End of Directed Studies #3

Today, the delegates finished up their last directed study block.  The morning lecture, “Getting ready to be “The Martian”: A One-Year Expedition on the International Space Station” was given by Dr. Julie Robinson (Chief Scientist, International Space Station, NASA). Dr. Robinson highlighted some of the most dramatic discoveries and benefits of the ISS, and how challenging the unknown keeps scientists and engineers on the cutting edge of discovery.

Dr. Julie Robinson
Dr. Julie Robinson: “Getting ready to be “The Martian”: A One-Year Expedition on the International Space Station”
Directed Study
Directed Study on Surgery!

In the afternoon, delegates had the opportunity to participate in seminars from Creek Sampling with Rachel to How to Make a Campfire with Gavin. Afterward, the delegates selected their last overnight trips in the outdoor lottery.

More posts to come July 1st – going on overnight trips again tomorrow!

Back from the Second Overnighter!

The 2016 delegation just returned from their second overnighter. Students went climbing, caving, biking, and hiking all over the woods in West Virginia. Hiking groups overcame high creek levels to succeed on the trails. Spelunkers and Climbers gripped wet rocks to conquer challenging routes. Albeit tired and road-weary, all overnight groups made it back to camp successfully.

Delegates enjoying a Rocky Point sunset
Stream crossings on the Allegheny Trail
Delegates posing for a group photo on the Seneca Creek hike
Brennen Murphy (LA) and Gregory Michajlyszyn (MI) navigating their way along the trails

“Chocolate Logic and the Nature of Science” was the topic of the evening lecture, by Dr. Paul Miller (Teaching Associate Professor of Physics at West Virginia University).  A former delegate, staph, and director of the National Youth Science Camp, Dr. Miller shared his knowledge on effective science education and the role of science and scientists in our society. 

Dr. Paul Miller (WVU)

End of Directed Studies #2

The morning lecture featured Dr. Dana Moshkovitz (MIT). Her talk explained  the basics of theoretical computer science: what are P and NP, why understanding them is important, and the limitations of approximation algorithms for NP-hard problems.

Dr. Dana Moshkovitz: "The Possibilities and Limitations of Computation and Approximation"

DS (directed study) block 2 had its last day today (see schedules on archives page)! DS’s included Combinatorial Games, Cybersecurity, and the Mathematics of Genetics.

Jonathan Powels (IL) in Directed Study: Failure Analysis

Dr. Scott Aronson (MIT) gave the evening lecture. He talked about computational complexity, discussing what can and can’t be computed. Along with a crash course of quantum mechanics, he touched on models of computation that might go beyond quantum computers.

Dr. Scott Aaronson: “Quantum Computing and the Limits of the Efficiently Computable”

Delegates and staph are heading out on overnight trips again; next update will be on June 27, 2016!

Science, Seminars, and More Science!

Today was a very busy day for the 2016 delegation, as they had two lectures, their last day of this directed study block, and a very full seminar block.

Directed Study
Directed Study: Structural Biology in a Post-Genomic Era with Dr. Pam Twigg

The morning lecture, Why Stuff Falls Apart by Dr. Mac Louthan (Consulting Scientist, Savannah River National Laboratory) was a humorous, motivational lecture that discussed the six fundamental causes of failure of large engineered systems: deficiency in design, improper material selection, defects in materials, improper processing, errors in assembly, and improper service.

Mac Louthan’s Lecture: Why Stuff Falls Apart

From Alcohol Art with Emily Holmes to Personality Types with Kiona to Hanging with Johnny G, a wide variety of seminars were available this afternoon for delegates to explore.

Delegate Kimmet Piedra
Costa Rican Delegate Kimett Piedra Garbanzo making candy in the “Art, Ethics, and Science of Food” Directed Study

The evening lecture, by Dr. Walter Stromquist (Research Associate, Bryn Mawr College), discussed fair division problems from a mathematical perspective.

Dr. Walter Stromquist: “Mathematics of Fair Division”

First Overnighter a Success!

Yesterday and today the delegates scattered in groups throughout the West Virginia wilderness and found their way back to camp. Many of the overnight trips offered at the National Youth Science Camp give delegates the opportunity to get in touch with Mother Nature and oftentimes try something they haven’t experienced yet in life.  For many delegates, these trips provide them with their first chance to use a map and compass, backpack through the woods, mountain bike, or crawl in a cave.

NYSC Delegates and great views on the Rohrbaugh hike in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area
Delegates navigating with a compass and map through wild and wonderful West Virginia
NYSC Delegates, Northfork trail, and  more beautiful views!

This evening’s lecture was given by Science of Baseball by Dr. Ricardo Valerdi (Associate Professor, University of Arizona).  His talk, “The Science of Baseball discussed the implications of sports movies on STEM education and the impact that baseball can have on academic achievement.

Dr. Ricardo Valderi
Dr. Ricardo Valderi Associate Professor, University of Arizona

As Directed Studies End…Overnighters Begin!

Today, the 2016 delegates learned about “Life Lessons Learnt in the Laboratory” from Dr. Karla- Luise Herpoldt of University of Washington.  In her lecture, Dr. Herpoldt urged delegates to explore across the boundaries of the education system that separate biology, chemistry, physics, and math.

Dr. Karla-Luise Herpoldt: Life Lessons Learnt in the Laboratory
Directed Study: Photovoltaic Power System Design with Mr. Jeff Gilbert

Seminars were once again held by various staph members, including, but not limited to: Creek Sampling , Dance-Dance-RevolutionHammocking 101, and Star Wars Trivia.  The delegates also received their outdoor orientation, which included how to: put together tents, use a portable stove and water filter, and make “phone calls” here in the National Radio Quiet Zone (NRQZ).  Just after dinner, they selected their overnight trips, which included: hiking, biking, climbing, and caving.

Delegate Nicolás Aguerre (Argentina) in Directed Study

Cancer is Smart, can we be Smarter?  by Dr. Rick Walker, Instructor in Human Anatomy, Marshall University, was the evening lecture topic.  He discussed a variety of topics relating to treating cancer and why we may not necessarily want to cure cancer.

Dr. Rick Walker
Dr. Rick Walker, (1964 Delegate!) sharing his knowledge from 40 years as a cancer surgeon

Due to overnight trips, look out for the next update on June 21st!

Ink, Inventions, and Interstellar Science!

Today, delegates continued their first Directed Study block, went to seminars, and attended not one, but two guest lectures!

Delegates Richa Beher (MD) and Rachel Snyderman (DC) making earrings during seminar time

This morning’s lecture, Inventing Things with a few Case Examples by  Dr. David Hackleman, was an eclectic presentation that revealed the process of inventing and discussed the surprises and ramifications of inventions. Dr. Hackleman, part of a team that invented and delivered Thermal Ink-Jet printing to the world from Hewlett-Packard, shared his experience and passion for creating new things, hoping that the delegates would realize the potential in their own capabilities .

Dr. David Hackleman discussing thermal ink-jet printing

In the afternoon, delegates had the opportunity to participate in more seminars from Portuguese 101 with Hunter to Earring Making with Hallie. Also during seminar time, delegates had open Comp Sci to check email or social media and time to call home.

California delegate Grace Bower knitting during seminar time

Tonight’s lecture was by Dr. Maria Hamilton, Professor of Physics at Marshall University. In  A Cosmic Discover: The First Detection of Gravitational Waves, Dr. Hamilton explained what happens when two black holes collide, and demonstrated how gravitational waves are detected. Hamilton introduced the delegates to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), which allowed us to hear the gravitational waves that come from the far reaches of space into the past that Galileo, Newton, and Einstein only dreamt of detecting.

Dr. Maria Hamilton
Dr. Maria Hamilton explains the electromagnetic spectrum