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The Sakurajima volcano in southern Japan was caught erupting in early January. Magma bubbles so hot they glow shoot away as liquid rock bursts through the Earth’s surface from below. This image was particularly notable, however, for the lightning bolts caught near the volcano’s summit. Why lightning occurs, even in common thunderstorms, remains a topic of research, and the cause of volcanic


lightning is even less clear. Surely lightning bolts help quench areas of opposite but separated electric charges. One hypothesis holds that catapulting magma bubbles or volcanic ash are themselves electrically charged, and by their motion create these separated areas. Other volcanic lightning episodes may be facilitated by charge-inducing collisions in volcanic dust. n

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Cover: A new breed of Super Lasers are being tested out at an astronomic observatory in Chile to create an artificial star that acts as a scientific control. The telescope can compare the actual clarity of the artificial star to its theoretical clarity and fine-tune its settings to improve the image. 4

Above: An animated picture of the HIV Virus. Over the past month, scientists have had amazing breakthroughs in combatting this deadly disease. These revolutionary breakthroughs, against what is arguably one of humanity’s biggest enemies, will be explored later in this issue. [Source]

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Contents From the Editor Foreword Symbiotic Shenanigans Evil Scientists, Evil Dimensions Stem Cells: The Future of Our Medical Systems Sporting Science Boeing 787 Battery Woes Poetry: Where Science Meets Rhyme The End of HIV’s Reign? Bionics: Close to Completion Science Fiction: 30 Days Till Impact Debate: Piracy, Should it be Tolerated? Down’s Syndrome: Has it been Cured? Evolution in Action: E. coli Physics of the Future Lighting up Dharavi: A Personal Project Science Quiz Brain Teasers Science Fair

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Our Team

Chief Editor Ananya Agrawal,

(President and Founder)

Sumer Vaid

(President and Founder)

Editorial Team Kanishk Tantia (Vice-President)

Arnav Ghosh (Vice-President)

Design Head Ananya Agrawal Writers Block Anvi Pingali Rainha Passi Shanin Bhansali Urmi Mange Facts Krish Balani Teacher Support Mr. Finbarr O’Regan, Principal Mr. Nitin Padte, Head of Secondary Ms. Kajal Manglani, Science H.o.D Ms. Shalini Ghosh Ms. Farah Misquitta Mr. Santosh Sharma Ms. Deborah Anderson ____________________________________

From the Editor...

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” -Marie Curie As the founder of The Ecole Science Association (TESA) , our school’s first science club, I cannot begin to express how ecstatic I am at giving others a chance to express their love for science, something I had always wanted back when I was in the MYP. Science, though an integral part of the curriculum, is often viewed as a boring class where textbooks have oodles of boring facts that need to be “mugged” up. This magazine will (hopefully) dispel any such notions, by presenting a side of Science and Technology that arouses your interest. 2013 has been fortuitous for science and medicine, with potential cures for HIV and Down’s Syndrome discovered (more on it inside), new species discovered, a new DNA structure that could pave the way for ground breaking medical cures and the discovery of new exoplanets that could be suitable for future inhabitation as well as a host of other things. The past academic year has also been benevolent to the intellectual side of our multifaceted campus, with TESA taking over the Science Quiz last term, and starting an after school activity on Mondays for students who are truly passionate about the Sciences. We (TESA) have also worked with Muktangan, donating projects from the MYP and PYP Science Fairs to them so that they can use them. Other events like TEDxEMWS and the IT Club have helped promote intellectual expansion on the campus, and hopefully this will continue for the foreseeable future. The team has worked really hard on this magazine; we hope you love it as much as we do :)

Front cover: Ananya Agrawal Back cover: Sumer Vaid 6

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-Ananya Agrawal

The Principal

Dear Écolites and friends,

First of all I would like to congratulate all those involved in the editorial team of T.E.S.A. for the wonderful work they have done in bringing about this first issue of ‘The Science Mag@Ecole.’ Particularly, I would like to thank Ananya Agrawal and Sumer Vaid, the co-founders of T.E.S.A., for establishing the science club and engaging their fellow students in scientific enquiry and endeavours. Their initiative, commitment, energy and zeal have been commendable. On being presented with the draft, I was immediately struck by the wide range of subject material and the amount of research that had gone into the composition of all the articles. I was genuinely engaged as I surveyed the various topics, the knowledge therein and the manner of presentation. I was confident of its appeal to a wide audience. Now the time has come to present the magazine. The editorial team would like feedback, I’m sure, so that they can go on innovating, knowing they have an eager and inquisitive following. -Finbarr O’Regan Principal

The Science H.o.D

It gives me immense pleasure to introduce the First Edition of ‘TheScienceMag@École’ for which Ananya and Sumer – currently in grade 11– and ‘The École Science Association,’ our school’s science club that they founded; have highlighted interesting facets in scientific innovation, as well as bring out the applications of Science in day to day life. Scientists across the world are engaged in research that brings about novel discovery in technology and medicine to make our lives simpler. In the current edition the team has explored a variety of issues ranging from Medicines to Physics and then from Chemistry to Technology. The articles are quite varied in nature. They discuss the relevance of sports and science, highlight intriguing symbiotic relationships and discuss medical advances like those of Stem Cells, and cures for HIV and subsequently, AIDS. This is far from a comprehensive list of articles, so you should read all the articles yourself. The last section of magazine portrays the importance of Science in our school, discussing events like the Science Quiz and Science Fair. My sincere thanks to all the students, who have submitted their articles for this edition of the Science magazine, as this is just a beginning and I hope they will continue to contribute in the future. Finally, my congratulations to Ananya and Sumer for this publication; it is indeed a remarkable step to popularize Science in Ecole. I hope you all enjoy reading this magazine. -Kajal Manglani Head of the Science Department

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Symbiotic Shenanigans By Ananya Agrawal


ome of the strangest creatures have managed to find themselves photosynthetic companions, and they’ve done so in creative ways. Here are a couple of the more bizarre examples of endosymbiosis (symbiosis in which one of the symbiotic organisms lives inside the other), through which we can learn how photosymbiosis developed (symbiosis which involves photosynthesis as a food source for both organisms). This article will explore two such organisms. Thieving Slugs

year within the Elysia, after which the Vaucheria plastids remain functhe crafty slug feeds on some more tional within the Elysia cells? The anElysia chlorotica is an inch-long, algae-sucking sea slug that hangs Vaucheria to replenish its stock. swer, researchers are learning, is that many Vaucheria genes are already out in salt marshes along the east If Elysia retains only the plastids of integrated into Elysia’s DNA, which coast of North America, where it dines on the photosynthetic algae its algal prey, and does not maintain allows the slug to control the plasVaucheria litorea. Using a horny, the nucleus, which contains most tids and survive photosynthetically. ribbonlike structure, Elysia punc- of the plastid-related genes, how do [below] The Sea Slug, Elysia Chlotures a hole in the Vaucheria cell, rotica slurps up the algae’s plastids, gathers them within its own digestive cells, and feeds the sugars that these new plastids produce—a strategy fittingly dubbed kleptoplasty. Elysia can survive for months on the photosynthetic products of the stolen Vaucheria plastids. What is even more impressive is that these plastids can survive for up to a 8

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Symbiotic Salamanders

The spotted salamander Ambystoma maculatum is another algal connoisseur, but it prefers green algae, particularly Oophila amblystomatis. The symbiotic association between the salamander and green algae was described more than 120 years ago, but it wasn’t until last year that this relationship was proven to be an endosymbiotic one, making A. maculatum the first well-documented case of a vertebrate harbouring a phototrophic organism in its cells. A team of Canadian and US researchers, showed that the embryonic tissues of the spotted salamander contain Oophila inside their cells, though the algae appears to be degraded in adult salamanders.

Key Terms Endosymbiosis: Symbiosis in which one of the symbiotic organisms lives inside the other. Photosymbiosis: Symbiosis which involves photosynthesis as a food source for both organisms. Plastids: Small organelles like chloroplasts in plant cell cytoplasm, that contain food or pigments. Kleptoplasty: A process by which an organism absorbs plastids from another organism by partially digesting the plastid containing organism. Phototrophism: The orientation or motion of a plant or an organism with respect to the direction of a light source. Can be positive (towards a light source) or negative (away from the light source). The exact benefits of the relationship are unknown, but it is thought that the algae aid salamander embryo growth and hatchling survival, and that in return, Ambystoma supports the population growth of the algae. The salamander seems to prefer a top down approach to propagating Oophila, with the algae being passed through to the Salamander’s offspring, thus supporting

Oophila’s growth and proliferation. This contrasts with the approach of the Sea Slug, which is horizontal, i.e. the slug doesn’t help sustain the algue’s population, instead it feeds on the algae freely as it needs. Further Reading news/science/1112699030/marinemicrobes-unusual-symbiosis-092212/ h t t p : / / n e w s i n f o. i u . e d u / news/page/normal/17995.html n

Random Fact: The Appendix The appendix often unfairly maligned and treated as a body part without any functionality, a waste organ that occasionally get infected and cause appendicitis. However, it has recently been discovered that the appendix is very useful for bacterial fauna. They use it to get respite from the strain of the frenzied activity of the gut, as somewhere to breed and to help keep the gut’s bacterial inhabitants topped up. So treat your appendix with respect! n TheScienceMag@École Produced by ‘The École Science Association’


Evil Scientists & Evil Dimensions


By Sumer Vaid

s if three dimensions weren’t enough to summon a million perplexing formulas in mathematic textbooks, bearded geniuses have declared that the world is now made up of ten or eleven dimensions. We are all (hopefully) at least vaguely familiar with the three constituent dimensions; the ones that have ensured our high-school math tests can never contain enough mensuration. These constituents, i.e., ‘The Unholy Trinity,’ are Length, Breadth and Height. Along the shores of the deep universe, mankind has never found anything that doesn’t possess these three dimensions. Everything tangible has height, width and breadth. Why then, are new dimensions needed?

Dimension Folklore: Slade’s Delusions A brilliant (albeit crazy) American wizard, Mr. Slade, dawdled down to London and began performing a late eighties version of Criss Angel Mindfreak. He started intertwining rings without breaking or melting them, took coins out of coin filled bottles, without shattering or unscrewing them and other such holy-shoothow-did-you-do-that things. Sooner or later, he was sued and the court tried him for misleading his audience into believing bizarre illusions. To defend his notorious acts and his relentless “magic,” Slade puffed out his chest and said that he did his sorcery using a different fourth dimension, in which he had befriended “spirits”. Appalled, the court planned to slam him with an even more vig10

orous sentence, when suddenly, out of nowhere, several revolutionary scientists jumped to his rescue. These scientists would go on to become Noble laureates, and even though they still hadn’t earned many accolades, they were still highly respected. A particularly important physicist by the name of Johann Zollner played a leading role in trying to save Slade from becoming a denizen of a British prison. Zollner explained in layman’s terms what Slade was trying to justify, and how his magic worked. Our brain has been wired to think in three dimensions. Evolution has meddled with our brains over the aeons to only perceive the world in three dimensions. Quite frankly, this has happened because evolution revolves only around survival, the

vagaries of complex physics are far beyond its reach. Thousands of years ago, quick instincts were necessary, so hominids developed the ability to react fast and think quickly only amidst the confined universe of length, width and breadth. This choice was much better than perceiving things in other dimensions, which would last only until the proverbial predator came along and took the hominid in question out of the equation, which is against mathematic laws now that you come to think of it. Thus, scientists say, when a baby is born, he automatically knows the three constituent dimensions: Upward, sideward and backward. This is one of the things that Zollner said in Slade’s defence. According to him, we were hard-wired to think in three dimensions; due to

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an unavoidable natural choice. And so, he said, what if there was another murky dimension lurking between these three? What if there was more to the world than length, height and breadth? What if there was a fourth dimension that we cannot think of or visualize? What if Slade was actually right? To understand now, what Zollner said, let’s think of something else. Understanding Dimensions We all know that paintings, laptop screens or any other intangible, yet viewable, world are in two dimensions. How do we know this? Well, if you tried to grab at your Facebook profile in the hope of changing your display picture manually, you would either end up with a broken finger or a broken monitor screen (the latter being more likely). So, you ask, why can’t we reach out at such two dimensional things? The answer is quite simple. Cause they’re two dimensional. There is no height in two dimensional worlds. Only two dimensions, length and breadth are present in these objects. Now imagine a world, with ONLY two dimensions. There is no height, so other people in this unlucky world can’t “reachout” upwards or downwards, but only towards their right and left. If you were gaping down at this world, it would appear nothing different from a flimsy sheet of paper with crawling stickmen. The physics in this sheet of paper will prevent these stickmen from pointing towards you, as you watch them on the sheet of paper; because for this to happen, the stickman would have to come out of the stick-land; an event that is less likely to happen than for you to see a unicorn in your backyard. As there is no

concept of height in this world, the evolution of this mystical land has made sure that these people can only perceive two dimensions, just like we can only see three dimensions. Now think. What would happen if you grabbed a three dimensional ball (a normal ball in our normal world) and threw it into the two dimensional stickman world? You have three options to answer this question: a) The ball would go right into the two-dimensional world and knock up an excuse for a quick game of basketball among the two dimensional stick people. b) The ball would go into the two dimensional world, collide with a two dimensional dude and yank off his two dimensional head. c) The ball would bounce back and smack you in the face instead of going into a fictional world filled with heightless small people. No, you’re not a pathetic primate who has a brain the size of a peanut if you thought that the answer to this question lay in the obviousness of a) or b). The ugly truth, however, is that the answer is c). Now, if you’ve got this right and a smug grin is appearing on your face, be warned. You aren’t much of a genius either, because you tried out the thing by throwing a ball on a piece of flat paper (that’s pretty smart, actually). Or, you may just be wise enough to think more than the folk who thought they could throw stuff in two dimensional worlds. If doing such a thing was indeed possible, you could reach out into your laptop and pull out Windows and Apples. But we can’t do such things because we are in a three dimensional world.

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This same rule applies to the two dimensional world as well. Trying to throw a three dimensional object into a two dimensional world is like trying to stuff an egg down a postbox with a flip of a rectangular opening (no, don’t even think of boiling the thing). The egg would just not fit into the rectangular opening. So, now we know some very important things that good ol’ Zollner said. Everything tangible can be described accurately with three numbers, (AKA the unholy trinity or Length, Breadth and Height), though we would really be ignorant idiots to think that only what we feel, touch or see is actually present in our universe. For goldfish, a spherical glass fish bowl is its entire universe. (A dead fish experiment proved it, so there’s definitely no argument). The goldfish can’t gape outside the fish bowl, so it presumes its cheap glass sphere is its entire universe and spends most of its life floating hopelessly in it. The fish isn’t aware that it is being kept as a petty pet by a bunch of evolving primates who claim themselves to be the most intelligent species on Earth. So, these hidden things that may

be present in our universe, therefore, can’t be seen by humans either because they contain an extra dimension, something more than the unholy trinity that humans aren’t hardwired to under-

stand or perceive. (Don’t start sweating just yet, because even if there are other dimensions and we somehow manage to find them through scientific proof, the mathematics of that dimension won’t snarl their way into our textbooks, exams and physics lessons for the next couple of decades or more. But, yes, we are still stuck with the unholy trinity). n 11

Stem Cells The Future of Our Medical Systems By Rainha Passi


n the beginning there is the stem cell; it is the origin of an organism’s life. It is a single cell that can give rise to progeny that differentiate into any of the specialized cells of embryonic or adult tissues. -STEWART SELL, Stem Cells Handbook esearchers and biotech executives foresee the day when the effects of many catastrophic diseases can be reversed. The damaged brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients may be restored. Severed spinal cords may be rejoined. Damaged organs may be rebuilt. Stem cells provide hope that this dream will become a reality. -GEORGE WOLFF, The Biotech Investor’s Bible

The 21st century, has offered a mass breakthrough to the medical world; in many medical fields patient health care has drastically improved, yet the future of medicine could lie in the hands of what simple regeneration has to offer in the stem cell treatment.

The most common example of regeneration is in the skin. Skin cells are a kind that will regenerate over a period of time. If you fall and scrape your knee, over a gradual period of time the skin will regrow over the scab and cover the scarring tissue. Similarly, stem cell treatment will begin by 12

an extraction of live tissue from the human body, it could be something like a part of the umbilical chord or bone marrow or a little piece of the spine that could regrow and form a tissue over a period of time, this could be used to reconstruct various organs or skin graphs that may be needed in case of an emergency.

This treatment is what could soon become the future of medicine! [Above] This graphic illustrates the Illnesses such as cancer, Alzhei- variety of cells that can be produced mer’s, and AIDS could be averted to by a sole stem cell. give patients another shot at life. n

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Made by Ananya Agrawal

R a n d o m F a c t : S p a c e Tr a u m a If sci-fi movies were to be believed, terrible things would happen if your body were pushed from a spaceship without a suit. But it’s mostly fiction. There would be some discomfort as the air inside the body expanded, but nothing like the exploding body parts Hollywood loves. Although liquids do boil in a vacuum, your blood is kept under pres-

sure by your circulatory system and would be just fine. And although space is very cold, you would not lose heat particularly quickly. As Thermos flasks demonstrate, a vacuum is a great insulator. In practice, the thing that will kill you in space is simply the lack of air. n

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Science By Urmi Mange


ports have integrated themselves into all aspects of our life, from fitness to social interaction. While playing or watching any sport, most don’t stop to consider the wonderful science that lies behind the mechanics of the game, they stop at debating who will win or lose. Well here’s a chance! Every sport, be it baseball, swimming, tennis or boxing, has a bit of science behind it; usually it’s a key principle in the functioning of the sport. This article explores some popular sports in a scientific context. 14


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To many, Boxing revolves around the principles of strength and courage. Even though the players of this sport don’t wear armour per se, they are well protected where it counts. The eyes are one of the most delicate parts of human anatomy, and are fully exposed while boxing. To stop vitreous humours from landing up in puddles on the floor, Boxers wear special gear called an ‘Enswell’ that protects their eyes from harm.

Here, polyethylene’s elasticity and characteristic of a chlorinated swimsturdiness are put to test as a vol- ming pool, which can lead to allergic leyball net needs to both yield to an reactions if not washed of quickly. incoming ball, and stand its own.


Bicycles are a mélange of simple machines, which are linked intrinsically to the laws of physics. Its tyres are made of synthetic natural rubber that reduce the risk of skidding. Other parts are usually made from steel, aluminium and other kinds of metals and their alloys. Cycles are catching on across urAthletics Speed in athletics, is everything. To ban areas as cheap and environhelp this, running surfaces are now mentally friendly ways of transport, made of a synthetic rubber that and thus many urban areas have bounces back against a strike while special cycling lanes to encourrunning. This replaced the older age cycling as a form of transport. clay tracks that were harder to run Not only does this reduce pollution, on. Another aid for running can be but it also reduces congestion, a growfound in the shoes of athletes, as they ing problem in today’s urban world. have engineered air pockets that help Swimming runners gain a ‘spring’ in their step. The perfect sport for a hot summer day. Chlorine, a chemical, is crucial Volleyball Volleyball conjures memories of for swimming as it helps kill misummer, a warm sea spray and the crobes in the pool, keeping it free of gentle sea breeze. Volleyball nets algae and pathogens. As a result of the are made using polyethylene, a dissent towards chlorinated pools, common polymer. Polyethylene is pools now usually use ozone purian environmental hazard and thus fication techniques that are better, needs to be disposed of carefully. and don’t have the chemical residue


One of the most popular sports in the world, soccer, is played by adults and children alike, and has a great deal of science involved. The soccer ball that is kicked and tossed around by our feet is made from a synthetic leather called polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This helps the ball keep its shape in spite of the battering it receives, and also allows it to be springy enough to bounce easily.


The stereotypical all-American sport, Baseball, has a lot of safety requirements. Helmets are made from a hard plastic: acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS); but for comfort, the interior of the helmet is padded with foam.


Tennis depends on fleet wrist work and a good racquet, which leads to a delicately engineered racquet with the right amount of tensility. To achieve this, the best racquets are made of blends with graphite and/or titanium. n

Random Fact: Atomic Space The atoms that make up our bodies are almost entirely empty space, so despite there being so many of them, without that space we would compress into a tiny volume. The nucleus that makes up the vast bulk of the matter in an atom is so much smaller than the whole structure

that it is comparable to the size of a fly in a cathedral. If you lost all your empty atomic space, your body would fit into a cube less than 1/500th of a centimetre on each side! Neutron stars are made up of matter that has undergone exactly this kind of compression. In a single cubic

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centimetre of neutron star material there are around 100m tons of matter. An entire neutron star, heavier than our sun, occupies a sphere that is roughly the size of a small island. Thus, this space may seem a waste, but it serves a purpose, one that is often overlooked. 15

Boeing 787 Battery Woes By Ananya Agrawal


oeing’s 787 Dreamliner, that is undergoing retesting after it was grounded for faulty batteries is a marvel of aeronautical engineering that has turned its back on many design norms. The body of the plane is composed of a lightweight composite material, abandoning aluminium. The problem lies in the use of fire-prone Li-ion battery pack for hydraulically controlled systems like the brakes and the engine starter. Is this merely a result of overambition and overtly innovative engineering?

Boeing wanted to transcend the standard aircraft experience when it decided to use Li-ion batteries in its new flying monster, the 787 Dreamliner, replacing the norm of Nickel Cadmium batteries. This change of battery chemistry isn’t a simple result of a desire to have more changes on paper, but is in fact backed by a legitimate technical aspect. The Dreamliner promotes its lightweight design as a means to reduce fuel consumption, which makes the aircraft both environmentally friendly and less jet fuel hungry. Old NiCd (Nickel Cadmium) Batteries have a low energy density, which means they weigh a lot. Also, after multiple 16

charging cycles, NiCd batteries suffer from the ‘memory effect,’ that effectively reduces their energy capacity. Perhaps most importantly, NiCd batteries also can’t deliver electricity very quickly, so applications like starting a jet engine aren’t practical. Li-ion batteries are more energydense, have bet- ter power delivery, and don’t suffer from the memory effect, so they offer many tangible advantages over NiCd that enable them to be used in new, interesting ways on the 787. They are far from perfect however. They have been known to occasionally burst into raging flames, seemingly at random. These failures happen because something has gone awry in the battery or its design.

To highlight what’s happening, it is imperative that the workings of batteries are discussed first. The787’s battery is analogous to that of a phone or laptop. During the process of discharging, lithium ions are transferred from the anode to the cathode, i.e. the positive charge terminal to the negative charge terminal, leading to the release of electrical energy as a result. The anode is made of graphite, and the cathode, out of Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LiCoO2). If at any point in the process of recharging a Li-ion battery, the battery is overcharged, a problem crops up. The graphite anode will slowly start to lose its ability to hold Lithium at-

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oms, and the newly free Lithium atoms will proceed to crystallize in a metallic form all around the graphite. The metal starts to take the shape of a sharp crystal called a ‘dendrite.’ These dendrites slowly grow, covering the battery and leading to a short circuit, thus releasing a lot of energy at one go. The energy is of course, released in the form of heat and the cell’s temperature rapidly rises. This energy level increase kick starts other reactions, all of which are unwanted, and these reactions produce even more energy, adding to the existing heat. All this while, the dendrites are growing and the cell is shorting more. This process of continual increase in temperature is called ther- Ion, thus negating the circumstance mal runaway. Thermal Runaway is that led to the initial formation of the thus quite obviously, is a trait best dendrite itself. kept at a distance in any battery. Aside from the thermal runaway in the anode, Li-ion batteries have another problem that led to the grounding of the 787: the cathode. The 787’s cathode is LiCoO2, a compound that is both expensive and potentially carcinogenic. A far safer (and cheaper) option is Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4). Lithium Iron Phosphate is also more chemically stable and A sure-shot method of dealing with will be less reactive in the case of a the issue is to change the anode dendrite formation, thus curbing the material to a material that is more thermal runaway effect. strongly attracted to the Lithium The question now becomes: What can be done to mitigate the occurrence of thermal runaway that results from overcharging? The entire root of the problem is indeed the dendrite, so in a nutshell, if the dendrite can be controlled, thermal runaway will not occur.

However, LiFePO4 batteries are not particularly energy dense, which means that they will carry significantly less charge than an identical mass of a LiCoO2 battery. Since the maximum payload for the 787 is over the lofty figure of 500,000 lbs, a heavier battery wouldn’t be a large problem, though the plane would have to be re-engineered to make more room for the larger battery. Also, the reduced charge means that the voltage will be lower, which means that the power supplied by the battery is reduced.

Random Fact: Spray-On Skin ReCell by Avita Medical is a medical innovation that can treat severe-burn victims. Essentially a coin sized piece of skin is taken from the patient, and then mixed with an enzyme harvested from pigs. This concoction is then sprayed on the burn site. Each sprayed on graft expands rapidly, covering up the burn site and minimizing the chances of infection. One major risk of transplants is negated because as the donor skin comes from the patient, the risk of rejection is minimal. TheScienceMag@École Produced by ‘The École Science Association’


These are far from the only problems that currently dog Boeing’s footsteps, but the risk of flaming batteries is the largest. Boeing submitted a proposal with a redesigned battery to the FAA with multiple modifications: a glass case that can contain a fire, more spacing between cells to prevent a


multiplier effect incase one cell experiences thermal runaway and a ventilation system to guard against the buildup of fumes in the battery. These have been designed in a manner that they can be “hotswapped” with the old batteries, which will reduce the time taken to retrofit older

aircraft. Multiple airliners had put their orders for the fabled Dreamliner on hold, but this has now changed with Al Nippon Airways (Japan) and others planning on reinstating their dreamliner routes. n SOURCE:http://

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POETRY Where Science Meets Rhyme Earth Day Why not celebrate earth day every day? “So much greener the environment looks!” you will say. Joyous plants will be growing everywhere, And it will be in our hands to treat them with care. Everyone will have enough fruits and herbs to eat, That they will start forgetting about their meat. The air will be so fresh and clean, There’ll be lesser CO2 then there’s now is what I mean. The sad thing is this will only stay a dream, Unless we try to make an effort!

By Urmi Mange

Guess Who

There is so much work I do, At times I need a break too. I am an emotional kind of guy, Thinking practically is something I do try. I make decisions for you, Even when I’m feeling a little blue. My life is so stressful I can’t sleep, For I have to do heaps. I’m regularly put through a test, To see if I am better than the rest. If you have already guessed, I am your brain. And I have the power to manipulate you.

By Urmi Mange

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By Arnav Ghosh


Possibly the most feared disease on Earth, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus affects over 34 million people worldwide. The cure for the deadly virus that weakens the human immune system has so far eluded researchers; however, new research has rekindled hope, especially in sub-saharan Africa, where HIV claims more and more lives with each passing year. 20

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n the 16th of March 2013, scientists reportedly ‘functionally cured’ a 10 month baby suffering from HIV/AIDS. Although this is not the first documented case of individuals being functionally cure, the report does raise interesting questions. Why is this virus so widely feared? Why is it so difficult to find a cure? How long will we have to wait for a definite cure and what could be its potential effects? Being virus and thus, not considered a living organism [viruses do not meet the criterion for being considered a living organism such as nutrition, and are thus not usually considered as living], common drugs have no effect on it. Antibiotics usually work by attacking a bacterium’s cell walls but since viruses are devoid of this feature, these medicines

have no effect on them. Treating the virus is made even more difficult by the fact that a structure within the virus continuously changes shape allowing it to slip out of any antibody that attempts to deactivate it. However, research has paid off. The HIV virus is one that acts slowly, due to which, looking for a suitable cure has become even more difficult. Over the course of the last 40 years, researchers have developed a plan that shows the evolution of antibodies in response to the virus, allowing them to begin working on stage wise production of antibodies for individuals. Skeptics still believe that the perfect cure is still far way but many researchers believe that a cruder cure may be available in the next 10 years. However, this may still not solve the problem. Existing drugs

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are expensive and with heavy funded research,the same will have to be said about the soon – to – be made. In heavily affected areas like Central and Western Africa, the poverty rate of 47.5% will definitely hamper the effectiveness of the cure in eradicating the virus. Once the cure has been found, it only signals the completion of half the job; those promoting the cure need to ensure that all individuals gain access to it in order to make sure that the transmission of the virus is stamped out & until this happens, the world will have to continue to rely on the regular prevention methods, which can only happen through more awareness. The real question remains. Will HIV meet its end as smallpox did or will it continue to dodge the chemicals and kill all those it seizes? n


Bionics [Close to Completion] By Ananya Agrawal

Cyborgs are an element of sci-fi that manage to attract an avid audience, while leaving others utterly repulsed and nonplussed. Would cyborgs be humans with robotic parts grafted? Or would they be robots with human parts grafted on? Regardless, science has advanced to the point where robotic replacements are being made for many of our body’s organs. Most match up to their expected functions, some vastly supersede them. A few are available, most are in the developmental pipeline and a minuscule minority exist only in the minds of engineers world over. 10 of the most compelling bionic developments will be explored over TheScienceMag@École the few Association’ pages. 22 Produced by ‘Thenext École Science Adapted from

#1 Darpa’s Robotic Arm DARPA's robotic arm is unparalleled, what with the thousands of manhours that have gone into it along with a whopping $100 million, but it just might be worth it: This arm mimics the natural motion of the arm, elbow, wrist, and hand with 27 different movements (including rotation, bending, and extension). What really sets this arm apart is its control mechanism: a cranially inserted microscope that senses and measures the firing of neurons. The data is then conveyed the to computer system on the arm, resulting in a system that is near instantaneous. Current Status: Undergoing FDA (USA) testing, 4-5 years minimum till it hits the market Preceded By: The Luke Arm, made by the inventor of the Segway

#2 Otto Bock’s Hand It begins like a horror story: In May 2011, a Serbian man cut off his hands. What happened next was better. The man replaced them with a robotic construct. To be fair, the man in question had suffered a horrendous motorcycle accident and the lopped off hand was paralyzed when he replaced it, thus restoring its functionality.

The German company ‘Otto Bock,’ much like DARPA, has succeeded in creating a bionic replacement that boasts of natural motion, and in this case, you don’t even have to connect the nerves from the arm to the hand--it’s sensitive enough to pick up signals via two sensors placed on the forearm, which results in motion that is eerily realistic. Current Status: AVAILABLE! Preceded By: The Stark Hand, the i-Limb

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#3 BIONIC PRO DIGITS While the Otto Block hand may be amazing, the Touch Bionic Pro Digits (aka bionic fingers) let you keep your palm and merely replace the fingers. ProDigits are tailored to fit the individual wearing them. Each pro digit set is custom made on measurements taken of the individuals musculature and neuron structure, which leads to a high entry cost. Like the Otto Bock hand and the DARPA arm, the ProDigits are controlled by electrical impulses, which in this case are detected by myoelectrical sensors. They can pinch and grip as well as detect when they are holding something, which lets you pick up objects without crushing them. Current Status: Easily Available, ranging from USD 57k-73k Preceded By: The Possessed Hand Wristband

#4 Power foot biom Hugh Herr, the head of the MIT Media Lab’s Mechatronic Group is both the creator and a user of the PowerFoot BiOM which he created after losing both of his legs as a result of frostbite caused by a blizzard while he was hiking at the age of 17. The PowerFoot isn’t significant because of its creator though, it is significant for being one of the most advanced prosthetic legs there is. Rather than being a mere spring like those of the BladeRunner, The PowerFoot BiOM senses the environment and reacts accordingly. Essentially, it’s as efficient as an actual leg and simulates the calf muscle’s motion as well as the movement of the Achilles tendon to make walking feel more natural. For every step taken by its user, the BiOM senses data at 250 points and then instantaneously processes it to determine how best to react: how to extend, how to twist. Current Status: Early Stages of Market Release Preceded By: Cheetah Prostheses (think Blade Runner) 24

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#5 Knee-ankle coordi


This prosthetic knee is the most advanced there is out there. It supersedes the traditional passive prosthetic, and is actually powered. It is currently undergoing development and testing at Vanderbilt University and is funded largely by the NIH and NSF in the USA. Because it is a powered prosthetic, users do not need to drag the affected leg aimlessly across the floor. Instead, they can employ a traditional range of motion and expend less energy than they would have otherwise (3-40%). Being powered also means that users can easily climb up stairs and inclines, a task that is usually quite challenging for those with passive prosthetics. It is also outfitted with a range of sensors and a microprocessor so that it can adjust its motion to the user’s gait and tread. Current Status: Not Publicly Available Preceded By: Ossur Power Knee

#6 Retina Implants

Retina implants of yore were effectively video cameras plugged into the brain, offering a minimal level of detail. Currently, researchers at the University Eye Clinic in Tübingen, Germany, have implanted a chip into the patients eyes, doing the retina’s job: converting light that hits the eye into electrical impulses, and feeding those impulses into the optic nerve. It is able to restore eyesight to people who’ve become blind due to retinal damage, and has been successfully tested on 11 patients so far. Efforts are being made to make the chip and its powersupply small enough to be implanted below the skin and have a higher resolution, which will mean that it has more practical applications. Currently, only large text can be read at distance of a few feet, which really limits its real world use. Current Status: Still Under Development Preceded By: LED Driven Eyes by Patrick Degenaar

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#7 EPAM: Eyelids The Electroactive Polymer Active Muscle (aka EPAM) is a piece of silicon that can contract/expand depending on voltage, which is exactly how muscles work. When blinking is needed, the brain sends a signal to the EPAM module which expands or contracts, and there you have it: the artificial blink. An inability to blink is an aftereffect of stokes, facial injuries and certain muscular diseases. It leads to blindness or corneal ulcers, so the development of the EPAM is no mean feat. Due to EPAMs general nature, it is expected that it will work in place of many other muscles as well and thus restore muscular function to those suffering from Parkinson’s and other degenerative diseases. Current Status: Not Publicly Available, Undergoing Testing Preceded By: None

#8 Cochlear MobileApp.

Cochlear Implants, though increasingly common, are still quite expensive. They also have serious limitations as the hearing restoration that they befit is quite limited, thus making it hard to justify the degree of expenditure needed. The Cochlear Implant Lab at the University of Texas at Dallas has developed an idea that can revolutionize Cochlear Implants: linking them to smartphones. Linking bestows two major benefits: control, and record. Current implants are inflexible, user’s cannot adjust the implant’s sensitivity depending on the environment, but with a smartphone application, users can easily control the device’s output in terms of its volume and frequency modulations. Furthermore, smartphones can be used as dataloggers to record usage data so that researchers can find novel ways to adapt the product to the requirements of the audience. Current Status: Undergoing FDA Approval Preceded By: Regular [i.e. non smartphone] cochlear impants


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#9 Inner Ear Prosthesis The inner-ear disorder, Ménière’s disease, is caused essentially by a buildup of fluid inside the ear, leading to a disturbance of an individuals innate balance and causing random episodes of nausea inducing vertigo. Current treatments are not entirely ineffective, but as many as 15% of all sufferers need to undergo surgery that completely eviscerates the functions of the inner ear. The Inner Ear Prosthesis (right) sends an electrical signal directly to the vestibular nerve, thus bypassing the damaged inner ear. Current Status: Undergoing Testing Preceded By: None

#10 Pulseless Heart


Artificial hearts have taking upon varying personas over the decades, from small pacemakers to large, unwieldy heart-lung machines. Drs. Billy Cohen and Bud Frazier at the Texas Heart Institute have introduced yet another one into the fray. Instead of trying to replicate the “pump” of the human heart, they have gone in a novel direction, engineering two Archimede’s Screw like contraption to make the blood “whir” along the circulatory system. Designs like this have never been attempted before because it has always been assumed that the existence of a pulse is mandatory for health, but it seems to be the opposite. A pulse has no value, except for the heart, which can only gain its nourishment in between beats. The Innovation on display here is similar to that of the air plane, where initial designs with flapping wings were replaced with entirely different, inorganic seeming substitutes. Current Status: Used Successfully in Calves, and one Human Preceded By: Mechanical Artifical Hearts, which have high failure rates

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30 Days Till Impact

Science Fiction

By Shanin Bhansali


e was lying down eyes closed, wishing to drift away into the vast infinity of the void. Sarmx was not generally prey to negative thoughts. But Sarmx was guilty, not only for the innocent blood on his hands but also for the blood and energy he had wasted on a cause he no longer supported. He had aided the overthrow of the old rulers only to be disillusioned by the new government. He switched on the V.T.D. - a brown box with a faint smidgen of writing on the top spelling “doomsayer”- to check the news on the ongoing battle in the deep seas. As the V.T.D. speaker articulated the horrible war statistics, he lamented the brave souls lost. “The battle was one of the biggest tragedies of our race, not only are there no survivors from either side, the...” Sarmx’s world turned black. What he feared the most had happened. He blamed himself for this huge calamity for he had been one of the strongest advocates and followers of the fanatic amoral leader Jafthk. Jafthk was a product of his birth and upbringing in hard times, when the rulers exploited the workers. His brother Handermath was bludgeoned to death with a blunt mace right in front of his eyes when he was a mere child. This calamity was such that it scarred him for life, turning him into a brother without a brother. 28

Sarmx picked the last bathing station in the communal washroom. It was empty and dry, like his mind at that time. Standing under the kaput shower, he thought. “Should I talk to Jafthk? Or should I not do anything about this? Should I assassinate him?” As he stepped out of the shower his cousin Halmrt questioned, “Where have you been?” He replied in a morbid tone “Where I was!” Not looking back, he marched to his room. He realized that if he did nothing about Jafthk, his race would see even harder times than those under the old rulers. Dressed in a simple grey shirt and brown trousers, he slipped out of the building. A ray of light caught his eye, refracting over a transparent water tanker, all the seven colors split evenly providing a visually enriching start to the day and hope. As he approached the vending machine at the subway station to grab a quick snack, an old man pleaded for money. Sarmx gave him some loose coins. A bystander scoffed, “Why did you give him money, he is a refugee from the Pitcasmli province, our sworn enemies... are you not a patriot?” Sarmx was furious, “I am from the Herdenmullers race, and so is he. He is just an exploited worker who has come here for a better life, something this government failed to do. Please excuse me, I must leave.”

Without looking back he boarded the train. He got off on the cryptic streets of Schleftic Islands, where faint opera music played in the background. He proceeded towards the big Bastille. Wondering if he would find Jafthk in, Sarmx identified himself at the reception. “No, Mr Jafthk has not come in today. He will be expecting your presence tomorrow” the receptionist said. To this he replied, “As I be will expecting his. Have a nice day.” ***************** In the province of the Pitmiscali, the sky was pink with zeppelins zigzagging about in a disorderly manner, and the land was stained with the blood and sweat of the workers. They worked for the gain of a handful of bureaucratic and corrupt elite, who worshipped at the altar of Mammon. Extreme measures were taken to meet their impossible expectations, leading to famine and malnutrition. The most horrifying outcome was the distinct separation of the classes. Pierre had taken all the blows he could take - long working hours, short life expectancy and lowly daily wages. “If this is life, it is not worth living” he proclaimed to a angry mob, “Fellow family members, the rich think of themselves to be to higher compared to us. However the sky is not the limit. There is the unclaimed outer space, let us make that our space. They may claim the sky

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but we claim the ground. They are nothing without us. Revolution is at the brink.” Pierre was a cofounder of the secret faction of the Huers. Hue was an upper class slang to describe the working class. On the contrary, the workers used the word ‘Huers’ to classify themselves as rebels. The mob burst out into a revolutionary roar. They pledged their allegiance to the cause by vowing to discontinue the services they provided to the upper class. The responsibility of recruiting and training an army of able bodied Mullers and arm them with black market armament was entrusted upon Pierre, who voiced his belief, “I am not doing this because I enjoy it, I am simply doing this because it is either Do or Die. Our future is like clay in our hands. We will now choose how we mould it.” The rallied men were euphoric with the contagion of high morale. The elite were least bothered by this radical, rapid and sudden revolution, at first. Too late they realized the gravity of the situation. A council meeting of their Heads was called. Their chief Maressnt called the meeting to order, “Gentlemen, we are seeing a time when the Hue have started to learn what really is happening to them. We need to crush them and force them to succumb to our will. I have a plan.” The Board seemed uncertain about this. Andrscon spoke up, “If we go by what you are implying, not only will there be mass genocide, there is going to be political unrest for the foreseeable future. Sure there will be benefits, but these benefits are for the short term. We want to gain their confidence. We need to introduce a new type of organization responsible

for domestic affairs pertaining to the proletariats.” Another minister spoke up, “We should introduce them to the Ooparwala. It will induce them to stay within the precincts of what the Ooparwala commands and buy us time to think of a better idea to control the masses. I propose we build a fabulous house in which people could come and sit and chant in his name and create many special days in which there will public celebrations, at least this will ensure their allegiance to us.” The whole committee became caught up in internal dispute - myriad and multiple ideas flew about. A consensus was hard to reach. “The answer is inevitable,” Andrscon finally proclaimed, “Civil unrest means civil war is around the corner.” Maressnt asked, “What is the likelihood of us winning the war, Commander Daneils?” Commander Daneils looked pale as he replied, “We have a high probability of losing this war, not only because they control our supply line, but also they outnumber us.” Maressnt had heard enough. He chose to devise another means of reconciliation. Instead of tackling them head on in the battlefield, he chose to employ a more peaceful if devious method, and in all likelihood the most beneficial for all parties. He called for a meeting between Andrscon, Pierre and himself in the large Conference room only used for the most important State matters. Pierre entered the room and took the proffered seat to Maressnt’s right. He taunted, “Since when did the upper class start mingling with the lower class? I thought you considered us to

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be sub humans. Still you try to communicate with us?” Maressnt replied “I have never seen or even heard anyone I know in the upper powers say anything racist about you. Anyway, I would like to discuss what the future holds for us, I would also like...” Pierre replied, “ I can smell some fear. Fear tastes good especially when it’s from you” Maressnt replied, “No one is scared of you, we just want know what you need to say about your living conditions, how we could perhaps try to improve them?” Pierre in a spasmodic burst replied, “Fake promises is that what you will resort to again? The signing of the Rights Manifesto ensured the same but it has made no difference to our lives.” Just outside the window a presence became visible: a mammoth, dark and eerie shadow was advancing towards them at a surprisingly steady speed. The V.T.D busted out, automatically tuning into an uncharted beam zone... a distinct voice, unfamiliar to the Herdenmullers boomed, “ Hello, fellow life form, it is nice to meet you. We are known to be the Planet Skippers - the ones who have managed to transcend the Circle of Life by comprehending the Universal Truth. Having uploaded our own race within the universe, we are not embedded to the universe. As we are unembedded we can do whatever we desire to; we are the judgmental ones, we will decide if you get to live or not. In 30 days from now, if you do not sort out your differences and become one as a race, you will kill each other and to speeden up that process, we will kill you. It is either act to be one or suffer the conse29

Debate Piracy: Should it


By Kanishk Tantia

Everybody, and I mean everybody, knows the case against piracy. We’ve all seen the commercials, the videos; The slogans and posters have become commonplace enough that we just ignore them. But we still collectively admit that piracy is a terrible thing, don’t we? All while collectively committing piracy, one way or the other. Still, “You wouldn’t steal a car,” now would you? So why steal other content? Isn’t Piracy actively just a terrible, terrible thing? No. First, let’s clear the air about something. That commercial, “You wouldn’t steal a car?” It features stolen music, from an artist who, until recently, did not know that his music was being hypocritically manufactured by AntiPiracy groups and the MPAA without his consent. So, right of the bat, we know that everybody, even the crusaders of justice against the filthy moneygrabbing pirates, is guilty of piracy. Everybody. Even aside from the hypocritical basis of my argument, let’s consider the royalties most artists get for their work. Recording artists in the USA can get upto 25% of the retail price of any disc sold, but are more likely to earn only about 8% anyway. And if you do decide


to buy a completely legitimate, absolutely untarnished, guilt free, morally correct copy of music, you’re going to be spending only about 25% of your time really listening to it. Not because you don’t like the music, but because of this annoying little thing called proprietary DRM. What this does, simply, is ensure that the music cannot be pirated, copied or distributed without the permission of the artist, the publisher, and about fifteen levels of bureaucracy that nobody really wants to deal with. So what next? Well, if you buy your music on iTunes, but want to upload it to…say…a home theatre system, or a flash drive of some sort… tough cookies. That’s not happening. You can, of course, buy another copy of the same song, and run through the same problem again and again. Some of you Christ-like souls may even go this route. Most will give up, go to a torrent website, download the music, and actually listen to it. The gaming industry of course, abuses DRM far more than any other ever has. We all understand that video games, by virtue of being software, are criminally easy to pirate. What the developer industry fails to understand, unfortunately, is that games are expensive. And pricing them higher and higher to keep up profit margins in the face of non-existent hordes of pirates doesn’t make sense, and is probably a losing strategy in the long run. But what is even more irksome, by far, is

the use of anti-piracy software in the gaming industry. Blizzard, manufacturer of World of Warcraft, and Diablo 3, should probably realise by now that DRM makes nobody happy. When consumers decided to delve into a game of Diablo 3, they were blocked…By Blizzard themselves. If I buy a game, on a disc, and install all the software on my computer, where it hogs upto 12 GB of space, I expect to be able to play it offline, whenever I want. Blizzard has some difficulty grappling with this concept, apparently, because not only does it have the most ridiculously archaic authentication servers, but also a cruel and merciless banning policy. 25$ for a game is no joke, but 25$ for a game I can’t play? Excuse me while I gather some pitchforks, torches and a horde of angry villagers. I understand, and so do most consumers, that jobs depend on us paying for what we use. That is, of course, the basis of the Capitalist government system. But in the end, the end-user needs to be happy. DRM, anti-piracy software, slow authentication…these are probably just going to drive even more customers towards pirated software, where, like in the good old days, I can just sit down, turn on my system, and play/watch/ hear my purchase. Heck, if I like it enough, I might even go the same way as the majority of pirates, and buy what I pirated just to support your brand. n

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Zone be Tolerated AGAINST By Anvi Pingali

Piracy; it’s unusual; it seems to dominate most of the population as an easy way to get the movies, music and television series they so eagerly wait to see. Unfortunately, piracy is well… everywhere. Whether you know it or not, that favourite movie you’ve searched all over the internet for could always be a pirated copy. Piracy is the illegal copying, documenting, and sharing/ selling of media. The word ‘illegal’ itself should put most people off it; unfortunately, it is considered

an easier or cheaper way out. Often, people are drawn to piracy though they don’t know it. I think perhaps the words ‘free’ and ‘original copy’ from unknown sites or sites that have not been referred to, draws people to it. You may go around asking the teens of today, “So, how do you get your movies and T.V shows?” and most of them will reply, “Off the internet of course.” Now that’s when you can consider, the legal means of selling media like registered DVDs and VCDs are long gone. In fact, many of them no longer watch television, because it is so easily available online. Not all sites have pirated media, no definitely

not, but you can never be sure which ones do. Is it a risk you are willing to take? And if you are a person who has pirated something, what if you get caught? What if someone finds out? My point is, piracy is a risky thing, and once you’ve done it, because it’s up on the internet, you’re never going to be able to take it back. If you do something illegal, you’re always guilty, and downloading pirated media makes you a part of it. No matter how much you avoid the thought that you have downloaded pirated media, it’s always going to be in the back of your mind. So ask yourself this once again: do you really want to take that risk? n

The Internet is both great and terrible. As a source of information, a tool for delivering music and art, it’s great. But spamming ads and piracy of music is terrible. It’s stealing. -Gary Wright Cheng, Jacqui . “Study: pirates biggest music buyers. Labels: yeah, right | Ars Technica.” Ars Technica. (accessed May 19, 2013).

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Down’s Syndrome; Cured? By Ananya Agrawal

Down’s Syndrome is caused by a triple copy of chromosome 21 (trisomy 21), which leads to a number of cognitive and physical delays. This triple copy is a result of nondisjunction during meiosis. Nondisjunction is essentially when chromosomes do not split up into their pairs, which leads to an excess or reduction in the total number of chromosomes in the resultant cells. This can either have no major effect, or in the case of Down’s Syndrome, be potentially fatal. Now researchers from the SanfordBurnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, California, have found a protein that restores some of the cognitive and behavioural disorders found in the disease. Mice who were deficient in a protein termed SNX27 exhibited similar characteristics to mice with Down’s syndrome—namely, they had fewer glutamate receptors, which are important for learning and memory.. The researchers also showed that in mice with Down’s syndrome, the protein is blocked by a molecule encoded on chromosome 21, and produced in excess in Down’s syndrome mice as a result of their trisomy. When the team supplemented SNX27 in the brains of mice with 32

Above: The non-disjunction that results in the presence of 3 chromosomes in the 21st position is highlighted in the image Source:

Down’s syndrome, they could see restoration of the glutamate receptors and improvements in memory deficits. “In Down’s syndrome, we believe lack of SNX27 is at least partly to blame for developmental and cognitive defects,” senior author Huaxi Xu told BBC News. “This particular study is of interest; however, the genetic causes of Down’s syndrome are very complex and we are still a long way away from the development of therapeutic treatments that might lead to improvement to cognition in people with Down’s syndrome,” Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down’s Syndrome Association, told the BBC.

WHAT IS DOWN’S SYNDROME Down’s syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that leads to impairments in both cognitive ability and physical growth that range from mild to moderate developmental disabilities. molecular-roots-down-syndrome/

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Evolution in Action: E. coli

What happens, when a single flask of innocious lab bred bacteria is yet another source of conclusive proof of evolution? A 25 year old experiment using E.Coli attained completion a few months ago when the bacteria gained a new ability that was previously absent: the ability to aerobically metabolize a chemical called citrate. E. coli lost that trait more than 13 million years ago, so when bacteria in one flask started gorging on the chemical, scientists were fascinated. As the scientists had maintained record of each generation of E.Coli grown, the diver-

By Ananya Agarawal

gence in the evolutionary pathways could be traced back. This marvel required several genetic changes that took place in three phases over thousands of generations.

hibit this slow and gradual change as opposed to rapid changes. Thus, due to a lack of evidence scientists have assumed that evolution happens in spurts.

Deciphering the wrinkles and wrangles of the bacterium’s genome could help scientists explain gaps in the fossil record, gaps that provide further evidence of evolution and more knowledge. Geneticists have long asserted that modifying a species’ appearance or metabolism (as is the case with evolution) requires minute changes in DNA. The fossil record is woefully silent on this front, lacking forms that would ex-

The story of the evolution of this E.Coli shows how both can be true. Many genetic changes — some still unknown — had to happen over several years to allow the bacteria to consume citrate, but the ability seemed to appear virtually overnight. With such laboratory evolution experiments, one can really get at the inner workings of evolution. n loom/2012/09/19/the-birth-of-the-new-therewiring-of-the-old/#.UZpmOanUPxE

Random Fact: No Arsenic Life Two years ago, a group of researchers claimed to have discovered a bacterium that could survive solely on the potential bioweapon Arsenic, which led to hopes for a cure. Other researches were unable to replicate the results however , leading to a great deal of controvery. . Another group of scientists have now shown that though the bacterium is great at tolerating arsenic, like all other life forms, it needs phosphorus for growth. n TheScienceMag@École Produced by ‘The École Science Association’



Physics of the Future By Sumer Vaid

he future is here. Humans are much more ‘star-trekky’ than what most lads around here think they are. It’s just that a lot of the awesome inventions that can truly change our life have already been theorized and already tested at a small scale; but the ultimate perfection required to suit humans is what is mostly missing. We have technologies that can teleport. We have technologies that can turn us invisible. We have technologies that can lead to a doctor dancing on “Mama Mia”. We have the technologies that can make Star Trek’s universe appear like a petty fairytale. But what’s missing amid this plethora of awesomeness is the testing of these inventions on humans.

Essentially, we are far more developed than most of us know or thought. Very few people know that such sort of technologies ALREADY exist in our world. We can already teleport, become invisible and time travel on a small scale. Yesterday’s fiction is today’s reality, literally. But today’s awesome reality of teleportation and invisibility is only tested by the math wizards and physics gurus. Commoners like us don’t get a chance to get our hands onto the cool stuff. Most of us think that the coolest gadgets that a human can possess in today’s world is nothing more than a 17-inch Apple MacBook Pro with Intel’s hyper threading i7 core processor that costs more than a car. So, I have decided to reveal an entire world of existing technologies to you; the real cool stuff that will make you want to abandon your lowly life of blackberries, apples, windows and vegetables. You probably won’t believe the fact that these types of technologies can actually exist (much 34

less the fact they already do); but my One such genius was Leonardo Da friend, mistakes are a part of learning Vinci; the phenomenal artist who painted the Mona Lisa. Da Vinci was Moore’s Law and a true “all-rounder”; a guy who got to the Digital Age paint, fly, design, build, think, watch, Let’s see, firstly, how the world’s most tell, deduce and do a lot more things important invention came along and to the very best of human ability (he revolutionized science. The personal was so talented that he outdid most computer played an essential role in of the geniuses in almost any field giving science its lover; someone who of science and time). In fact, he was could sit and perform all tasks for us. so good, that historians think that Science could theorize, the computer no other human in the history of could test; the perfect combination. mankind can match this voracious The first trials of a machine intelligence. In the modern world, that could compute and calculate go Da Vinci would be a combination to a 600-year ago Italy, by the partic- of Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, ular hand of a man who was a genius. Stephen Hawking, Roald Dahl, Van Every once in a bunch of centuries, a Gogh and probably any other known genius of a man like this comes wad- talented person you can think of. dling down from his hut and makes some of the craziest inventions and As a matter of fact, his hunger to bediscoveries. This genius is normally come a know-it-all was so strong, that far ahead of his primitive times and it made him do gross, serial-killer makes accurate predictions, theo- like things. Late in the night, Da Vinries and mechanisms that we end ci used to creep out into graveyards up using hundreds of years later. and dig up corpses, which he used to slice open mercilessly and perform medieval post mortems, all so he

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could study the structure of the human body to make detailed sketches and notes. In short, he was the ideal 21st century student; something like what our teachers would love us to be. Being a Christian, doing such a deed would mean that Da Vinci would get punisheded by the Pope, signing his entry ticket to hell. So, to hide the blood on Da Vinci’s arms and blunt the smell of rotting organs, Da Vinci’s father used to give him a bath with red wine while the local Christian police came to each house searching for the traitor. Anyways, what does a morbid, yet diversely talented man have to do with the laptop I am typing on now? Well, quite frankly, Da Vinci has been rumored to be the first to propose the model of a working computer/programmable robot. Da Vinci was quite ahead of his 1452 AD age. So, while Italians back then were busy figuring out a way to spice up their spaghetti, Da Vinci was designing flying machines, computers and robots. No one ever seems to have found the designs for his proposed computer as such, but scientists have proudly demonstrated how Da Vinci’s programmable robot would work beautifully if actually built today. Starting from Da Vinci, the concept of a computer sprouted around various parts of the world. Some of the smartest minds around the world wanted to create a calculator that could make hour-long complex calculations the work of a second. Attempts to make a computer can be seen in the efforts of the Greeks and the Babylonians. In one an an-

cient Greek ruins, a device known as the Anthikythera was found. The Anthikythera was probably the coolest Greek invention because it predicted the positions of the planets and the moon extremely accurately; at a time when half the people thought that a thunderstorm was a result of the great god getting annoyed. In fact, Andrew Carol, an Apple software engineer, rebuilt the entire device using Lego (yes, that’s how bored he was), and also predicted the solar eclipse of April 8, 2024 accurately, using this device. Probably the first model of an actual computer computer that actually worked was Charles Babbage’s (no, it’s not cabbage) Difference Engine; a truck of a gadget used to perform polynomial calculations and arithmetic. More progress on computer sciences was soon to come. A partnership between IBM and Harvard created the first programmable digital computer in the United States, the Harvard Mark I. Computers around the world soon went digital from analog (wires replaced gears) and before we knew it, the massive wooden computers turned smaller, went electric and became more efficient. With the invention of the much needed transistor, the scientists finally dumped the massive vacuum tubes and bundles of wire that filled entire rooms. Computers adapted to a more portable sort of a room; a microchip. (A room as big as your palm! Funny!). So eventually, along came a portable computer, after decades of research and various massive rooms filled with wires and disks, we finally came up with something that could kick ass and tell the abacus goodbye.

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Once computers went portable, they also started becoming cheap and available to all. More and more technology giants like Apple and Microsoft played heads on. They spent billions on researching stuff that could make computers cheaper, smaller and cooler. And following this process, one day, the computer became a household gadget from a rich man’s prestige icon. Sometime around then, Gordon Moore, who would go on to found Intel, came up with a standard law of computing. He said that computing power as of capability would double every eighteen months. This means, for example, if you have bought the best computer in town with the best specifications such as a fast processor and a good memory; your computer will become the next- to-best after eighteen months because another computer, with a better memory and a better processing speed will be commercialized. It is like saying that every eighteen months, computer scientists around the world will be able to fit even more stuff on an even smaller chip. So every eighteen months, Intel manages to pack more stuff than it has ever done before, onto the smallest chip it has ever yet made. So, one day, following this senseless but very valid law, a tiny speck of plastic which is invisible to us might contain the entire world’s data? That’s more likely than physics becoming fun, for sure. But this law, like all other boring scientific laws, has been created to make us innocent teenagers look like overgrown money suckers. Why? Be35

cause, every time you spend a thousand dollars on getting the best laptop in town, it only takes 18 months for it to become the ‘ancient’ one. So, you now have to get another one. Well, if any adult or parent is reading this book, I would like to tell them that teenagers are not money suckers! We are simply following a law! So the next time your teen comes and tells you he or she needs a new laptop, you can consider suing Intel or Gordon Moore instead of explaining the value of money to your teen. But obviously, while having technology grow at the speed of light, we have a ton of advantages too. For example, the smartphone snuggled into your pocket has more computer power than all that NASA had when they chucked a couple of humans on to the moon in 1969. Imagine the millions of calculations that had to be done manually by the NASA scientists were all managed by a computer power that was similar or probably less than that of your damn Blackberry Curve. So, at this rate of technological growth, say sometime around 2030, the current computing power of NASA will once again be confined to the power in our phones. NASA’s computer power currently consists of 1,024 quad-core Intel Xeon processors and performance capabilities of 25 to 67 teraflops (trillion calculations per second), which is like saying that NASA uses the computers of over half the technology consumers in the USA. So, 19 years from now, the power of over half the computers in the United States will get rigged into our iPhones? Hopefully, yeah! Which 36

means you will be able to watch over a hundred movies listen to over a thousand songs, talk on the phone with over two hundred people; all at one time. Pretty cool, eh? But this is where we hit the snag. A lot of people around the world think that Moore’s law is going to collapse. Which means that sometime in the future, it will take a longer time for Intel to pack in way more stuff onto way less space. Why? Essentially, our good old Moore friend came up with the law after understanding how Intel would make chips that would power computers. Moore said that with help from the perils of subjects, otherwise known as Electricity and Chemistry, we would make things on our chip even smaller than they were. A microchip is like a slab of cardboard, on which you have different parts that make a computer work. What Moore assumed, while making his law, was that every 18 months, a certain such part present in every computing device, known as a transistor, would become smaller and smaller and thus increase in quantity on the microchip. A transistor basically makes sure that all the little parts in your cool gadget get just the right amount of energy (electricity), so those parts don’t get burnt and stop working or so those parts don’t completely run out of ammo. It’s like saying that different servants in your house need to be fed different things to make sure they work. So, you a hire a separate guy who makes sure that these servants get their food demands. Without this special guy, your servants

won’t work all that smoothly because they wouldn’t get their demand of food and so your cold coffee won’t be all that nice. In simple words, this particular guy is very important to make sure your servants are well fed and therefore to make sure that your house is nice and perfect. Basically, the more we have of these little things (transistors), the more precise amounts of electricity we can give to your little computing parts. This makes sure that they last longer while they also work much more efficiently. So, as our very useful little lads are becoming smaller and smaller, we are able to put more and more of these into our circuits which go into our computers. So, as we give the perfect amount of ammo to all the little parts in our iPhones, they work for a longer time. Not only that, but they also work much better when they get the precise amount of electricity. This means that they not only work much faster but they also work much better. So, as transistors become smaller, your gadget could fit in more of them. Now, because your gadget would have more transistors, it would be able to give all the parts in your gadget the exact amount of electricity they need. This would make your gadget work better. Moving on, if you want a very fast gadget, it will have lots of other parts in it. If you have more parts in your gadget, you would also need more transistors to give these extra parts the right amount of ammo. So, as transistors become smaller, we keep adding more extra parts to your gadget in the same size, because the space previously used by the

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transistor is now being used by the extra part that makes your gadget fast. And that’s exactly how Moore’s law works. According to him, the smaller things get in our computing world, the faster the computer will get, because now we can fit in much more into that same small space. BUT HOW SMALL CAN EVERYTHING BE? We all know that everything is made up of tiny atoms. If you go beneath atoms, you find a whole lot more of boring physics. The point is, you can’t build anything out of the parts inside an atom. The atom is the smallest scale to build stuff at. So what happens when your tiny transistors that we earlier talked about became so small that they were soon no bigger than a atom itself? What happens then? Well, for sure our phones would become a whole lot stronger but what happens after? What happens when we can’t make our transistors smaller? Because transistors can’t become smaller than atoms, our computing power remains the same for the rest

of our lives! And it probably may even collapse, because hungry, idiotic consumers like us will want more and more of it. Imagine being able to play a million different games on your iPhone 20. You would obviously want to wait for an iPhone 21 on which you can play a billion games! But that’s when it hits you, there will be no iPhone 21 because the transistors can’t be made smaller and the speed of your phone will remain the same forever. You will then, obviously get pissed and probably stop using computers and your phone out of frustration. What’s the point? It’s not like they’re going to get any better; and after all, having a billion apps open at a time is much cooler than having a million apps open at a time. Then your friends copy you. A thousand other people copy your friends. Even more people copy your activity and BOOM. Soon, no one even wants an iPhone. The demand dies out, Apple starts making a loss. No demand, no

supply and no Apples or oranges. So, in very simple words, sometime in the near future, Moore’s law may collapse (Yeah! One less law to learn!), and technology will still grow, but at a slower pace; until we come up with a new sort of material that can be made smaller, faster and better. Now that we know how computers may not grow all that fast in the future, we can say that the future of computing lies in other, different fields. But as we saw, the development of the computer and its present state was generated over hundreds of years. The ancient Greeks who came up with the Anthykyera didn’t exactly think that their invention would be used to power a personal computer, a thousand years later. The computer wasn’t something that came into someone’s head one day and sat on his desk the day after. It was an ongoing and lengthy process that was needed to shape the personal computer.

So, now that we know how probably the world’s most useful invention came about, let’s glance at the crux of the matter; or the cool stuff that outdoes the very definition of coolness. The teleportation machine is somewhere midway in its development. If we compare it to the development of the computer, it has reached the “Harvard Mark I” stage. We know how teleportation would work and what remains to do is testing it on humans. Apart from the testing, we also have to find a way of making it cheaper. The invisibility cloak lies somewhere in that phase too. But as for the time travel mechanisms, we need a revolution. The day we can come up with something that travels close to the speed of light, we would have a semblance of a time machine. But keep one thing in mind. Great amounts of work in these fields have been done. We are far ahead in the field of teleportation, time travel and invisibility than any of us ever thought. n TheScienceMag@École Produced by ‘The École Science Association’


This bat-like spectre is one that Gotham City would be proud of, but it graced the skyline of Cochem, in Germany. The spectre was formed by the diffraction of moonlight (i.e. Reflected sunlight) by the water droplets of the thin clouds passing by. 38

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Lighting up Dharavi An Insider’s Perspective on the MYP Personal Project By Arnav Ghosh “…the journey is long & in the end the journey is the destination.” ~ Lucas Scott


he MY Personal Project. Introduced to us first in 9th grade, the personal project is sometimes simply depicted as any other project with the only difference being that students get to choose their own topics. However, the personal project, when well chosen, is the IB’s own method of promoting the exploration of the skills developed by students over the intense 5 years of the MYP curriculum. Yes, all of us were definitely terrified at being the given the challenge of making a product of high quality from the almost infinite topics we could think of but with it came a sense of independence, of knowing that we could choose interests that contained only slight academic overtones. Mine was to look at how I could solve the problem of poor lighting in the crowded slums of Dharavi. When it comes to choosing a topic for the personal project, the motivation can be literally anything from a newspaper article to a helping out an NGO for the last 3 years. In my case, it was the fact that I had been passing Dharavi everyday & could witness for myself the terrible condition it was in. In many ways the Personal Project is extremely research based 40

with the high emphasis on the gathering of relevant information from a variety of sources in order to be able to use this information to create a suitable product. When it came to my project, virtually no stone was left unturned. Resources went beyond simply internet & books to the people living in the area to NGOs working with them to our very own DT teachers. Being part of the MYP curriculum no part of the project could be devoid of the interaction between us, students, & our community. In this sense, although the project was primarily focused on the actual creation of the product, the learning that came with achieving the goal, including awareness about the day to day activities carried out in the slum as well as the use of proper development techniques in order to create a successful prototype are things that will definitely stay with me forever. Often one finds that in such a large project (lasting almost a year), sustaining the motivation to continue is difficult. However, for this reason the project needs to be thought out in such a way that each stage of the project continues to pull out new challenges & provides opportunities to learn new things. Having completed the investigation stage, de-

signing the product was the next logical stage, almost an instinct by now as a result of having followed the DT & IT design cycle for 5 years. One of the reasons why the DT curriculum is so intense is due to the thinking that it requires when it comes to the coming up with solutions to the problems, the Personal Project was no different. Armed with a sack of graph sheets (needed for the large number of ideas that would be discarded), 2 erasers, a sharpener & an HB pencil, the design stage eventually resulted in the production of 6 working designs that included measurements, the use of angles, materials & annotations – all the ideas ingrained in us from 3 DT & 7 Science classes a week from 6th grade onwards. The creating stage brings together all the stages of the entire project in order to create a product that can be used to show the evidence of learning. Although this may seem to many as the ultimate goal of the project & in some ways this may actually be true, however, the learning from the previous stages is something that should be valued more, seeing as these are the skills, nurtured during these six months, that will come to much greater use later on. n

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Science Quiz ‘12

By Sumer Vaid On a sleepy Thursday after-lunch assembly, when the MPH chairs ready themselves for long naps and drooling mouths and the tired MYP ambles into the battlefield and wages war on teenage drowsiness, the Science Quiz is born. The mood is dull, and the conversations even duller. “Yet another boring quiz it is”, think the little one’s who keenly sit - staring at the giants who prepare for them yet another delightful pudding of boring. Oh, couldn’t they be mistaken more. The quiz begins and a giant takes the floor. The nuances of awesomeness radiate from every corner of the battlefield. The little one’s wonBy Urmi Mange, an Participant Science is a subject that we at TESA are truly passionate about, from physiology to the functionings of the universe. This year, members from The École Science Association hosted the science quiz in conjunction with a few juniors, which took place during the science week. This experience was a first for me as this is only my second year in MYP and last year this quiz wasn’t held. According to me they did a wonderful job. Without them I don’t think this event would have been possible. The science quiz consisted of all the three sciences- Biology, Chemistry and Physics. This was an interhouse quiz and there were students from the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth participating. My favourite rounds in this quiz were the first one and the last one. The first round was based on common sense. It

der if this pudding is really all that boring after all. The hosts try to be lamely funny, introducing the quiz and cracking stale sciency jokes that are too cracked to be cracked anymore. No one is asleep yet! Victory is ours! A lot of work has gone in the making of the quiz and it seems as though the work is paying off. The giants commence their firing of questions to the talented group of students seated anxiously on the stage. The first round begins and the red house steals all the points as usual. Round after round, from memory games to scientific knowledge, the red house seems to be owning it up.

Answer after answer, question after question - time flies by and yet we hear no snores, just roars. Logistical issues are a problem and so is the administration but the giants cover it all up with their smiles and laughter. The questions keep coming and the answers keep coming, not all of them correct but hopeful nonetheless. The quiz comes to an exhilarating end, Red house wins by a margin as expected. Very few heads nod sleepily while most talk about science and victory. The mission has been fulfilled, the battle has been won. Science is in the air, and most of it is in the form of nitrogen. n

may have sounded easy but as peo- house quiz and cheer for your house. ple say common sense is very un- The last and final round was a difcommon. We were asked questions ficult one. We were given a choice that made us think of the tiniest of to feel free and choose any of the mistakes in the question through three sciences. From that you could which we formed our answer. Our either choose to answer an easy one logical and reasoning abilities were for fifty points or a difficult one for stretched and warped into ways a hundred points. This round was a we never could have imagined. By real nail biter as it was the decider the end of this round the Hawk’s of who would win the science quiz. (of which I was a part), were at the Even though the hawks decided to top, a position that they maintained play it safe and go for an easy Bioltill the end. The red house contest- ogy question we won the science ants did indeed possess hawk vision. quiz. It was a moment of. A few days On thing that I really enjoyed about later on the day of the science fair all this quiz was that all of us from every of us received medals and certificates grade got to contribute in at least one making this event a memorable one. round, as the topics of the questions Hopefully next years organizers will were similar to what we had learnt in do a wonderful job and carry on our regular science lessons, and didn’t the science quiz so each and every cater solely to Diploma students. The year we can make our science week audience seemed to have enjoyed too more interesting and pleasurable. n as it is always fun to watch an interTheScienceMag@École 41 Produced by ‘The École Science Association’

Brainteasers By Ananya Agrawal


Also, you slowly die due to a lack of oxygen as you try without success to ignite that matchstick.

Vacuum Cleaners work on the basis of there being an atmosphere in which a vacuum can be created. As the moon has no/has a minimal atmosphere, a vacuum cannot be created again so creating an apparatus similar to a vacuum cleaner will result in a failure.

2) NASA IS ON A MISSION TO COLLECT DUST FROM THE MOON’S SURFACE. A TEAM IS PUT TOGETHER TO DESIGN AN APPARATUS THAT AN ASTRONAUT CAN USE TO ACCOMPLISH THIS TASK. ONE MEMBER OF THE TEAM DESIGNS A TYPE OF VACUUM CLEANER TO EXTRACT AND COLLECT THE DUST. HE IS IMMEDIATELY FIRED FOR HIS INCOMPETENCE. WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIS PLAN? Steel will float up the tube if a fluid that is more dense than steel is poured in the tube. Mercury is the only viable option, so the container of Mercury needs to be located and then poured inside the tube.


Hydrogen is merely a fuel. Fuels can only combust in the presence of oxygen, and as the room is seeled, there is obviously no oxygen. Thus, no combustion takes place.


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Science Fair ‘12

By Kanishk Tantia École held its traditional science fair on 22nd and 23rd October and once again, the exhibition pleasantly surprised everyone present with the level of effort and the quality of work done.

École’s annual science fair is a much awaited event by a large portion of the student body, for not only does it give them a break from the heavy and hectic workload that every École student must deal with, it also allows every group the chance to shine with their own inventions, taken directly from that branch of science with which they have the greatest affinity. Be it marvellous salt-water contraptions, or 3 Dimensional, Computer Animated graphical representations of the perfect green city, the EMWS Science fair showcases the scientific genius of

teenagers in its truest form.

All students, from all grades mandatorily have to participate, but this does not dampen their spirits, for if given the chance, most would go ahead with the project anyway. This year was, by far, the most interesting science fair event yet, as the entire student body poured heart and soul into scientific experiments of a complex and immensely challenging nature. While some tested the theories of galvanization, others explored the physics and chemistry of fire extinguishers and fire safety. Yet, on the final day, all were placed on equal footing by an excellent team of judges, comprising of Mr. George Mitov, and Mrs. Kajal Manglani. Without the commendable efforts of this group, one would be hard pressed to award prizes and cer-

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tificates to any group at all, for the equality of quality made it a most difficult event to judge.

The winners all received gifts and smiles from an esteemed board of judges, as well as from the Principal of our school, Mr. Finbarr O’ Regan. Truly, the science fair was an event worth beholding, and I urge ever reader to be ready to commemorate the occasion once more, a year hence. After the excitement of the Science Fair was over, TESA collected 8-9 of the best models from both the MYP and PYP, and took them over to the Muktangan BMC School, where they have been appreciated and heavily used as a valuable teaching aid.


The Ecole Science Association, Ecole Mondiale World School


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This is a journey into what's new in the world of Science and Technology. It has been authored, edited and designed by students at École Mon...

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