyoxometalate Ion Replacement on Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries.
    Mentor: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domenec Paterno, Department of Physics, Brooklyn College
  • Tamneya Hauter (Behavioral & Social Sciences)
    Project: It Must Be True, I Saw It on TV: The Effect of Television on Adolescent Perceptions of Relationships.
  • Zainab Iqbal (Behavioral & Social Sciences)
    Project: PTSD Symptoms, Aggression, and Crime Exposure in a Sample of Young Adults.
    Mentor: Dr. Sara Chiara Haden, Department of Psychology, Long Island University
  • Lucy Lin (Earth & Environmental Sciences)
    Project: Degradation of TPH-Diesel in Soil through Mycoremediation.
    Mentor: Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College
  • Sandra Lin (Chemistry)
    Project: Isolation of isomeric catechols 4-chloro-2-ethoxy-5-(triethlysilyl)-[1,1′-biphenyl]-3-ol and 5-chloro-2-ethoxy-4-(triethlysilyl)-[1,1′-biphenyl]-3-ol.
    Mentor: Dr. Wayne F.K. Schnatter, Long Island University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Monique Powell (Animal Sciences)
    Project: Kinematics of the Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) During Courtship Rituals.
    Mentor: Dr. Frank Grasso and Mr. Alfie Supan, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College
  • Hillary Syeda (Cellular & Molecular Biology)
    Project: Characterization of Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF) Production, Secretion, and Target Cells for LIF within the Cancer Stem Cell (CSC) Niche.
    Mentor: Dr. Christopher Lange, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • Emily Tse (Behavioral & Social Sciences)
    Project: Positive Influences on Academic Attitude and Self-Efficacy,
  • Raymond Yu (Physics & Space Sciences)
    Project: The Effects of Sodium Pyrophosphate Tetrabasic on the Conductivity of V4+ Electrolyte for the Vanadium Redox Flow Battery.
    Mentor: Dr. Sophia Suarez and Mr. Domenec Paterno, Department of Physics, Brooklyn College


The big blue whale at the Millstein Hall of Ocean Life — site of the 2015 NYCSEF Finals Round.

Happy π Day!

Posted on Saturday, March 14, 2015 by for Everyone.

In the United States, dates are indicated using the number of the month followed by the day of the month and the number of the year. March 14th, 2015 then becomes 3/14/15. Compare this with the first five digits of the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle π = 3.1415. For extra fun, celebrate at 9:26:53 AM local time. The first ten digits of π are 3.141592653.

And remember — π are not squared, π are round, brownies are squared.

Ocean Science Team swamps competition

Posted on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 by for Miscellaneous.

Astonishingly, Midwood’s Ocean Science Team pulled off a fourth place finish at the city regional of the National Science Bowl at Hunter College High School on March 7.

The National Science Bowl is sponsored by the United States Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation in order to encourage science literacy.

"The sciences are fundamental to our understanding of the world and to progress as a whole," said programmer and impromptu coach Mr. Alan Stack. "This competition serves as a great way to get the youngest generation involved and interested."

The competition consisted of 22 teams from schools across the city such as Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech, Hunter, and, for the first time since 2005, Midwood. There wasn’t just one, but two hornet squads battling it out against top students from across the city.

"We’d never participated in a competition like this one, so we were just hoping for a better than last place finish," said A-Team Captain Helen Wong ’15.

Fortunately for the Ocean Science Team, the format wasn’t much different from the Bay Scallop Bowl in February because the competition was solely double elimination style.

"The question style wasn’t that different either," said B-Team Captain Joseph Parziale ’16. "Most of the material consisted of things we’d already learned in chem, bio, and physics in school or from ocean science."

The most nerve-racking moment of the competition was before it even started according to B-Team player Irla Belli ’16. "Everyone else was fervently studying last minute, and we were just there laughing and having fun," she said.

The first round was just a practice round and both teams won over their competition by at least a 20 point margin.

"That practice round was a major boost to our confidence," A-Team player Bart Rosenzweig ’16 recalled afterwards.

B-Team came close but lost the first two rounds early against Brooklyn Tech C-Team and Trinity School which cast some doubt on A-Team’s chances.

"We didn’t do great, but we got some well needed experience," said Belli.

A-Team walked into their first real match against Brooklyn Tech’s B-Team and stomped them 84-8. Question after question, players buzzed in with one correct answer after another as Brooklyn Tech sat dumbfounded.

Next, A-Team waltzed in confidently against The Browning School’s A-Team and pummeled them 86-30.

"It was a blur," said Wong, "I felt like we were answering every question, and what we didn’t know, they didn’t either."

Tougher competition awaited A-Team in round three. The best of Brooklyn Tech, their A-Team, stood in the way.

At first, it did not look good with only a third of a round gone and A-Team was already down 20 points. Miraculously, some quick buzzing, incorrect interrupts by the opposition, and some clutch 10 point bonus questions closed the gap and Midwood was up by roughly ten points with two minutes to go.

With a minute to go, A-Team converted a 4 point question but missed out on a bonus. The lead was now 56-36, but a quick answer by Tech closed the lead to 56-40. Fortunately for the Hornets, an incorrect bonus question ended the round there.

"My heart stopped," said Ms. Kimberly Lau. "Before I saw the lead was insurmountable, I thought that one question could’ve cost us."

A-Team then faced off against Hunter’s A-Team, and an early deficit was never made up leading to defeat. In the following match, a tie at 28 at the half against Hunter’s B-Team, resulted in a 94-32 loss.

"The end wasn’t too exciting because we weren’t neck and neck," admitted Wong, "However, the end result was amazing. We’d only prepared for two hours for the competition and ended fourth."

Regis High School ended up winning from the loser’s bracket over Hunter’s B and A Teams in succession, and its team will go to the state regional.

Against all odds, Midwood’s teams showed up expecting the worst and gave it their all. Competitive experience from the Bay Scallop Bowl in February helped , but dedication on the part of the players was what really gave Midwood the edge.

"Next year we’ll be ready, and we’ll try to win it all because now we know exactly what we’re getting into," concluded Mr. Stack.

Written by Samuel Makarovskiy.
This article originally appeared in the March 2015 edition of Argus.

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