Hi, Science Issue IV (Winter 2024)

Page 1

Dear reader,

I’m thrilled to present the Winter 2024 edition of Hi, Science, a student-led publication dedicated to making STEM accessible and approachable. My team of thoughtful and engaged writers and editors continue to hail from all corners of the world, including four global Avenues campuses and other high schools across the U.S.

Hi, Science has made an impact both inside and outside the classroom. An article-writing curriculum I designed in June 2023 has been incorporated into STEM electives at Avenues’ São Paulo and Silicon Valley campuses. We’ve also partnered with the Hudson River Park organization to design interactive workshops on ecology, microbiology and climate education, open to the general public!

We received a record number of submissions this cycle, and though we were unable to publish every article we received, we are very grateful for the overwhelming student and faculty interest. I was struck by how many writers focused on spreading awareness about pressing issues we face, from climate change to water scarcity to antimicrobial resistance, and presenting solutions to those issues. That is indeed the ultimate goal of science research in my mind furthering our knowledge and understanding of the world to make life better for everyone.

Happy reading! I hope you discover something new.

Zooxanthellae: The Secret of Coral Reefs by Alicia Zheng

The Science Behind Spicy Food by Insa Akcoglu

How Do Maglev Trains Work? by Kylan Huang

The Nine Brains of the Octopus by Navya Arora

The Dangers of Antimicrobial Resistance by Lilian Shepard

Exploring the Magic of Iridescence by Scout Lebedis

Volcanic Lightning: Nature’s Fury Unleashed by Ali Strum

We Are Running Out of Clean Drinking Water by Isabela Rodrigues and Daniel Gelman

Carbon Capture: The Future of Agriculture by Future Scientists Club

How Will the Universe End? by Edmond li

Are You Living in a Simulation? by Ayah Orynbay

Finding the Circumference of the Earth (2000 Years Ago) by Layla Kluth

Frozen in Time: The Children of Llullaillaco by Vera Giraudo


Exploring Singularities: Beyond In nity by Tarik Wortham

What is Quantum Entanglement? by Francesca Choquette

The Dilemma of “Going Green” by Tobias Campbell

The Science Behind Curly Hair by Nyla Sanchez

How Can You Find the Area Under a Curve? by Josie Miller

CTE: The Hidden Danger in Football by Kyla Guimaraes

How Yellow-Spotted Salamanders Photosynthesize by Luna Reyes Castro

A Blazing Summer: Climate’s Wake-Up Call by Mena Sahion and Tenille Faison

Bringing Back the Woolly Mammoth by Noah Slesinger

Can ChatGPT Write My Essays? by Future Scientists Club

Check out hiscience.avenues.school and @hi.science.mag for more articles and previous issues!


Did you know that corals are animals? A coral is made up of thousands of tiny organisms called polyps, invertebrates that can be as small as a pinhead to as large as a foot in diameter. Related to anemones and jelly sh, they have a sac-like body with a mouth surrounded by tentacles. The key to their survival is zooxanthellae, a unique type of algae that provides coral polyps with nutrients and vibrant color!

Coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, supporting a diverse array of marine animals from clown sh to seahorses to sea stars Nearly 25% of marine life relies on healthy coral reefs Well-functioning polyps use calcium carbonate (limestone) from seawater to form a skeleton around their delicate bodies. Each polyp relies on zooxanthellae, which live in its gastrodermis. The zooxanthellae provide nutrients and food to the polyp, and the polyp provides the algae with protection and a space to live. Zooxanthellae is also responsible for the rich and varied colors of coral polyps, which can be anything from brown and yellow to orange and pink!

Coral polyps and zooxanthellae have a symbiotic relationship, a term used to describe the continued interaction between two organisms living in the same physical environment Speci cally, they have a mutualistic relationship, a type of symbiotic relationship from which both species bene t.

Zooxanthellae act as the “light” of coral reefs, helping produce beautiful and amazing underwater rainforests Unfortunately, these delicate ecosystems experience the e ects of climate change, and are harmed by warming and acidifying oceans Such negative e ects are often visible in the form of coral bleaching, as corals release zooxanthellae (and therefore lose their color) when threatened. This could cause further harm to the coral polyps, though, since without the nutrients provided by the zooxanthellae they become more prone to infection.

A coral reef is just one example of a beautiful ecosystem harmed by our unsustainable practices. By becoming more environmentally-conscious of our actions, we can work to preserve the beauty and biodiversity of our planet!


Whether or not you like the burning sensation from a spicy pepper, the kick in the nose from a pungent wasabi, or the numbing sensation from Sichuan peppers, we can all agree these foods leave a lasting impression. Here’s why.

Let’s start with hot peppers, which contain the compound capsaicin When consumed, capsaicin binds to nerve receptors called T VPR 1 in your mouth, which triggers the delivery of pain signals to the brain, similar to those sent when you encounter real heat. Your body reacts by trying to cool itself down, mainly through sweating. Capsaicin also irritates mucous membranes in your nasal cavity, which causes a runny nose

What if you eat something too spicy? Most of us instinctively reach for a glass of water. However, water doesn’t do much, since capsaicin is actually hydrophobic. This means it repels water, like oil. Something with a high-fat content like milk or ice cream can help reduce the burning sensation, since dairy products contain the protein casein. Casein binds to capsaicin molecules and washes them away. Another alternative is something with high sugar content. The sweetness sends more signals to the brain, which may get confused by too many stimuli, reducing the burning sensation in your mouth.

Now, wasabi Wasabi and horseradish contain a compound called allyl isothiocyanate, which is released when you cut or chew them. This is what gives wasabi and horseradish their pungent taste. Additionally, the vapors from allyl isothiocyanate travel up through your mouth to your naval cavity, triggering a response in the form of nose tingling or sneezing

Finally, Sichuan peppercorns. Sichuan peppercorns contain the compound hydroxy-alpha-sanshool, which stimulates touch receptors in your mouth, causing tingling and numbness. An experiment found that this tingling matched vibrations of 50 hertz, consistent with Meissner tactical receptors that send signals to the brain when the body comes into contact with vibrations from 10-80 hertz

The main reason why these plants trigger such strong reactions is related to evolution. One option to defend themselves is to trigger a chemical reaction if a predator bites into their esh. So, if you ’ re ever tempted to experiment with a Sichuan peppercorn-crusted Jalapeno pepper stu ed with wasabi paste, and your intuition tells you to stay away, that’s just Mother Nature’s evolutionary work at play.


The world’s fastest commercial train travels between Shanghai Pudong airport and the Longyang railroad at speeds up to 460 km/h (around 285 mph). It has neither wheels nor a combustion engine. How could this be? The answer is magnetic levitation.

A Maglev, short for magnetic levitation, has two primary components: 1) guideways, the track on which the train runs, and 2) magnets, which are located inside the train compartments. There are metal coils lining the guideways, which can be magnetized to form a magnetic eld

Since like poles repel each other, if both the magnets in the train compartments and the guideways have the same pole, the train will be able to levitate. As shown in the diagram below, if the poles of the magnets and the guideways alternate between North and South, the train will not just levitate it will also be pushed forward, since the like poles will cause levitation and opposite poles will cause forward movement This phenomenon is referred to as “propulsion ”

Maglevs have many advantages. First, they can travel at speeds up to 600 km/h (around 373 mph), while typical bullet trains can run at only 350 km/h. Minimal contact between the guideway and the train results in maglevs being highly e cient and requiring less maintenance. Maglev trains are also much quieter than commercial trains

Finally, maglevs are very safe, especially compared to other types of passenger trains The probability of tracks and wheels getting damaged is less likely, and the train has the ability to almost instantly stop by reducing the strength of the magnetic eld, which causes the train to stop levitating.

There are only two accidents to date involving maglev trains: 1) in 2006, a Transrapid maglev caught re in Shanghai, and 2) a German Transrapid maglev crashed into a repair car that was accidentally left on the track, killing 23 and injuring 11 This was deemed to be caused by human error, and no accidents have occurred since.

Unfortunately, after the accident that occurred in Germany, maglevs lost appeal in Europe. The six commercial maglev lines are all located in Asia, speci cally in China, Japan, and Korea.


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have multiple brains? The answer to this question may lie within a rather familiar animal.

The octopus has not one, but nine brains and is considered to be one of the most intelligent animals on Earth The brain to body ratio for octopuses is the largest for any invertebrate and they have about the same amount of neurons as a dog. Unlike humans, who have a centralized nervous system consisting of a single brain sending signals to the rest of the body, octopuses have decentralized nervous systems They have one central brain in their head, and the base of each of their arms contains a group of neurons which can each function as their own “mini brains ” About ⅔ of an octopus’ 500 million neurons can be found outside of their central brain, meaning each of the arms contains around 40 million neurons, which is more than frogs have in their entire bodies. This allows each of the arms to be able to think and function independently

The larger, central brain located in the head of the octopus determines what it wants or needs, and sends commands to the arms. For example, if the central brain decides that the octopus needs food, it communicates with the arms and commands them to look for food Each arm is autonomous and can make its own low-level decisions without “consulting” with the larger central brain The arms can each move independently, gathering and processing their own sensory information. The arms will then report back any relevant information such as the location of the food to the central brain, which will continue making the bigger decisions Even cooler, if you were to chop o an octopus arm, it would still be capable of moving independently for some time A group of scientists showed that when an arm was disconnected from an octopus and was electrically stimulated it would still move in the same basic patterns as it normally would if it were connected to the octopus, and could even adapt its movements to di erent environments just as a connected arm would This implies that each arm is indeed independent of the rest of the body and can likely think on its own.

Overall, the octopus is one of the smartest and unique creatures, being able to escape from tanks and jars, and even cooperate with sh to hunt together, which scientists say is an ability that is very rare among animals Since octopuses don’t have many physical protections, such as an exoskeleton or a spine, many believe that it is their intelligence which keeps them alive.


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest threats to human health worldwide. In 2019, AMR was associated with nearly 5 million deaths globally, and by 2050, as many as 10 million could die from AMR annually. Infections once easily treatable by antibiotics are becoming life-threatening. Researchers now predict that in 50 years, almost all the antibiotics we have today will be completely ine ective.

In 1928 Scottish physician and microbiologist Alexander Fleming discovered what’s widely considered to be the rst antibiotic, penicillin, sparking the “golden age ” of antibiotics. Antibiotics and other revolutionary medical advancements are credited with extending the average human lifespan by 23 years and providing e ective treatment for otherwise deadly bacterial infections However, the improper use of antibiotics in recent years has promoted antibiotic resistance, resulting in fewer methods to treat harmful infections. AMR occurs when microbes evolve and gain mechanisms that shield them from the e ects of antibiotics. When continually exposed to antibiotics, bacteria that have randomly mutated to become resistant are favored by natural selection and survive over antibiotic-susceptible bacteria. This process, while natural, can be ampli ed by antibiotic overuse. Using antibiotics only when needed can reduce the chances of signi cant increases in AMR.

Some microbes can become resistant to multiple antibiotics These are called multidrug-resistant (MDR) microbes and can be referred to as superbugs Superbugs are extremely dangerous, and patients infected with an MDR infection are often left with few, even no treatment options. These MDR infections are becoming increasingly prevalent and are responsible for a major percentage of deaths associated with AMR and its complications One of these superbugs is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA, a problematic strain of bacteria resistant to all beta-lactams (the most widely-used class of antibiotics).

Overall, addressing the impacts of AMR is not an easy task, as cooperation is required from many stakeholders Governments, healthcare professionals, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies must introduce legislation regulating the use of antibiotics, practice antibiotic stewardship, and develop new antibiotics to combat this pressing issue


Have you ever gazed at a soap bubble or a deli butter y wing, and found yourself contempla the reason behind the captivating and constan morphing array of colors you see? The explan for this visual phenomenon, known as iridesc lies in wave interference.

The color of an object arises from the absorption of certa re ected. Iridescence happens when light waves interact with one another and with the surface or layers of an object. This interaction of light waves is called interference. Such interference can be constructive or destructive Constructive interference occurs when two or more wavelengths reinforce each other, with the peaks of one wave meeting the peaks of another; in this type of interference, the waves reinforce each other, leading to an overall increase in amplitude and a more intense (brighter) output. Destructive interference occurs when the peaks of one wave align with the valleys of another, and the wave patterns cancel each other out When light strikes an object such as a bird feather or gasoline puddle, di erent wavelengths (colors) experience di erent levels of constructive (brightening) and destructive (dimming) interference, which causes iridescence and a shimmering variety of colors.

Speci cally, iridescence is in uenced by how materials are arranged. Materials arranged in a repeating pattern with a crystalline structure are more likely to contain band gaps, areas where electrons cannot exist within certain energy levels inside atoms. When light strikes a surface with a band gap, certain wavelengths are absorbed while others are re ected The speci c wavelengths that are absorbed or re ected depend on the structure of the band gap and the angle at which light hits the gap. So as you view the surface of the object at di erent angles, the colors you see will also change. By tailoring the properties of band gaps in di erent objects, engineers and designers can create a wide variety of iridescent items!

Iridescence is an incredible natural phenomenon. Next time you gaze at a peacock feather, examine how a bubble catches the light, or admire a magpie’s tail, you’ll be experiencing the joy and wonder of iridescence rsthand!


Nature often has a remarkable way of revealing its power. One of the most awe-inspiring displays occurs when volcanoes erupt and lightning is produced as a result. This captivating blend of re and electricity has intrigued scientists and viewers alike, and has only appeared 200 times in the past 200 years.

Volcanic lightning di ers dramatically from the typical lightning you see in thunderstorms. Traditional lightning is caused by collisions between ice crystals and water droplets within clouds that lead to the accumulation of positive charges in the upper regions of the cloud and negative charges in the lower regions. The negative charges are attracted to the Earth’s surface, forcing the negative and positive charges to eventually discharge when the attraction becomes too strong and create lightning.

While traditional lightning is fairly understood by scientists, volcanic lighting is much less studied One of the primary ways scientists believe volcanic lightning is produced is frictional charging, which is the process by which rock fragments and volcanic ash collide to form highly charged particles. When volcanoes erupt, these small particles previously contained at a high-pressure state are released into the atmosphere, which is a low-pressure environment, causing collisions and a build-up of charge This static buildup can also be caused by fractoemission, where rock remnants break down into smaller particles. The ultimate result of both is a lightning bolt atop a volcano, displaying colors of blue, red, and green

Although volcanic lighting is beautiful, these lightning strikes have direct and indirect consequences on the surrounding environment. This lightning can cause wild res, and dangerous gases can be released into the atmosphere when volcanic eruptions occur Chemical compounds such as sulfur dioxide can be released, contributing to air pollution Regardless of potential negative impacts, volcanic lighting has captivated the attention of many scientists, and new discoveries are still being made today. Overall, studying volcanic lightning is crucial for strengthening volcanic monitoring, assessing volcanic hazards, and providing early warning systems to ensure communities remain safe during storms and eruptions


Water is essential for our survival and well-being. While our planet is 70% water, only a small fraction 2.5% is drinkable freshwater. Environmental degradation resulting from rapid urbanization and the growth of water-intensive agricultural practices have endangered this global supply of clean water, exacerbating health inequities and putting billions at risk. In fact, it is predicted that in 5 years, 40 percent of the world's population will live in areas with severe water stress.

With over half of the global population residing in urban areas, rapid urbanization has signi cantly increased water demand beyond natural renewal rates Increased infrastructure development, manufacturing, and growing urban populations have strained water sources and led to the over-extraction and depletion of freshwater reserves like aquifers and surface reservoirs. Deforestation and changes in land-use have also impacted natural hydrological cycles and reduced the capacity of ecosystems to regular water availability

Agricultural practices exacerbate this issue by consuming large amounts of wate often through ine cient irrigation practices, to meet rising demand for food. In fact, the agriculture industry is responsible for over 80% of all freshwater use in the United States. Pollution from industrial discharges and agricultural runo also contaminate sources of water, making them unsafe for consumption Moreover, the competition for water resources between urban and agricultural sectors further stresses already fragile ecosystems, exacerbating the crisis.

Climate change contributes to the problem by altering precipitation patterns, causing more frequent and severe droughts in certain regions, and increasing the risk of ooding in others. These disruptive changes negatively impact the natural replenishment of water sources, pushing many areas toward a critical shortage.

Addressing this crisis requires a comprehensive approach, including sustainable water management practices, pollution control measures, and global e orts to mitigate climate change impacts. Implementing e cient irrigation techniques, investing in wastewater treatment plants, and promoting water conservation in both urban and agricultural sectors are crucial steps toward increased sustainability. Additionally, restoring and protecting natural habitats such as wetlands and forests can enhance water retention and regulate water cycles. By prioritizing sustainable development and adopting collective action, we can ensure equitable access to clean water for all, for many generations to come


The agricultural industry accounts for 70% of all water consumption on Earth, as well as 44% of all energy consumption worldwide. Studies show that by 2050, our current agricultural practices would have to increase by 70% to feed the growing population. How exactly can we responsibly feed a rapidly growing and warming planet? One possible solution is carbon capture in tandem with indoor farming, which could help create a more sustainable and productive future for agriculture.

It has been known for decades that atmospheric CO₂ stimulates plant growth. On average, doubling the amount of CO₂ in the atmosphere today would cause plants to grow 47% larger. This means that increasing CO₂ concentrations in a controlled environment (like a greenhouse) would increase crop yield. If this is done on a large scale, it could provide more food for our growing population. A researcher from Southwestern University found similar results using a di erent system called free-air carbon dioxide enrichment, in which pipes are placed around plants in an outdoor system to emit CO₂–enriched air for the plants It seemed like an ingenious idea, but he did encounter one problem: plants need very speci c levels of nutrients in the soil in order for an increase in CO₂ to be bene cial.

This is where indoor farming might be useful. In many indoor farms, the nutrients delivered to the plants are controlled and can be adjusted to best t their needs Researchers from Jiangsu University, China looked into one speci c indoor farming system, aeroponics, in which nutrients are delivered to the roots of plants through a nutrient mist. By adjusting the mist, any limitations that the lack of nutrients would have on plant growth in a traditional soil setting can be mitigated. Such a system could work e ectively alongside carbon capture

With the climate crisis worsening by the day, and the world’s population growing at an unprecedented rate, current farming practices must adapt. Although further research is needed to test and perfect the idea, an e ective combination of carbon capture and indoor farming is a promising solution

Most theories surrounding the mysterious end of the universe are focused on two signi cant concepts in astrophysics: dark matter and dark energy.

Dark energy is the main culprit behind the expansion of the universe, composing what we know as the “ vacuum ” of space, and produces an e ect that repulses matter away from itself against gravity This expansion of the universe has been observed to be accelerating. Because of this, some cosmologists speculate that the end of the universe would happen with a “Big Rip.” In time, dark energy could tear matter apart from within, starting with the largest galaxies and ending with the subatomic particles. To make sense of this, imagine the universe is a balloon with galaxies drawn on it As the balloon expands, the galaxies will start to stretch and break apart, to the point where the balloon itself explodes.

The second principle of thermodynamics might also be relevant when discussing the end of the universe This principle states that over time, in any isolated system, the density of energy will equalize We can observe this in our daily lives. Take temperature, a measurement of the average energy of a particle in a system. If you put a hot object (which has a higher level of energy) next to a cold object (which has a lower level of energy) for a long period of time, the two objects will eventually have the same temperature The hotter object will become cooler and the cold object will become hotter, as energy transfers from the hot object to the cold object. In this sense, the energy of the system (the two neighboring objects) distributes evenly over time.

Entropy is a physical magnitude that measures how well the energy is distributed in a system Higher entropy means a higher distribution of energy (and a more equalized density of energy). Scientists have theorized that an implication of the second principle and this concept of entropy is that as the universe continues to age and expand, as galaxies, stars, and black holes drift away from one another, the heat of the universe di uses (or, distributes throughout the cosmos) Everything, from black holes to cups of tea, will radiate away their heat and energy. The end product is the decay of all matter and ultimately a universe devoid of heat and a wasteland of energy. This theory is termed “Heat Death” or “Big Freeze.”

Regardless of how the universe ends, we know for certain that the death of the universe won’t occur until long, long after our own lifetimes. By then humanity will have either become totally extinct, possibly learned to travel throughout the galaxy, or even discovered the most complex secrets of the universe


In 2003, Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom introduced his “simulation theory,” questioning if our universe is an arti cial simulated reality. Bostrom’s theory envisions a future where an advanced posthuman civilization replicates and uploads thousands of conscious human minds to a realistic arti cial environment one that our brains aren’t aware of for various purposes, including analyzing disaster scenarios, replaying the past, and even just for entertainment.

Bostrom presents three alternative futures to examine the feasibility of his theory. The rst future states that humankind won’t reach a posthuman stage before going extinct from a global disaster The second option is that we do reach a posthuman stage, but nobody wants to run an ancestor simulation due to morals or lack of interest. The third scenario is where we become posthuman and choose to run the ancestor simulations. Bostrom argues if the nal scenario is correct, then there is a slim chance we are living in “base reality” (the real world) Many notable people, including Neil deGrasse Tyson and Elon Musk, subscribe to this theory, with Musk stating that “the chance we ’ re living in base reality is one in billions.” Some hypothesize that the speed of light could be the processor speed of the hardware for our simulation, since it mirrors the con nes of processor speeds in computers The nite speed of light parallels the idea that there might be fundamental constraints on the rate at which data can be processed within a simulated universe.

On the other hand, many people, including physicist Sabine Hossenfelder, have stated that the theory isn’t even scienti c to begin with, since we can’t prove or disprove it. She explains how believing in the theory requires faith, which mixes science with religion and “teleports us back to the age of mythology ” Not to mention the complex physics we couldn’t even begin to imagine translating into code. Physicist and mathematician Frank Wilczek agrees with the argument that the universe is too complex to simulate, and questions why, if we are in a simulation, none of us have seen a glitch yet Since we currently cannot prove or disprove this hypothesis, perhaps we should just focus on enjoying life for now, whether it’s all pixels or not!


Over 2,200 years ago, with a lot of free time and basic geometry, the ancient Greek mathematician Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the Earth with impressive accuracy. His answer was only 75 kilometers o . How in

shadows were cast in Syene, Egypt at t on the same day in Alexandria, head in Syene, but not in Alexandria of the Earth was curved.

the summer solstice in Alexandria, the ith a pole is the same as the central nd Syene, which he measured as 7 2

kilometers) = 360 degrees divided by the central angle between the two cities (7 2 degrees) Using cross multiplication, he determined that the Earth’s circumference = 360/7.2 * 800 km, which is 40,000 km! The modern measurement for the circumference of the Earth is 40,075 km, which means he was only o by 75 km!


In 1999, a group of archaeologists hiked 22,100 feet above sea level to the summits of the Argentinian Andes, the highest archeological site in the world. They would go on to discover a total of 115 mummies, including the corpses of three 500-year-old Inca children. These children, buried in a dark cave atop Mount Llullaillaco, would later be described as the “best preserved” mummies on Earth.

The three corpses included those of one boy (5-6 years old) and two girls, one also 5-6 years old and the other known as “The Maiden” estimated to have been 16 years old. The children, along with the other 112 mummies, are believed to have been sacri ced in Capacocha rituals performed in Inca society. What makes these three children special is how well preserved they are.

The incredible preservation of these mummies is due to the fact that they were buried in permafrost, soil that has been frozen for multiple years In cold temperatures, molecular activity in organisms slows, causing them to enter a dormant stage that delays the rotting process. Typically, decomposition occurs when gut ora (a population of microbes present in your digestive tract) breaks down tissues. This results in more bacteria in the body and an increase in gasses like hydrogen sul de, carbon dioxide, and methane. Because of this, the body starts to look dis gured and emit strong odors. None of this can occur, however, if the microbiome is inactive due to cold stress and unable to break down cells.

Simply freezing organisms does not perfectly preserve them Ice crystals can cause major damage to cell membranes and result in ruptures and tearing Freezing can also cause organs to expand, resulting in the bloating and damage found on other nearby mummies. However, all of the organs and skin of the children of Llullaillaco were intact, with “The Maiden” even having perfectly frozen blood in her heart. Scientists believe this was because their bodies froze quickly before fully dehydrating Burial positioning and time could also be contributing factors

The mummies are so well preserved that they look as if they’re sleeping, able to wake up at any moment They are a testament to the natural preservation of the Andes Mountains and provide us with a glimpse of the past and what life could have looked like in the Inca Empire


If I were to tell you there exists an in nitesimally small entity with in nite density and mass, you might nd it hard to believe. But such an entity exists (in theory), and it is called a singularity.

Theories suggest that singularities may have initiated the big bang and live at the center of black holes.

Scientists postulate that at the center of a black hole, gravitational attraction is so intense and overwhelms all other forces This results in a singularity a point where matter is compressed to have in nitely large density and in nitely small volume. You may be asking yourself, how can a singularity have a size that is in nitely close to zero? If you have a more advanced understanding of physics, you may ask yourself, doesn't this violate Planck’s length (which de nes the smallest possible length of an object to be 10-33 centimeters)? Well, singularities exist under such extreme conditions that known laws of physics break down in examining them. In fact, we understand space-time as a fabric that large objects warp, but this concept falters in the presence of singularities. It isn’t quite clear what would happen if you were to place something with in nite mass on fabric

Understanding singularities is also di cult because of the inherent di erences between general relativity and quantum mechanics. General relativity provides a framework for understanding gravity as the curvature of space-time caused by mass and energy It accurately describes the behavior of massive objects like planets, stars, and black holes on large scales. When gravitational forces become extremely strong, such as near a singularity, the equations of general relativity yield results that suggest in nite densities and curvatures, mathematical inconsistencies which are known as gravitational singularities On the other hand, when quantum mechanics which describes the behavior of particles at the smallest scale is applied to extreme gravitational conditions near a singularity, the theory breaks down and its predictions become unreliable.

Scientists are still learning about singularities and there are constant arguments for and against their existence. Current calculations are just not su cient for predicting what happens inside black holes. All in all, understanding singularities requires a deeper understanding of the fundamental nature of spacetime and gravity under conditions of extreme density and curvature, a task that remains one of the most signi cant unresolved puzzles in theoretical physics


Quantum entanglement is a concept from the fascinating and complicated world of quantum physics, that describes two or more particles becoming so entangled that their properties are interdependent, even when they are separated by vast distances.

Quantum entanglement originated with Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky, and Nathan Rosen They researched the idea that particles interact in a way that establishes a spatial relationship between them, and found that by determining the position or momentum of one particle, the other entangled particle's position and momentum could be found. Einstein named it the Einstein-Podolsky paradox. But this violated one fundamental law: the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which states that simultaneously knowing a particle's position and momentum is impossible Einstein and Schrodinger were also unhappy with the concept of quantum entanglement because they thought it implied that particles can transmit information faster than the speed of light in a vacuum, which Einstein had determined to be the universal limit to how fast any object can travel

This critique was furthered by John Stewart Bell, a physicist from Northern Ireland, who demonstrated that the principle of locality directly contradicted quantum theory. According to the principle of locality, one atom can in uence another only if they are touching, which clashes with the Einstein-Podolsky paradox

To settle this debate, John Clauser and Stuart Freedman, both American physicists, created an experiment to understand the true nature of quantum entanglement The experiment involved the decay of calcium atoms to produce two photons of light. According to quantum mechanics, measuring one photon's polarization should reveal the other's polarization, even though they are 10 feet apart. Their experiment did indeed provide support for the claim that when entangled particles are placed at opposite ends of the galaxy, measurements on one particle can in uence the behavior of its twin faster than the time light could have traveled between them. This dynamic connection between particles, defying the classical lines of thought, underscores the ongoing evolution and complexity of our understanding of the quantum world.


Humans currently mine 61.1 billion tons of material from Earth every year, and are still not able to keep up with the rapidly growing demand for raw materials. While mining emissions are currently minimal compared to other sectors, as we convert to clean energy and require more raw materials, these emissions will increase.

The bene ts of going “ green ” are clear: we would be slowing catastrophic climate change. However, many argue that it is necessary to reanalyze how we go “ green. ” Current technologies require unprecedented amounts of silicon and lithium, which are unrenewable resources that also produce signi cant emissions when extracted. Harnessing wind energy also requires massive amounts of energy and steel (the steel industry emits approximately 1.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually). Additionally, solar panels are not necessarily perfect solutions, as they only last 25-30 years.

Lithium batteries seem promising. The chemical makeup of lithium makes it optimal for use in the storage of electricity. With energy produced by things like wind (which isn't blowing all day), there needs to be a way to store and save energy for later use. Batteries are a way to hold that energy so that it can be redistributed when needed It also means that places that rely on solar energy will have power on a cloudy day. However, lithium batteries currently have an average lifespan of just 300-500 charge cycles or 2-3 years, depending on the makeup of the battery and the amount of energy being stored.

ining lithium also has signi cant environmental impacts In the Andes, hium is sucked from brine deposits in the salt plains of the tall ountains, and vast amounts of water are required to clean the lithium d separate it from other minerals. In Australia, hard rock mining is ed to obtain lithium, which requires explosives These two locations ld about half of the world’s lithium reserves, and both of these ethods have ecological costs.

This means that the environment is torn apart for a few years of energy storage It is important for scientists to look further into additional green solutions ones that don’t require us to tear up our planet more than we already have.


There are many chemical bonds, chromosomes, and genes that are responsible for the curliness of your hair. For instance, higher amounts of disulphide bonds are responsible for tighter coils and give them strength and elasticity.

Have you ever noticed how your curls tend to get frizzy on rainy or humid days? This is because moisture in the air causes hydrogen atoms inside the amino acids in your hair to bond with each other, resulting in frizzier hair. These hydrogen bonds can be broken easily when expos to heat, through blow drying, for example.

Ionic bonds in your hair make it stronger, though sometimes factors like a change in pH weaken and eventually break them. The covalent disulphide bonds mentioned in the introduction are the strongest and hardest to break, but they can still be broken through practices harsh on your hair like bleaching, which can change and damage the internal structure of your hair.

Your genes, passed onto you by your parents, also determine the shape of your hair. For example, di erent types of chromosomes, protein structures that contain a singular extract of DNA to carry genomic code from one cell to another, are responsible for whether you have curly or straight hair. The CTS, IRS, and ORS chromosomes are most relevant in this case. Additionally, curly hair is classi ed as a “dominant gene ” trait whereas straight hair is considered a “recessive gene ” trait, which means that for the most part if one parent gives you a gene associated with curly hair and one parent gives you a gene associated with straight hair, you’ll be born with curly hair.

Moreover, those of African descent tend to have curly hair, in particular those with Sotho, Xhosa, and Zulu ethnicity Curly hair is also found most in those with mixed ethnic backgrounds

It’s so captivating how all curls come in di erent patterns due to these chemical bonds, chromosomes, genes and much more!


Let’s explore this age-old question by nding the area under the curve of the parabola from 0 to 3. �(�) = � 2

To nd the exact value of the area, we can divide it into in nitely small rectangles Assume that the curve is divided into small rectangles, and, for any given � rectangle, its height is determined by the right point on the parabola (right endpoint of the rectangle). The width of any given rectangle is , where ∆� = 3 � ∆� is the “change in x ” or width. To nd the height, we rst nd the right endpoint. For any rectangle, ��ℎ the x-coordinate of the endpoint is The height of the right endpoint can be found as � � = �∆� �(�� )

that is the y-coordinate of the on the curve. Simplifying, . The area of a � � �(�� ) = �(� · 3 � ) = 9�2 � 2 rectangle is length times width, so the area of any rectangle is:

. However, ��ℎ � � = 9�2 � 2 3 � = 27�2 � 3 the goal is to nd the area of all rectangles until . So, . This summation can � = � 1 + � 2 + + � �

be represented using sigma notation:

. This expression can be simpli ed by pulling out � = �=1

� ∑ 27�2 � 3

� ∑ � 2 can be simpli ed given to . The above �=1

the constant (unchanging values): Now, the formula involves a sum of squares, which � = 27 � 3 �=1

� ∑ � 2 = �(�+1)(2�+1) 6 � = 27 � 3 �=1

� ∑ � 2 = 27 � 3 ( �(�+1)(2�+1) 6 )

expression can be simpli ed through clever algebraic manipulation:

. This equation gives the approximate area � = 27 6 ( � � )( �+1 � )( 2�+1 � ) = 9 2 (1)(1 + 1 � )(2 + 1 � )

given a nite number . To get the exact area, treat the area under the curve as divided into in nitely small rectangles. In other words, approaches in nity. This means that becomes in nitely small, 1 � and can be concluded as equal to 0. If you plug in 0 for , you’ll get:

. So the exact area under the curve from � ����� = 9 2 (1)(1 + 0)(2 + 0) = 9 2 · 2 = 9 �(�) = � 2 0 to 3 is equal to 9! This neat technique works for any polynomial over a given interval


Mike Webster’s mind was deteriorating. He had a successful career as a professional American football player, memorialized in the Hall-of-Fame. Upon retiring in 1990, though, he began su ering from dementia and amnesia. He experienced depressive episodes, intense headaches, and displayed increased aggression. No medications seemed to work. Doctors were stumped.

Shortly after Webster’s death in 2002, neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu performed an autopsy on Webster’s brain. Surprisingly, it was healthy. Puzzled, Omalu sent slices of Webster’s brain for staining, a process that allows scientists to visualize cellular and molecular aspects of the brain. The results showed hyperphosphorylated tau (p-tau) proteins had built up in Webster’s brain in clumps, creating neuro brillary tangles. In healthy brains, p-tau proteins stabilize microtubules (tiny, hollow tubes that form part of the cell’s cytoskeleton and are vital to cell function and structure) and maintain the shape of microtubules by stabilizing chemical bonds. When p-tau proteins build up and form neuro brillary tangles, though, the microtubules they stabilize no longer work, and impair neuron function

The accumulation of p-tau proteins closely associated with over 26 neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimers seemed a plausible reason for Webster’s condition. But what had caused p-tau proteins to accumulate in his brain?

The answer, Omalu suspected, was traumatic brain injury (TBI). He theorized that the repetitive head contact prevalent in American football had caused Webster's illness. He coined a new term to describe this neurodegenerative disease: chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). In CTE, the accumulation of p-tau proteins results in the death of nerve cells in the brain, causing symptoms such as those Webster experienced. Doctors recently discovered the prevalence of CTE in the brains of athletes playing high-contact sports, including American football. Many retired professional football players have gone through what Webster experienced Even student athletes who obtain multiple concussions can be at risk of developing CTE

CTE remains in many ways a mystery. Currently, the only way to know if someone has CTE is with an autopsy. For now, it serves as a diagnostic tool to explain symptoms experienced by athletes playing high-contact sports, and as a call for an increased focus on the consequences of playing such sports, especially for young athletes.


Before 2011, it was thought that only plants could photosynthesize and that some invertebrates, such as slugs, aphids, and hornets could do it with the help of symbiotic algae. Scientists thought it would be impossible for vertebrates to photosynthesize, believing that the immune system of such creatures would reject symbiosis and destroy the foreign substance entering their bodies. What scientists didn’t realize is that vertebrates can also participate in symbiotic relationships with organisms who can photosynthesize like algae and gain carbohydrates and oxygen from photosynthesis that way.

It was scientist Ryan Kerney who discovered that the yellow-spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) evolved to have such a relationship. The yellow-spotted salamander is black with, as its name suggests, bright yellow spots. Yellow-spotted salamanders lay eggs in ponds of water without sh to protect them from getting damaged or infected by larvae. However, sh-free ponds have lower levels of oxygen, resulting in the embryos needing another source of energy and oxygen They have evolved over time to ll this need by relying on algae, which can photosynthesize.

The algae is located inside the cells in the embryo, turning it bright green. The algae mostly enters the embryo once its nervous system is already developed, but they have also been found inside the oviducts of female spotted salamanders. The algae attach themselves to the mitochondria inside the cells, as the mitochondria is responsible for using oxygen and other biological molecules to produce energy. The algae perform photosynthesis and give the oxygen and carbohydrates produced to the salamander cells. The salamander helps the algae by giving them the byproducts of energy production, carbon dioxide d i i h hi h d li i f d for the algae.

Yellow-spotted salamanders are truly magni cent creatures! This incredible discovery enriches our understanding of how this animal has evolved over ime, and underscores the beauty and importance of ymbiotic relationships in nature.


During the summer of 2023, over 9.4 million acres of Canadian land burned with over 420 active wild res, resulting in multiple weeks of dangerous smoke and air quality in several regions of Canada and the United States. On one day, June 7th, New York City was hit the hardest and declared as the city with the worst air quality in the world.

Climate change is driving the increased frequency and intensity of wild res that the world has experienced in the past couple of decades. Global warming induces dry and hot air conditions that can easily ignite biomass and vegetation in places like Texas, Florida, and California, where the climate is arid and hot during the summer and in the fall. Wild res can also start as small res caused by a spark or even a bolt of lightning that spreads across dry plants and trees with the help of wind.

Wearing KN95 or N95 masks are necessary to protect your lungs against the harmful air quality that wild res often cause The special multi-layer fabric of these masks help block harmful airborne particles, known as particulate matter, which range from 2 5 micrometers (PM2 5) to 10 micrometers (PM10) in diameter. These particles can be small enough to enter your lungs and bloodstream and cause or exacerbate lung and heart issues. Closing all windows and using a good indoor air puri er also helps prevent the inhalation of these dangerous particles

It is highly probable that we have not seen the end of the dangerous air quality that New York City and much of the U.S. and Canada experienced on June 7th. Climate scientists have measured that the last seven years were the hottest on record, and predict that the Earth will continue to warm up and experience unpredictable and unprecedented weather conditions and extreme events The United Nations has estimated that if we do not reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a signi cant way in the next ve years, our planet will experience cataphoric and irreversible changes that will endanger all of our lives All of our actions, big or small, do matter Not blasting cold air through your AC over the summer and taking more public transportation are small steps that we can all take to ensure a better and more sustainable future.


Scientists around the planet have been trying to bring back the woolly mammoth, a creature that thrived 20,000 years ago but went extinct due to a warming climate. How can the woolly mammoth possibly be brought back? Is it fair to bring the mammoth back into a world it may not be able to survive in?

The method being used in an attempt to bring back the woolly mammoth (and other extinct creatures) is called back-breeding Back-breeding entails altering the DNA of the Asian elephant, who shares a common ancestor and much of its genetic material with the mammoth. Scientists are attempting to edit the DNA to raise the elephant’s forehead and add hair and giant tusks, so the animal can look more like the mammoth. While they are essentially trying to put together a "book that's been put through a shredder," say some scientists, they hope to have an elephant-mammoth hybrid by 2027

A new company, Colossal, is trying to solve the many problems associated with bringing back the mammoth. Scientists at Colossal are currently working on piercing together fragments of mammoth DNA retrieved from fossils in Siberia. With the information gained from analyzing such DNA, they are attempting to add genes to the Asian elephant’s genome that express mammoth-like traits such as dense hair and thick fat for withstanding cold. The researchers hope to produce embryos of these mammoth-like elephants in a few years, and ultimately produce an entire population of the animal.

Other scientists in Asia are trying to perfect the process of de-extinction. For instance, Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk partners with a Siberian company that supplies him with frozen mammoth meat found in Russia. He hopes to create a mammoth by using an Asian elephant as a surrogate and utilizing existing cloning techniques

Some are skeptical of how ethical this mission is, arguing that the mammoth would not survive well in Earth’s warming climate, as it was a creature that thrived in the extremely cold temperatures of the Ice Age It is also worth considering whether people would prioritize the mammoth’s well-being, or if we would just exploit the animal for entertainment, social media, or commercial gain.


AI. Machine Learning.

ChatGPT. All these words are thrown around in our “tech savvy ” society. But what do these words even mean? And what implications do these cutting-edge technologies hold?

Well, it turns out, these technologies aren't all that new. In 1966, the rst chatbot “Eliza” was developed at M I T In the late 2000s, Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPAs) like Siri and Alexa were created. Fast forward to 2017, a paper called “Attention Is All You Need” introduced the concept of self-attention the idea that language models can select what parts of the input to pay attention to and give more weight to certain terms they deem keywords. This led to the large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT that we have today

We all know that ChatGPT can churn out paragraph after paragraph of text and that it can create a response based on simple prompts. But here’s the catch: ChatGPT doesn’t understand a word of what you say It simply takes in the information you give it, weighs what words are the most important, and spits out what matches in its database of information. ChatGPT determines what words can be output to match the context of your input, but it does not actually comprehend what you are truly asking it to do. So if you input false or misleading prompts, it will most likely output similarly false information.

Now to answer the question we all want to know: Can ChatGPT write my essays? The answer is both yes and no. The scope for text generation is vast, and even GPT-4 doesn’t reach the full potential of generative AI. While GPT-4 is amazing, it isn't perfect. It lacks the emotion that only we as humans can weave into our essays, and word choice that re ects each of our own personalities

AI is rapidly evolving and its widespread use and enhancements are almost impossible to stop, which leaves many wondering about a world dominated by language prediction models. Is this a good thing? Many say yes, citing how bots like these can be used as accessible tutors or assistants, while others share concerns as students rush to use AI as a way to complete assignments without giving thought to what they “wrote.” Although it’s unclear whether the widespread use of AI in society is ultimately a good or bad thing only time can tell we should embrace the exciting possibilities of such technology in a responsible and thoughtful way


Hi, S ources.

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.