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.
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.
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.
Delegates and staph are heading out on overnight trips again; next update will be on June 27, 2016!
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.
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.
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.
The evening lecture, by Dr. Walter Stromquist (Research Associate, Bryn Mawr College), discussed fair division problems from a mathematical perspective.
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.
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.
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.
Seminars were once again held by various staph members, including, but not limited to: Creek Sampling , Dance-Dance-Revolution, Hammocking 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.
“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.
Due to overnight trips, look out for the next update on June 21st!
Today, delegates continued their first Directed Study block, went to seminars, and attended not one, but two guest lectures!
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 .
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.
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.
Today after breakfast, the 2016 delegates selected their first Directed Studies through a lottery system. Directed Studies (DS) are hands-on, interactive small group experiences. Lasting 60 to 75 minutes on each of three consecutive days, directed studies are frequently investigative in nature and provide opportunities for full student involvement. During the study, a presenter provides a model and a close guiding hand. The participants are able to pose questions, develop conceptual understanding through exploration, and draw conclusions.
Directed Study Block I:
Solvent Free Microwave Extraction of Essential Oils with Plants with Dr. David Hackleman
Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones with Dr. Rick Walker
Photovoltaic Power System Design (plus some other fun solar activities) with Mr. Jeff Gilbert
Holography with Dr. Ralph Oberly
Computational Protein Design: Making old proteins learn new tricks with Dr. Karla-Luise Herpoldt
Unlocking the Mysteries of the Aether: Radio Frequency Engineering with Dr. Mike Elsbury
Cancer: A Genetic Disease with Dr. Ximena Bonilla
Screenprinting with Mr. Jordan Perry
The Great Outdoors with NYSC Outdoor Staph
The Great Outdoors
After DS’s and lunch, the delegates headed to afternoon seminars. Seminars are informal presentations or group discussions that provide an opportunity for interaction and sharing among the participants. Unlike a directed study, a seminar concludes at the end of a single meeting. The presenter may choose from a wide range of topics which may include technical subjects, hobbies, philosophies, and personal experiences. Generally guests are invited to present directed studies or lectures and volunteer to present seminars spontaneously. From Typography with Chalice to Ultimate 101 with Jordan, delegates had the opportunity today to explore and investigate a wide range of program areas.
The day concluded with our first lecture at Camp Pocahontas: Paradise Under the Knife by Mr. Allan Daly. Coupling science, technology, and the willingness to look outside his own sphere of existence, Mr. Daly shared his experiences in the Marovo Lagoon in the Solomon Islands, encouraging delegates to follow the roads that will help change this world for the better.
After staying the night in Middle Hall, the 2016 delegates headed over to the University of Charleston Ballroom for breakfast. Next, Judge Ronald Pearson, Chairman of the National Youth Science Foundation gave an official welcome to the 2016 delegation to West Virginia and the National Youth Science Camp. Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, gave the Martha Wherle opening lecture, sharing his insight from over 30 years of experience in academic administration, emphasizing the importance of STEM education and policy.
Later, the delegates took a tour of the University of Charleston’s School of Pharmacy, where they participated in hands-on activities and explored Compounding Labs, Simulation Labs, and the History of Medicine. After lunch, the students boarded buses to Sunny Camp Pocahontas.
When the delegates arrived at camp, they settled into their cabins, gathered on the green for frisbee, and had their first dinner in the Laura Dill Dining Hall. After a tour of Camp Pocahontas, NYSC Director John Giorir introduced the 2016 Staph* and discussed camp guidelines. Finally, delegates and unit leaders gathered in for cabin meetings and lights out for a well-deserved night of rest!
* Staph is a traditional spelling for “Staff”; our enthusiasm is infectious!
Bonus: Check out this article by the Charleston Gazette-Mail for NYSC 2016!
CHARLESTON, WV– The 2016 session of the National Youth Science Camp starts today as delegates arrive at Charleston’s Yeager Airport and begin their nearly month-long experience with science enrichment. As delegates arrive, they will be transported to Coonskin Park to kick off their participation in the program.
Afterwards, they will travel to the nearby University of Charleston to spend the night in the dorms. They will hopefully start to adjust to the 11:00 P.M. to 7:00 A.M. sleep schedule that is structured at the camp. Tomorrow, Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, will deliver the Martha Wehrle Opening Lecture in Geary Auditorium. The lecture will discuss Dr. Hill’s background and perception of science, higher education, and governmental policy. The event is free and open to anybody interested in coming.
After a tour of the University of Charleston’s School of Pharmacy, the delegates will board buses and be on their way to Camp Pocahontas!
* Staph is a traditional spelling for “Staff”; our enthusiasm is infectious!