Research Congress 2018

Photo Credits to Media Club

By Oviya Dharshini

Sponsored by DSO National Laboratories, NUS High School’s Research Congress is an annual event that not only marks the culmination of our students’ efforts in research work, but also celebrates our students’ passion and perseverance in research. Students showcased their work in their respective research, innovation and enterprise programmes to their peers and distinguished guests from various partner organisations.

Mrs Lee Bee Yann, principal of NUS High School, started the event with an inspirational speech about Dr Len Fisher, recipient of the 1999 Ig Nobel Prize, and his unconventional research about dunking biscuits. She emphasized the spirit of curiosity with which scientists approach daily life and how it may lead to new discoveries. Dr Fisher’s study, she mentioned, has potential for applications in oil extraction from porous rock. “The central tenet of science is that it is driven by simple curiosity, the wish to understand the world, to know how things work and to make things work better,” Mrs Lee said. Indeed, it is often through questioning even the most common occurrences that scientists have uncovered several fundamental theories. Mrs Lee’s welcome address stressed the importance of research and its embodying enterprising spirit.

Following Mrs Lee’s welcome address was a keynote speech by Professor Sir David Lane, Chief Scientist of A*STAR and Chairman of Chugai Pharmbody Research Pte Ltd. As one of the scientists credited with the landmark discovery of the cancer gene p53, his research has revolutionized the way cancer is viewed. He delivered an enriching speech on cancer and his research on p53. The most memorable parts of his speech were his vivid stories of his journey thus far. “I still find it fascinating,” said Professor Lane when he described the 40 years he spent working on this particular gene. His recollection of the various setbacks he faced during his research and his perseverance was a concept that resonated with many audience members.

The next segment of the event was the presentation of the Inspiring Research Mentor Awards, given out in appreciation of the dedicated mentors. These awards are presented not only in recognition of the time and effort they invested in our students, but also for inspiring them as they worked together.

After the award presentation ceremony, three groups of NUS High School students presented on their research projects across the different sciences, from designing a faceted reflectarray antenna and a humanized hypertrophic cardiomyopathy model to visual speech recognition using natural supervision. This was a valuable opportunity for the presenting students to showcase their projects to a large audience in a formal setting. The event concluded with the viewing of the various projects by students from both NUS High School, as well as from visiting schools such as Seoul Science High School and Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School. Projects were graded by teachers based on innovation, execution and presentation, and constructive feedback was given to the students.

Hopefully, this year’s Research Congress has kindled the spirit of wonderment in our students and further cultivated their passion for research. As the event is also a precursor of the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) for our student finalists, we would like to wish the best of luck to them.

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