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Volume 7 Issue Issue 1414| Jun Jul-Dec - Dec 2013

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Have you enjoyed reading Young Scientists Journal?

Read on for some ideas about how to get involved! First of all, who are these “Young Scientists”? They are…YOU! All our articles are written by – and, perhaps even more unusually, EDITED - by young people aged 12-20. The journal was founded in 2006 by a group of students at The King’s School, Canterbury but now we have authors and editors from high schools all over the world, communicating across the globe by email, Skype, Facebook, etc. The team is managed by the Chief Editor, a student usually in her/his last year at high school. It is the only peer review science journal for this age group, the perfect journal for aspiring scientists like you to publish research.

What if I’d like to write something for the journal? Perhaps you’ve done a science project, coursework, holiday placement, competition or presentation in science which made you proud? It is easy to submit your contribution by uploading it online at and we can accept submissions in a variety of different forms, including pictures, videos and presentations. We are also keen to receive shorter, review articles, and also other material such as news items, competitions, videos or cartoons for the website.

Can I help run Young Scientists? Yes! We love to hear from students aged 12-20 who would like to join our team, editing articles, managing the website, graphic designing, helping with publicity. You gain unique experience of working on an open-access, peer-reviewed, ISSN-referenced journal while still at school, learning editing and journalism skills which will impress any university. Send an email to our Chief Editor, Sophie Brown: or find out more by visiting the Young Scientists Facebook page. And if you are a scientist, science communicator or teacher and would like to know more about how to support the work of the journal, please contact Christina Astin at

Young Scientists Journal All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the editor. The Young Scientists Journal and/or its published cannot be held responsible for errors or for any consequences arising from the use of the information contained in this journal. The appearance of advertising or product information in the various sections in the journal does not constitute and endorsement or approval by the journal and/or its publisher of the quality or value of the said product or of claims made for it by its manufacturer. The journal is printed on acid free paper. Websites: ysj Email:

Issue 14 | Jun-Dec 2013

Contents... Editorial Sophie Brown .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .3

Photography Competition Sophie Brown .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..4-7

Review Articles An Introduction to Chaos Theory Georgios Topaloglou .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..8-11 The Aurorae Andrew Watson .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 12-14 A Sense of Scale Alex Ausden .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 15-18 Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide Lucy Hayes .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .19-20

Original Research Particle Size Optimisation of Sand Adam Dando .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 21-27

News and Events Young Scientist Journal Conference .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .7 Call for Submissions .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . 14 Geoset Award 2014. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . 18 ERRATUM The Young Scientist Journal Issue 14 is designed and produced in PDF and Flipbook format by Nikki Krol, at the Kent Enterprise Hub, Canterbury, UK. Email:

Young Scientists Journal, Issue 13 Title: Crystal self-organization The name of author Arisa Okumura was mistakenly written as Arisa Okumara. Her hometown was indicated as Tokyo, Japan, instead of the correct Nagoya. The mistakes are regretted. -Editor in Chief 1

Young Scientists Journal

Issue 14 | Jun-Dec 2013

Editorial Board Chief Editor – Sophie Brown, UK Editorial Team Team Leaders – Emily Thompsett, UK Rachel Wyles, UK Claire Nicholson, UK Georgios Topaloglou, UK Louis Wilson, UK Louis Sharrock, UK David Hewett, UK Ben Lawrence, UK Tim Wood, UK Robert Aylward, UK

Natalie Cooper-Rayner, UK Emma Copland, UK Fiona Paterson, UK Alex Lancaster, UK Giblert Chng, Singapore Arthur Harris, UK Mei Yin Wong, Singapore James Molony, UK

International Advisory Board Team Leader – Christina Astin, UK Joanne Manaster, USA Ghazwan Butrous, UK Alom Shaha, UK Anna Grigoryan, UK Armen Soghoyan, Armenia Thijs Kouwenhoven, China Mark Orders, UK Don Eliseo Lucero-Prisno III, UK Linda Crouch, UK Paul Soderberg, USA John Boswell, USA Lee Riley, USA Sam Morris, UK Corky Valenti, USA Debbie Nsefik, UK Vince Bennett, USA Baroness Susan Greenfield, UK Mike Bennett, USA Professor Clive Coen, UK Tony Grady, USA Sir Harry Kroto, FRS, UK/USA Ian Yorston, UK Annette Smith, UK Charlie Barclay, UK Esther Marin, Spain Young Advisory Board Steven Chambers, UK Fiona Jenkinson, UK Malcolm Morgan, UK Tobias Nørbo, Denmark Arjen Dijksman, France Muna Oli, USA

Lorna Quandt, USA Jonathan Rogers, UK Lara Compston-Garnett, UK Otana Jakpor, USA Pamela Barraza Flores, Mexico Cleodie Swire, UK

The web-based Young Scientists Journal (YSJ) is an online open access journal, available from It was first published in June 2006, and its unique structure sees research, review and original articles written, edited, and published by young scientists between the ages of 12 and 20. YSJ is where young scientists find their voices and inspiration, and can join in research, the editorial process, or the readership. Published twice-yearly, the Journal is print-ondemand as of June 2013, and continues to be available online. 2

Editorial Young Scientists Journal is proud to present Issue 14. Thanks must go to Fiona Jenkinson who has led the journal to great heights over the past year and has now handed the job of Chief Editor over to me. I am very excited to be working amongst such a committed team of young scientists and I hope to ensure the journal’s continuing success over the coming year. Emily Thompsett and Rachel Wyles are welcomed as the new Editorial Team leaders, taking over from Chloe Forsyth who must be thanked for her commitment to the journal and leadership of the Editorial Team. One of the challenges of a completely student run journal is that every year we lose many dedicated members of the team as they go to University, but we have great plans for the future of the journal and would be interested to hear from any young scientist who would like to contribute in any way from editing to web design and marketing. This issue sees the publication of the winning entries of the photography competition 2013, a taster of which you can see on the front cover which is Jack Campbell’s high magnification photograph of aspirin crystals. Articles on topics ranging from astronomy to mathematics have been put together in this issue, including one original research article in which Adam Dando investigates optimising particle size in sand to improve its efficiency as a water treatment medium. In a world where the availability of safe drinking water is a concern, this article provides an insight into using sand as a low cost method for purification. Georgios Topaloglou explores the science of unpredictability in his article on Chaos Theory whilst Alex Ausden guides us to a new perspective on how we scale things around us in his article ‘A Sense of Scale’, taking us from the Great Wall of China to Superclusters and voids in space. At the other end of the scale Lucy Hayes looks at the uses of the hydrogen peroxide molecule in and outside of the human body. Finally, we visit one of the seven natural wonders of the world in Andrew Watson’s article on the Aurorae, commonly known as the Northern Lights. I hope that you enjoy reading this issue of Young Scientists Journal. I would like to thank all of the authors for submitting their articles to us and all the members of the Editorial and Technical teams who find time for the journal despite their work towards public examinations. Once again Miss Christina Astin and Professor Ghazwan Butrous must be thanked for their continuing guidance and direction.

Sophie J L Brown Chief Editor The King’s School, Canterbury, UK E-mail: 3


Young Scientists Journal Photography Competition 2013 Sophie J L Brown The King’s School, Canterbury, UK. E-mail: This year saw the second annual Young Scientists Journal Photography Competition. We invited students aged 18 and under to take photos using any camera, phone, or other device to compete for prizes according to their age group, related to a scientific theme. These included: the general theme of ‘Medicine in Culture’ open to anyone under 18, ‘Science in detail’ for those aged 16-18 years, ‘Networking’ for those aged 12-15 years and ‘Speedy Science’ for those under 12 years of age. The panel of judges consisted of – Miss


Title: Spectralgesia Theme: Medicine in Culture Award: Winner Photographer: Jack Campbell, UK

Christina Astin (Head of Science at The King’s School, Canterbury), Mr Cordeaux (Director of Art at The King’s School, Canterbury), Ajay Sharman (Regional Manager of STEMnet for South East England) and Duncan Armour (Science teacher at Simon Langton Boys School, Canterbury). I would like to thank them for the time and effort they put into judging the entries. I present the winners and runners up of each category, who received prizes in the form of amazon vouchers.

This is a high magnification photograph of aspirin crystals, taken through a microscope under polarised light. Jack Campbell says ‘Aspirin is one of the most widely used medications in many different cultures throughout the world, so my inspiration for this photo was to capture this familiar drug in an unusual way that is not seen in everyday life. Capturing this photograph involved the use of a technique known as polarised light microscopy. This involves the use of two polarising filters positioned perpendicular to each other in the field of view of the microscope. As the light passes from air into the aspirin crystals it refracts due to the higher refractive index of the crystals. As white light is composed of many different wavelengths of light, each wavelength is refracted to a different extent. This results in the full spectrum of vivid colours in this image.’


Title: Pollination Theme: Medicine in Culture Award: Runner-Up Photographer: Matthew Law, UK

This is a close up photo of pollination in action. Matthew Law says ‘This photo was taken on my trip to Portugal. Bees have now been widely used in medicine – bee stings have been used to treat arthritis and other joint ailments. Honey is full of B vitamins and it can also be used as a topical salve to treat burns and wounds, due to its antibacterial qualities.’

Title: Ciliate of paphiopedilum maudiae Theme: Science in Details Award: Runner-Up Photographer: Tian Yi Yu, China

This is a photo of paphiopedilum maudiae ‘The Queen’, which is a type of orchid. Tian Yi Yu says that ‘the species Paphiopedilum use deceptive methods to lure insects for pollination. They have a big lip that looks like the spawning ground of the Syrphidae species. At first, insects get into the lip, and when they realise it is a trap, the insects will reach the column and take away the anther. At that time, the ciliate is the most important thing – the ciliate on the petals can help the insect climb out of the column and spread this flower’s pollen to another flower. The ciliate is so small that it is difficult to see clearly with the naked eye.’

Title: Heart and soul Nebula IC 1805 Theme: Science in Detail Award: Winner Photographer: Zhang Zhuoxin, China

Zhang Zhuoxin says ‘This is the heart and soul nebula, at the edge of the distant horizon, hidden in the depths of the mystery of the universe, such a beautiful heart of the universe. I spent a week’s time to take it and a month’s time to deal with it. Finally I got such a beautiful photo. I used my teacher star Observatory CSP devices.’

Title: Social Networking Theme: Networking Award: Winner Photographer: Henry Orlebar, UK

Henry Orlebar says that ‘this photo is centred around a large padlock which is surrounded by small locks which are signed and have messages on them. It is in order to represent people leaving their mark of emotion on the surrounding people who read and acknowl5

edge their feelings, in the same way as Facebook and Twitter, these padlocks are people statuses. This picture was taken on the Pont des Arts, Paris. This bridge is covered with ‘Love-locks’ stating people’s love for one another. I took this when on my holiday to Paris.’

Title: Magnetic Levitation Theme: Speedy Science Award: Winner Photographer: Xiaofei Zhang, China

Xiaofei Zhang says that ‘this picture was taken from a science show, where I got the chance to sit very close to the teacher and capture the exciting moments. The black part is superconductor material, the metal in the hand is a coin, and you can also see the air attached with the superconductor, which is because there is liquid nitrogen in the white bowl on the table.’

Title: Networking- justice for the tears and evil Theme: Networking Award: Runner-Up Photographer: Liwen Yang, China

Once Liwen Yang saw that the theme of the competition was going to be ‘Networking’, she ‘came up with two words – nature, and humanity.’ She chose the latter, and says that ‘networking gave a lot of people the hope of life, people from all over the world are linked together through networking, and this great creation represents the intelligence nature has given us. However, on the dark side, networking somehow keeps people at a distance: lies and violence can be disseminated through networking….Therefore, the nun I drew represents love, virtues, happiness and the bright side, while the devil is a symbol of pain, hatred, revenge, and the dark side.’

Title: Engineered for speed Theme: Speedy Science Award: Runner-Up Photographer: Jessica Bennett, USA

This beautiful photo of two cheetahs was taken by Jessica Bennett, who says ‘I was inspired to take this photo because cheetahs are amazing creatures, perfectly engineered for speed. They are the fastest land animals in the world, getting up to 75 miles per hour in short bursts and accelerating to 40mph in three strides. To maximise their speed they are aerodynamic with a slender body, small head, long legs, and a flattened rib cage. 6

They have an enormous heart to pump a lot of blood with large lungs and nostrils for lots of air intake needed during acceleration.’ Thank you to all the photographers who

submitted their photos – in many cases the judging was very close because of the high standard of photos that we received. Several photos were given a special mention which can be seen on the website.

About the Author Sophie Brown is a Year 13 student at the King’s School Canterbury. She is studying Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Maths for A level and hopes to study Chemistry at University


Review Article

An Introduction to Chaos Theory Georgios Topaloglou

The King’s School Canterbury, Kent. UK. Email:


Nature is complex. It features a multitude of systems which, simple though they may be, are unpredictable in their behaviour, and seem not to be governed by the established deterministic laws of classical physics. For many years, scientists ignored such systems claiming that their unpredictability was a result of the limitations in the accuracy of measurements, or pure chance. Others even rejected them as unscientific. However, in the 1970s, a new theory evolved, which, if its supporters are right, explains the diversity we observe in nature and provides an accurate and scientific description of the unpredictable phenomena in question. This is known as “Chaos Theory”, and the purpose of this article is to provide an introduction to it together with fractals, the elaborate patterns which have become its emblem.

Chaos Theory Should a small variation in the force one exerts on the plunger of a pinball machine be made, then this action can result in a completely different trajectory being taken by the ball. A butterfly flapping its wings in Beijing could cause heavy rainfall, instead of sunshine, in New York. Two paper boats placed exactly next to each other on a river could follow two completely different routes and end up in two completely different places. These are examples of systems which display extreme sensitivity in the variation of their initial conditions. Such dynamical systems are called chaotic, and unpredictability is endemic in them. However, this is not because these systems are governed by chance. Most of them can be described by non-linear differential equations, but this non-linear quality makes predictions and calculations very difficult. A phase portrait is a way to visualise the recurrence, or not, of a system’s behaviour, in a series of orbits including one orbit to which the

Figure 1: The Mandelbrot Set, the most famous fractal [Available from]

system will finally arrive. In figure 2, we can see the phase portrait for a pendulum, without any friction or air resistance being exerted on it, which shows a very simple attractor (a circle). However, a pendulum which loses energy due to friction will eventually come to a complete stop, so the attractor is a fixed point attractor (figure 3), where the pendulum does 8

not move (both speed and distance are zero). There are other attractors as well (such as loop or tori attractors), but most of the attractors of plain, predictable systems are simple. In contrary, chaotic systems have very intricate attractors. These attractors are called strange attractors and the Lorenz (“butterfly”) attractor is the most famous of them (Figure 4). This attractor, which has a fractal (Hausdorff) dimension equal to approximately 2.06, describes atmospheric convection, using three differential equations (it is of course a very simplified model). What is notable about it is

that the orbits never intersect, and, as a result, the system never repeats itself (if the orbits intersected, then the system would choose between two behaviours, thereby becoming non-deterministic). This is a bit difficult to visualise, but the attractor is of infinite length and occupies a limited space. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [11] [12]

Fractals In the absence of a strict mathematical definition of a fractal, a description of their properties is used in lieu of a definition. According to Kenneth Falconer, a fractal exhibits the following properties: • Ability to be differentiated and to have a fractal dimension • Self-similarity (exact, quasi self-similarity, statistical or qualitative) • Multifractal scaling • Fine and detailed structure at any scale • Simple, and perhaps recursive definitions This description might seem a bit abstruse, but it will become clearer with the following examples and elucidations. [7] [11]

Koch snowflake & Fractal geometry Figure 2: An attractor for three different pendulums swinging without friction or air resistance [Available from http://upload.wikimedia. org/wikipedia/commons/d/d0/Phase_portrait_center.svg

Figure 3: A fixed point attractor [Available from commons/1/13/Phase_Portrait_Stable_Focus. svg?uselang=el]

Let us now examine the mathematical construction of a typical fractal curve and the properties that it has. This fractal is called

Figure 4: The Lorenz attractor [Available from 9

Koch’s snowflake, because its shape resembles that of a snowflake and it was first conceived by Helge von Koch, a Swedish mathematician. It can be seen in figure 5. The algorithm for its construction is the following: • From an equilateral triangle, remove the middle third of each side. • Draw another equilateral triangle, with its sides being equal to one third of the sides of the initial triangle, one of its sides replacing the line segment removed, and the other two sides lying outside the initial triangle. If this algorithm is executed ad infinitum, we can observe some very interesting properties this “snowflake” has. For example it displays exact self-similarity, i.e. it is exactly the same as the initial curve no matter how much we zoom in. If we consider the sides of the initial triangle to be of unitary length, and let be the perimeter of the initial shape, be the perimeter of the shape created after one execution of the algorithm, be the perimeter of the shape created after two executions etc. In every stage of the construction, we remove one third of the perimeter and add two thirds, thereby creating a shape whose perimeter is equal to four thirds multiplied by the perimeter of the previous shape. So, and


That means that, although the area of this shape is finite (we can always draw a circle of finite radius around it), its perimeter is infinite! This paradox, which cannot be explained by Euclidean geometry, is an intrinsic characteristic of fractal geometry. Another characteristic of fractal geometry is the fractal dimension (i.e. the dimension of fractals is not an integer, as in Euclidean geometry. For example, the Koch snowflake has a fractal (Hausdorff) dimension approximately equal to 1.2618.) [8] [9] [11]

Figure 5: The Koch snowflake [Available from]

Fractal objects & Applications Fractals, however, are not just abstract mathematical constructions. Many natural objects and structures exhibit (quasi) self-similarity, and they have many applications in virtually all fields of natural sciences and technology. In our bodies, for example, in order for the blood to reach every cell, and so that a large area for oxygen diffusion in our lungs is achieved, without the networks serving this purpose occupying a large volume, has created a fractal network of blood and pulmonary vessels. Turbulent flow is the field from which chaos theory (to a very large extent) evolved. The flow of water in a river for example can seem very disorderly and difficult to monitor, but chaos theory and fractals can more accurately describe this kind of flow, and further advancements are expected in the future. Snowflakes, broccoli, coastlines and mountain ranges are some self-similar natural objects which can be described as fractals. Of course, the difference between mathematical fractals and natural fractals is that the self-similarity in the latter is not exact, as it is in the former, but it is quasi-self similarity, and that we cannot see a natural fractal at an infinitely small scale. [7] [11] Let us now examine one particular application of fractals a little more closely. Fractals have many applications in computing, one of the most important of which is fractal image compression. Compressed digital images often appear pixelated which results in a loss of picture quality. Fractal image compression, by identifying self repeating patterns in the image 10

to be compressed, can create an algorithm which reconstructs the image when it is decoded. Of course, encoding requires a lot of computing power (or time), and this method works best with images that contain patterns (e.g. landscape or natural images), but the advantages offered are quick decoding and “fractal scaling”, which is a fractal compressed image’s property to be resolution independent, i.e. to include the same level of detail no matter how much the user zooms in the image. [10]

Conclusion As one can see, chaos theory and fractals

Figure 6: The Barnsley Fern, a fractal [Available from with_VisSim.PNG]

can offer some very promising solutions to problems which cannot be addressed by classical physics. Although the theory itself is new, the basic

idea behind it, the sensitive dependency to initial conditions, is quite old, as an old proverbial rhyme proves: For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail. [13]

References 1. Chaos: Making a New Science, James Gleick (Vintage, 1987) 2. Chance and Chaos, David Ruelle (Princeton University Press, 1991) 3. Chaos. Available from: 4. Chaos Theory. Available from: 5. Attractor. Available from: http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Attractor 6. Lorenz System. Available from: 7. Fractal. Available from: wiki/Fractal 8. Koch snowflake. Available from: 9. Fractal dimension. Available from: 10. Fractal compression. Available from: http:// 11. “Φράκταλ: Τα μαθηματικά όντα που ερμηνεύουν τον Κόσμο”, Θεόδωρος Βεργίδης (Fractals: The mathematical creatures that decipher the world”), Theodoros Vergidis 12. Cosmology of the mind – Introduction to Cosmology, M. Danezis & E. Theodossiou (Diavlos, 2003) 13. For want of a nail. Available from: of_a_Nail_%28proverb%29

About the Author Georgios Topaloglou is a 17 year old student at the King’s School Canterbury. He is doing Further

Maths, Philosophy and Physics at A level, and has a strong interest in Mathematics, Philosophy, and the overlap between the two. Georgios was part of the team representing the UK in the 2013 International Young Physicists’ Tournament (, which in 2014 is to be hosted by the UK. He likes reading (especially Russian literature and detective novels), and adores solving maths problems and riddles. Georgios wants to study Mathematics at university and hopes to pursue an academic career in the subject. 11

Review Article

The Aurorae Andrew Watson

St Lawrence College, Kent, UK. Email:


The Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis are amongst the world’s seven natural wonders and have left men in awe for generations. This article investigates the causes of The Aurorae, the causes of the different colours and investigates Auroras on other planets such as the Jovian Aurora on Jupiter.

The Aurorae The Aurora Borealis is one of the world’s seven natural wonders, and with the exotic array of colours found in it, it isn’t at all a wonder why so many people wish to see it. Both the Aurora Borealis (named by Pierre Gassendi, a French artist, after the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora, and the Roman god of the northern wind, Boreas) and the Aurora Australis (named Australis, meaning “Southern”) [1] have caught the attention of hundreds of men for hundreds of years, and records dating back from the Vikings (The King’s Mirror, written in 1250). In The King’s Mirror, a number of ideas on the formation of the Aurora Borealis, such as “the frost and glaciers have become so powerful there that they are able to radiate forth these flames.” [2] Not only the Vikings had their ideas on the Northern Lights, but also the Romans; Seneca the Younger classified the Northern Lights into a number of different categories depending on how they looked – there was the well (putei), casks (pithaei), chasms (chasmata), bearded (pogoniae) and cypresses (cyparissae). [3] Much later in history, from 1902 to 1903, a Norwegian scientist by the name of Kristian Birkeland [figure 1] did extraordinary amounts of research into the Aurora Borealis. His theory was that the auroral electrojets (which are found in the auroral ionosphere) [4] were connected to currents named in honour of

him (Birkeland currents), that streamed along geomagnetic lines, flowing between the magnetosphere and high latitude ionosphere, away from the polar region of the Arctic. Birkeland’s theory of the auroral electrojets and Birkeland currents were a source of Figure 1: A picture of Kristen controversy when Birkeland, available at http:// he was alive and commons/e/e7/Asta_Norregaard_ even a number Kristian_Birkeland_1900.jpg of years after his death. However, his theory was proved in 1967 when the USA sent a probe into space. [5]

Actual Causes of the Aurorae Both of the Aurorae, the Borealis and Australis, are caused by solar particles in the solar wind (numbering in the hundreds of millions) colliding with the atmospheric shielding. These solar particles, without the atmospheric shielding, would make the Earth an inhospitable place to live. The solar particles are electrically charged when they collide with the 12

Figure 2: An image of an aurorae:

atmospheric shielding surrounding the Earth. The energy resulting from these crashes is released as photons, innumerable particles of light, giving the intense colours of the Aurorae. Seneca the Younger was right when he categorised the aurorae into different groups by how they looked, as they can vary vastly. The shimmering effect in most aurorae is produced by the fading particle explosions at the exact same moment that new collisions and explosions occur. The colours of the aurorae are caused by two things: 1) The height of the collisions 2) The gases in the atmosphere The green in the aurorae, the most common of all colours, is caused by low height collisions of the solar particles with oxygen, from heights of one hundred kilometres above the Earth’s surface. At greater heights of around 250 kilometres these collisions with oxygen produce red aurorae. [6] The blues are found at the very bottom of the “aurora zone”, at only ninety-six kilometres from the Earth’s surface. They are caused by

collision of solar particles with nitrogen found in the atmospheric shielding. However, at alternate altitudes nitrogen can also cause some pink and red colours as well. Purple can be seen when really energetic particles pierce deep into the atmospheric shielding about eighty kilometres above the surface of the Earth. Solar storms can also cause aurorae. This can change the course of the aurorae, shifting them towards the equator due to the magnetic disturbance of the Earth by the sun. [7]

Aurorae Found on Other Planets Just like aurorae on Earth [figure 2], other planets have their own versions. On Jupiter, the Jovian Aurora is found. These are caused by the same effect as that on Earth, by the solar particles colliding with an atmospheric shield. Even more similar is that Jupiter’s aurorae are at its poles, just like that of Earth. Not only Jupiter and Earth have aurorae though. Saturn is another planet that has its own aurorae, caused by the same effect as that on Earth and Jupiter. However, Saturn’s aurorae have only recently been found by 13

camera - the Cassini camera in 2008. Again, like Earth, Saturn’s aurorae are at its poles due to the magnetic fields, found on every planet, which force them either northward or southward. [8]

Where to see the Aurorae The best places to see the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, are in high latitudes of the northern hemisphere, in countries such as Norway and Sweden, and some areas of Russia, such as Siberia. The best time of day to see the aurora is during the night, as long as it’s clear. The Aurora Australis is much harder to see as

it’s rare to see it outside of Antarctica, though they can be seen in countries such as New Zealand and the southernmost tip of Argentina and Australia. [9]

References: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

About the Author Andrew Watson is currently doing GCSEs at school and is hoping to go into medicine later in life. After having travelled around for most of his young life, he has settled into school and enjoys sport, including rugby, hockey and running. Also, as an avid fan of the outdoors, Andrew’s interest in the Aurorae has made him go to a lot of effort to try and see them, and see them he has, recently, in Iceland.

Call for Submissions, Scientists and Editors Who are we? The Young Scientists Journal is an unique online science journal, written by young scientists for young scientists (aged 12-20). More than that, the journal is run entirely by teenagers. It is the only peer review science journal for this age group, and the perfect journal for aspiring scientists, editors, and graphic designers. Who are you? Do you enjoy research? Or are you more interested in editing text and graphics? Do you work well in a team? Or perhaps you have the ability to produce papers on interesting topics by the handful? In short, if you have recently done an interesting school project, enjoy pursuing unique research, or have documents written for competitions languishing on your computer, get in touch about having your article published by The Young Scientists Journal! Simply submit your work via the website, and your article will be processed by a team of students and then an International Advisory Board, before being made into an official article with its own unique code. We are also keen to receive shorter review articles, and creative material such as videos or cartoons. Similarly, if you would be interested in getting more involved in the management of the Journal, let us know! We are actively recruiting students at the moment to our Young Scientists team for tasks such as editing articles, managing the website, graphic design and helping with publicity. Get Involved! Involvement with the Young Scientists Journal promises to be rewarding, fun, and will look fantastic on your CV. Get in touch at 14

Review Article

A Sense of Scale Alex Ausden King Edward the Sixth College, Hampshire, UK. Email:


From sub-atomic to Universal, the range of scale tends towards infinity - in both directions. It could be argued that the small can be imagined as our minds can attempt to grapple with the concept of nothing and then it is only a case of imagining something getting infinitesimally closer to that limit. Yet with large scale we become stuck - viewing from or within a constricted radius of planet Earth it is difficult to put scale into perspective. We quickly lose our ability to compare the large with the larger which soon appear to be both insignificantly small in comparison to the larger still. This article helps rebalance scale. What you once thought big, you’ll think big no longer.

Do you ever find yourself looking at people and thinking how short or tall they are? Do you ever think that the building in front of you is huge, while the grains of sand on the beach are tiny? If you call a person big, a building huge, a planet gigantic…how long until you run out of words? Just how big do things get, and how far away are those dots in the night sky? Our minds can only readily comprehend what is in our usual experience; many quantum phenomena seem unintuitive to us even though they are perfectly natural, whilst a computer interface is non-natural but familiar, and therefore, we can understand it. The tallest freestanding structure, the Burj Khalifa, is 818m tall and this is just about as large as we can easily imagine. The Great Wall of China, the longest man-made structure, is 8,852km from tip to tip (it is one thousand times as long as Mt Everest is tall). By volume, the now closed Fresh Kills Landfill was the largest man made structure, but this was only 12 square kilometres (although at its most full it was just 25m shorter than the torch on the Statue of Liberty). Contrary to popular belief, The Great Wall cannot be seen from the moon; for a sense of scale, if one were standing on the

moon, the Great Wall of China (at an average of 384,393km away) can be compared to a 2cm thick cable does 1000km away – not at all.[1] So let us say that the largest man-made structure is on a scale of around 107m (10,000,000m or 10,000km). Currently the largest proposed structure with any level of plausibility is a space elevator, and rough ideas of the length for this put it at around 100,000km [2] (Earth is 13,000km in diameter), which would mean it would go a quarter of the way to the moon. So for planned structures, the current upper limit is 108m. Beyond this, we start to get to what most people would consider to be “unimaginable scales”. Jupiter, the largest planet orbiting the sun and that which consists of 71% of the mass of all the planets in the solar system combined is 143,000km in diameter. This means you could fit around 1,300 Earths inside the volume of Jupiter! The planet with the largest confirmed size is TrES-4 at 260,000km wide [3], although the more recently discovered (11-08-09) WASP-17b may be the largest known planet but this is yet to be confirmed. It is estimated to have a radius 1.5-2.1 times that of Jupiter. Also of interest is that it is the 15

least dense planet at 0.14g/cm3 [4] (compared to 1.33g/cm3 for Jupiter) and was the first discovered planet with a retrograde orbit – which is in the opposite direction of the rotation of its host star. The physical upper mass limit for a planet is roughly 13 times the mass of Jupiter; [5] this is because beyond this mass, threshold deuterium will fuse and a star is born. Thus, objects with a mass more than 13 times that of Jupiter are stars, failed (like brown dwarfs) or otherwise. But failed stars are not the smallest type of star; this honour belongs to neutron stars. Between 20 and 40km in diameter (which is less than the width of some cities), they are so dense that they are almost at the limit for how dense something can be before collapsing into a black hole. If all of humanity were compacted to the size of a sugar cube, this would have the approximate density of a neutron star.[6] Most stars, however, are significantly bigger than this; even dwarf stars, assumed to be small, can have a diameter many hundred times greater than that of the Earth. The Sun, a yellow dwarf (which is in fact white, only appearing yellow through the Earth’s atmosphere), consists of 99.86% of the mass in the whole Solar System and is a near perfect sphere (its polar and equatorial diameters

differ by only about 10km – considering the diameter is roughly 1,392,000km, this is fairly negligible.). Nonetheless, our Sun does have issues: not only is it currently going through an extended period of sunspot minimums, but its magnetic field is less than half of the minimum recorded 22 years ago, and the Solar Wind has cooled by 13% in the last two decades. [7] Our next step up takes us to subgiant stars. These stars are in the process of swelling up to giant stars, which usually takes a few tens or hundreds of millions of years. Subgiants normally start at just a few times the diameter of the Sun, but by the time they are fully converted to giant stars are between 10 and 100 times the diameter. Some giant stars are many hundred times larger than the Sun. For a sense of scale, if the Sun expanded to just over 100 times its current size, Earth would be inside it. Giant stars can be up to 1,000 times more luminous than the Sun, and the brightest of these are known as bright giants, not quite massive or luminous enough to be included in the next category up, but too luminous (and often too massive) to be a giant star. Amongst the largest of any individual objects are the supergiant stars. These can go beyond 1000 times the diameter of the Sun as well as being hundreds of thousands of times as

Figure 1 [8] A Scale Comparison Chart 16

bright, although blue supergiants are smaller than red ones of the same luminosity. Contrary to what one might think, hypergiants are not necessarily more massive than supergiants, as they are defined by the rate at which they burn mass. The largest of these supergiants are so bright that they approach the Eddington limit – the point at which radiation pressure outward equals gravitational pressure inward. Beyond this, the star would radiate out part of its outer layers until it fell below the Eddington limit once more. The largest known star, VY Canis Majoris, is believed to be around 2000 times as large as the Sun, meaning that if it were the star in the Solar System (replacing the Sun) then it would extend beyond the orbit of Saturn. Light travels around the Sun in 14.5 seconds; it would travel around VY in 8 hours. For a sense of scale, it would take 7,000,000,000,000,000 (7 quadrillion) Earths to fill the volume of this star, compared with just 1,300,000 to fill the Sun – this is 5.5 billion times as many! Only a small fraction larger than VY Canis Majoris, a supermassive black hole is currently theorised to have a maximum size of 10AU (VY has diameter 9AU, where one Astronomical Unit is the distance from Earth to the Sun). However, while only a little larger, it is far more massive; although the star is estimated to be around 20 times as massive as the sun, the black hole could be tens of billions of times as massive. The largest known black hole is at the centre of the OJ 287 galaxy and has a mass estimated at 18 billion solar masses. It can be hard to imagine how large a billion is, but help is at hand; consider that a billion minutes ago the Roman Empire was thriving (1,900 years ago), a billion hours ago we were in the Stone Age (114,000 years ago), and a billion months ago dinosaurs roamed the Earth (82 million years ago). These are, so far as we know, the largest individual astronomical objects. However, astronomical bodies range from far smaller (such as the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter) to far larger (such as intergalactic filaments, the largest structures yet known to humankind). Something everyone is familiar with, the Milky Way Galaxy is 100,000 light years across, compared to just 0.00047 light years from the Sun to Neptune. Yet galaxies are very rarely isolated, instead often forming

groups or clusters of tens, hundreds or thousands of galaxies together. The Milky Way Galaxy is part of the Virgo Cluster which is 15,000,000 light years across and contains an estimated 1500 galaxies. Beyond this scale we reach Superclusters which, if you can imagine a cluster as being a group of galaxies, are equivalent to a group of clusters of galaxies. These form the largest structures known to us and the largest so far is the Great Sloan Wall (essentially a wall of galaxies, named after the Sloan Digital Sky Survey which discovered it) spanning 1.37 billion light years. Now this is truly huge, but considering that an estimate for the minimum size of the Universe is 78 billion light years, there’s still a lot of space to fill. Unfortunately, lots of this space isn’t filled. Voids in space which span tens or hundreds of millions of light years are not too rare, and have an average density of one atom per cubic metre. These fill the distance between galaxy clusters and often contain no galaxies at all. In 2007 scientists found a void almost a billion light years wide, devoid of matter and dark matter alike, but thought it highly unlikely to be the largest void there is. Quite right too; they have now found a void over 3.5 billion light years wide. And you thought a building was big. There are millions of galaxies “near” the Milky Way Galaxy, but there are billions of galaxies elsewhere. If there were a way to travel at the speed of light (or very near to it) it would still take hundreds of millions of years to get to most of these galaxies. That is far longer than humans have been around, and an implausible amount of time to be travelling. Even crossing our own galaxy at the speed of light would take 100,000 years, and if we consider that 100,000 years ago is when humans are estimated to have started using tools, we get a sense of scale of how large some things truly are.


1. López-Gil, Norberto. Journal of Optometry 1 (1): 3–4. Retrieved 31-07-2011. 2. pdf/02%20Vol1-n1%20Letter%20to%20the%20Editor. pdf. 3. Bonsor, Kevin. How Space Elevators Will Work. Retrieved 31-07-2011. space-elevator.htm 17

4. Schneider, Jean. Notes for planet TrES-4. Retrieved 31-07-2011. 5. Kaufman, Rachel. Backward Planet has Density of Foam Coffee Cups. Available from: http://news. (last cited 2011) 6. Plait, Phil. The Upper Limit to a Planet. Available from: 7. (last cited 2011)

8. Ankit. Neutron Stars, Sugar Cubes and Squeezed Humans. Available from: 9. (last cited 2011) 10. Gibson, Sarah. WHI vs WSM and comparative solar minima: If the Sun is so quiet, why is the Earth still ringing? International Astronomical Union (page 3) 11. Nerlich, Steve. Astronomy without a telescope – How big is big? Available from: http://www.universetoday. com/91691/astronomy-without-a-telescope-how-bigis-big/ (last cited 2011)

About the Author Alex Ausden is studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Economics at King Edward the Sixth College, Southampton. Currently he intends to study Physics or Astrophysics at University.

New Award 2014: Annual GEOSET Prize for High School Students The GEOSET ( initiative is a network of participating Internet educational outreach sites located in universities (currently Florida State University, USA; and Sheffield University, UK) and related educational institutions, including high schools, contributing to a rapidly growing globally accessible cache of educational material packaged for classroom use anywhere in the world. University and high school students are contributing by making recordings about subjects they find fascinating. Not only are they adding to a cache of knowledge, but also revolutionizing their CVs and improving their chances immeasurably of getting awards, jobs and course admission. The initiative is flexible, as the sites use a wide range of recording approaches: Mediasite, Camtasia, Tegrity, Echo360, Polimedia, Accordent and YouTube. The global currently includes the US, UK, Japan, Croatia, Hong Kong, and Brazil, and GEOSET will soon launch Hispanic language sites in Spain and Chile.

The GEOSET Prize 2014 The founders of GEOSET, Sir Harold and Lady Kroto, have instituted awards for the best GEOSET recordings by high school students either individually, or in a group in which all in the group participate. The prizes are as follows: 1st Prize $500; 2nd Prize $300 and 3rd Prize $200 (to be split 50:50 between the student or group of students and the school). Closing date: midnight 30th April 2014. Winner to be announced 1st July 2014. Further information from Dr. Steve Acquah at GEOSET is supported by The Florida State University, The Kroto Research Institute at Sheffield University and has obtained further support from Microsoft Research and Sir Harold and Lady Kroto. 18

Review Article

Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide Lucy Hayes Rugby School, Warwickshire, UK. Email:


The human immune system largely depends on hydrogen peroxide to function – Lymphocytes located in the blood produce H2O2 and utilise its anti-bacterial properties to eradicate malicious bacteria in the blood stream. The body also produces it organically as a by-product of particular chemical processes, and it predominantly originates from the thyroid gland, lungs, and intestines.

Human Body Hydrogen peroxide is produced by numerous enzymes in the body. Particularly, some enzymes breaking down certain amino acids and fatty acids make significant amounts of hydrogen peroxide. Because hydrogen peroxide can be damaging to regular body tissue, these enzymes are stored inside specialized organelles inside cells called peroxisomes. The peroxisomes also contain large amounts of catalase to break down the hydrogen peroxide before it can diffuse. Additionally, recent scientific examination of the cell cultures in human hair verifies that the cause of grey hair associated with human ageing is due to a substantial accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in the hair follicle. The hydrogen peroxide inhibits the synthesis of melanin, essentially bleaching the hair pigment from within.

Aesthetical and Cosmetic Uses Ordinarily, hydrogen peroxide is used to bleach hair, skin and teeth due to its properties as an oxidising bleach which allows it to break the chemical bonds of a chromophore. A chromophore is the part of a molecule responsible for its colour, subsequently this changes the molecule into a different substance that

Fig. 1: The effect of hydrogen peroxide on contact with skin [1]

either does not contain a chromophore, or contains a chromophore that does not absorb visible light. On contact with the epidermal layer of skin it causes a capillary embolism which causes temporary whitening. However, during numerous laboratory studies, hydrogen peroxide was shown to damage skin cells in a process known as oxidative stress; a process associated with Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. Its inclusion in many cosmetics may also be due to its role as a preservative – it has antimicrobial properties which help kill or inhibit the growth or reproduction of micro-organisms.

Industrial Uses Hydrogen peroxide is becoming an increasingly popular choice in pulp bleaching processes 19

due to the replacement of chlorinated bleaches with environmentally friendly bleach products. In the pulp and paper industry, hydrogen peroxide is used in three areas: for bleaching of cellulose, pulp bleaching, and for re-cycling waste paper (removing ink and colour from the paper). Hydrogen peroxide has been used for years as a chemical treatment in municipal water systems. It has several benefits, including iron and hydrogen sulfide removal and the neutralization of tastes and odours.

Use in the textile industry is declining. In full bleaching, hydrogen peroxide is used before dyeing and for the oxidation of reductive dyes in dyeing. However, in general, hydrogen peroxide consumption for bleaching is increasing because it is seen as an environmentally harmless alternative to chlorine-based bleaches.

Domestic Uses Due to its bleaching and antimicrobial properties, it is a popular household cleaning product and features as an ingredient in many. Holistic and Medicinal Although its medicinal benefits are yet to be proven scientifically, it is widely used as a holistic cure for many illnesses.

References: 1. The effect of hydrogen peroxide on skin, available at: 2. Pulp and paper industry, available at:

Fig. 2: The process in which hydrogen peroxide is used as a bleaching agent for paper [2]

About the Author Lucy Hayes is 15 years old and currently attends Rugby School. She loves all areas of science, but is predominantly interested in natural sciences and equally fascinated by astronomy.


Original Research

Particle Size Optimization of Sand to Improve Water Treatment Efficiency Adam Dando

Franklin Regional High School, PA, USA. Email:


More efficient treatment methods must be developed for ensuring the future availability of drinking water. The purpose of this project was to determine how particle size composition can be optimized to improve the performance of sand as a natural, inexpensive, sustainable water filtration media. Calibrated sieves were used to selectively remove specific particle size fractions from all-purpose sand. Permeation times, together with pH and calcium concentrations of filtered water samples were used to prove that the water filtration rate of sand can be increased by 65% by removing the <150 micron particle size fraction (11.3% by weight), while maintaining pH buffering performance.

Introduction The availability of safe supplies of drinking water is a worldwide concern owing to the effects of pollution, water-borne disease and increased consumption. [1] We must continue to develop effective, sustainable, easy to use methods for treating water to allow safe re-use by living organisms. The natural water cycle uses evaporation and soil filtration as the principal elements for water purification.[2,3] As we continue to cover the surface of the Earth with non-permeable materials (buildings and roads) we reduce the effectiveness of the natural water cycle for water filtration. Sand filtration is a low cost, readily available method for water purification. [4] The goal of this project is to define the effect of particle size on the performance of sand as a treatment media for improving the pH and alkalinity of water. The hypothesis of this project is that the particle size composition of sand can be modified to improve its performance as a water treatment media, relative to as-received sand.

Figure 1. Illustration of sieves and method used to separate sand into different particle size fractions.

Materials and Methods All purpose sand (Quickrete, inc) was purchased from a garden supply store (Lowes). A series of eight calibrated sieves (Allen-Bradley) were used to separate the all-purpose sand into different particle size fractions based on the sieve sizes, as shown in Figure 1. A triple beam balance was used to weigh all particle size fractions collected from each sieve. Water treatment columns were prepared by filling 20 cm long, 1.75 cm internal diameter plastic tubes with sand samples to 4 cm height (7 cm3 by volume) and tapping the tubes on a 21

hard surface to remove gaps or holes. Sections of coffee filters were placed in the bottom of the permeation tubes prior to filling with sample to hold the sand in place. The permeation times of sand samples were measured by adding 200 ml of distilled water to the permeation tubes, collecting every 20 ml of permeate in labeled collection bottles and measuring the time of each 20ml water collection. The permeation time measurement setup is shown in Figure 2. A pH meter and calcium ion selective electrode (Vernier Scientific) were calibrated using high and low calibration standards (Vernier Scientific). [5,6] The experimental setup used for measuring the pH and Ca2+ in each of the permeate samples is shown in Figure 3. The calibration standards used for calibrating the electrodes and the actual electrode responses to the standard solutions after running them as samples (before and after running the permeation samples) are shown in Table 1. All electrode responses to the calibration solutions were within 5% of their stated values. The repeatability of the pH and ion selective electrode measurements was evaluated by performing five repeated measurements on separate samples of tap water. The data from this repeatability test is listed in Table 2. The repeatability relative standard deviation (RSD) for all test methods was equal to or less than 3.3%.

Results Particle Size Composition of All-Purpose Sand The all-purpose sand used in this study is principally composed of silicate and calcium carbonate particles. The sand particles are composed of a wide range of particle sizes. As shown in Figure 1, calibrated sieves were used to separate the all-purpose sand into eight separate particle size fractions. The weight of each particle size fraction was used to calculate the weight % particle size composition of all-purpose sand, as shown in Figure 4. The data shown in Figure 4 is based on averaged results from five independent particle size separations of all-purpose sand. The individual particle size composition data is listed in Table 3. The relative standard deviations of the particle size composition data ranged

Figure 2. The permeation tube setup employed for testing sand samples.

Figure 3. Test setup for measuring pH and ion concentration in permeate samples.

ISE Calibration Measurements Std pH CA values 4.0, 7.0 10, 1000 mg/L Initial Final Initial Final low 4.0 4.2 9.8 9.9 high 7.0 7.1 1033 1008 Table 1. Electrode Calibration Data, Fertilizer Solution Data and Tap Water Analyses.

Sample 1 2 3 4 5 Average Std. Dev. R.S.D. (%)

Precision Data pH Ca (mg/L) 6.9 14.0 7.0 13.5 6.8 12.8 6.8 13.7 7.0 13.5 6.9 13.5 0.10 0.44 1.5 3.3

Table 2. PH and Ion Selective Electrode Repeatability Test Data. 22

cle size fraction would significantly reduce the water permeation time (increase the permeation rate) of all-purpose sand.

Figure 4. Weight % particle size composition of all-purpose sand (average of 5 measurements).

from 7.6 to 18.6 %, depending on particle size fraction. This data suggests that some particle size segregation may have occurred in the bag of all-purpose sand during storage and handling. Impact of Sand Particle Size on Water Permeation Time The effect of particle size on water permeation time was studied by comparing the water permeation time of all-purpose sand to the permeation times observed for each of the eight sand particle size fractions shown in Figure 4 and Table 3. The average results from two independent permeation tests of all-purpose sand and the eight separate particle size fractions of all-purpose sand are shown in Figure 5. As shown in Figure 5, the <150 micron particle size was the only sample that showed a longer permeation time (slower permeation rate) than all-purpose sand. This observation suggests that removing the <150 micron parti-

Sample # 1 2 3 4 5 Ave. Wt % Std. Dev R.S.D. (%)

Impact of Sand Particle Size Optimization on Water Permeation Time Samples of all-purpose sand were separated into eight individual particle size fractions as discussed above (see Figure 1). For each sand sample, one particle size was selectively removed and the remaining particle size fractions of sand were recombined. In this manner, eight sand samples were prepared where a different particle size fraction was removed from each sample. 200 ml of deionized water was used to measure the permeation time for each of these samples. Figure 6 and Table 4 show the average permeation time performance for two independent tests of all-purpose sand and sand with one particle size fraction removed. It is interesting to note that none of the particle size modified sand samples exhibited longer permeation times than all-purpose sand. The comparative performance data shown in Figure 6 shows that the selective removal of the <150 micron particle size fraction exhibits the largest reduction in water permeation time (increase in permeation rate). In fact, removing the <150 micron particle size fraction (11.3 wt %) reduced the water permeation time by 55%, from 133.5 to 60.3 seconds.

<4760 >2380 13.9 19.3 13.2 14.2 13.2 14.8

Particle Size Composition of Sand Weight % Sample Particle Size Range (microns) <2380 <1700 <1190 <595 <500 >1700 >1190 >595 >500 >354 11.8 10.0 15.5 9.5 10.4 11.3 11.0 14.8 6.9 11.0 12.3 11.5 15.0 7.1 7.4 9.9 8.5 13.2 6.1 11.3 8.6 8.2 13.2 6.4 12.2 10.8 9.8 14.3 7.2 10.5

<354 >150 18.3 16.4 21.8 24.8 25.3 21.3

10.5 9.3 11.7 11.9 13.0 11.3

Total Wt % 100 100 100 100 100 100

2.6 17.5

1.5 14.1

4.0 18.6

1.4 12.5

0 0

1.5 14.7

1.1 7.6

1.4 18.9

1.8 17.5


Table 3. Particle size composition of all-purpose sand (5 separate tests). 23

Figure 5. Permeation volume versus time for all-purpose sand and eight particle size fractions of all-purpose sand.

Figure 6. Permeation volume versus time for all-purpose sand and sand samples where eight different particle size fractions (see legend) were selectively removed from all-purpose sand.

Volume (ml) 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200

Volume vs Time for Different Particle Size Ranges Removed from Sand <4760u <2380u <1700u <1190u <595u <500u <354u < 150u Sand >2380u >1700u >1190u >595u >500u >354u >150u 7.22 5.83 6.31 6.35 8.72 6.50 7.47 3.48 6.88 18.46 11.76 14.03 13.70 17.47 12.46 15.11 7.18 14.33 29.63 18.28 20.28 21.84 23.31 24.07 23.23 11.32 25.55 42.02 24.72 26.88 29.55 33.67 34.08 31.73 16.05 39.31 51.71 31.35 33.31 34.73 43.78 54.36 40.74 21.39 56.46 65.29 38.44 41.53 41.45 52.93 68.19 50.40 27.05 70.61 78.59 46.90 49.23 49.57 61.02 82.88 61.28 33.92 80.48 96.01 54.75 57.78 55.95 67.98 92.70 72.68 42.20 98.54 116.65 62.38 67.76 65.18 77.83 113.85 83.46 51.08 115.93 134.76 72.42 75.76 74.13 88.39 130.44 94.96 60.25 133.46 where u= microns, time = minutes

Table 4. Water Permeation Times for Sand and Sand with Individual Particle Size Fractions Removed (data shown is the average of 2 separate tests). 24

Volume (ml)

<4760u >2380u

20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200

6.5 6.7 6.7 6.7 6.7 6.6 6.6 6.7 6.7 6.7

Impact of Particle Size (microns) on pH <2380u <1700u <1190u <595u <500u <354u >1700u >1190u >595u >500u >354u >150u 6.3 6.3 6.3 6.5 6.4 6.4 6.8 6.8 6.6 6.8

6.0 6.4 6.4 6.5 6.5 6.7 6.6 6.8 6.6 6.8

6.1 6.4 6.5 6.7 6.6 6.7 6.7 6.8 6.7 6.8

6.3 6.6 6.7 6.6 6.6 6.6 6.6 6.6 6.9 6.7

6.0 6.2 6.6 6.5 6.5 6.7 6.8 6.7 6.7 6.6

6.2 6.6 6.7 6.7 6.7 6.8 6.7 6.8 6.6 6.7

< 150u


6.1 6.6 6.8 6.7 6.8 6.9 7.0 6.8 6.8 7.0

6.3 6.6 6.7 6.7 6.8 6.7 6.7 6.0 7.0 6.8

Table 5. Impact of Sand Particle Size on Permeate Water pH.

Figure 7. The impact of sand particle size of the pH of deionized water.

Impact of Sand Particle Size Fraction on Water pH The pH was measured on each 20 ml sample collected from the water permeation test shown in Figure 5 in order to determine if sand particle size has an impact on the efficiency of sand for treating the pH of deionized water. The pH data shown in Figure 7 and Table 5 is the average of two independent permeation tests on each sand sample. As shown in Figure 7, all particle size fractions of sand, including all-purpose sand, raise the pH from an initial value of 6.25 at 20 ml of permeate to a final value of 6.8 after 200 ml of permeate water are collected. Given that the repeatabil-

ity (1 standard deviation) of the pH test method is + 0.1 pH units, the data shown in Figure 7 indicates that all sand particle size fractions have the same effect on the pH of permeate water (to 95% confidence interval). This observation suggests that increasing permeation rate will increase water treatment efficiency (more water can be treated per unit of time) without reducing the pH treatment capacity of the sand. The calcium ion (Ca 2+) concentration in all the permeate samples shown in Figure 5 were also measured using a calcium ion selective electrode in order to determine the effect of sand particle size on the alkalinity of filtered 25

Figure 8. Calcium ion concentrations in water permeate samples collected from all-purpose sand and eight different particle size fractions of all-purpose sand.

Figure 9. Sand particle size versus calcium ion concentration in initial 20 ml permeate samples.

Impact of Particle Size (microns) on pH Volume <4760u <2380u <1700u <1190u <595u <500u <354u (ml) >2380u >1700u >1190u >595u >500u >354u >150u 20 4.9 18.9 29 32.8 39 36.6 59.2 40 3.5 6 12.5 12.4 13 27.8 29 60 2.6 5 9.4 5.9 8.3 3 10.2 80 1.7 3 6.1 4.5 5.5 1.8 7.7 100 1.4 3.8 6 3.4 4.9 1.7 6.1 120 1.5 2.5 5.6 2.9 5.5 1.8 5.4 140 1.4 1.7 6 3.2 6.5 2 5 160 1.3 1.8 2.9 2.9 6.1 1.9 4.4 180 1.4 2.3 4.8 2.6 3.7 1.7 4.4 200 1.3 1.9 4.5 2.4 3.9 1.9 4.3

< 150u


117.5 30.4 10.5 8.4 8.1 8.2 4.9 8.4 8.2 8.1

49 32 14 7.8 6.1 4.2 4.4 3.1 1.3 1.8

Table 6. Impact of Sand Particle Size on Permeate Alkalinity (mg Ca/L). 26

water. The calcium ion concentration data, shown in Figure 8 and Table 6, is highest for the initial 20 ml permeate sample collected from all-purpose sand, as well as all eight of the sand particle size fractions used to filter deionized water. The calcium ion concentration falls off rapidly with increased permeate volumes for all sand particle size fractions tested in this study. It is interesting to note that the initial calcium ion concentrations observed in Figure 8 are correlated to the particle size of the sand. For example, the <150 micron particle size sand showed the highest initial calcium concentration, while the <4760 >2380 micron fraction showed the lowest initial calcium concentration. This relationship between initial dissolved calcium concentration and sand particle size can be described by a logarithmic equation, as shown in Figure 9, with a correlation coefficient of 0.86. The relationship observed between initial permeate calcium concentration and sand particle size supports several observations, as listed below: 1. The smallest sand particle size fraction releases the most dissolved calcium in the initial 20ml permeate sample. 2. The concentration of dissolved calcium concentration in the initial 20 ml permeate sample is inversely correlated to the logarithm of the sand particle size fraction used the filter the water. 3. Dissolved calcium concentration is greatest for the initial 20 ml permeate sample and falls off rapidly in successive permeate samples from all sand particle sizes. The relationship between sand particle size, permeate volume and dissolved calcium concentration support a hypothesis where the dissolved calcium comes from dissolution of superfine particles and soluble calcium compounds (i.e CaCO3) on the surface of the sand particles. In both cases, the soluble calcium would be greatest for the finest particle size fraction of sand, and would decrease with “washing” by increased volumes of deionized water, as shown in Figure 8.

Conclusions Measurements of permeation time, water pH and dissolved calcium ion were used to evaluate and compare the performance of all-purpose sand, particle size fractions of all-purpose sand and sand with specific particle size fractions selectively removed. The results of this study support a number of observations, as listed: • Sand is composed of a wide range of particle sizes. • Sand filtration buffers water pH to 6.8+0.2 regardless of sand particle size. • Sand particle size composition has a significant impact on water filtration rate. • Sand particle size impacts the Ca2+ concentration in initial permeate water: • The finest sand particle size releases the highest initial Ca2+ concentration (logarithmic relationship) • After the initial 40-80 ml permeate volume, the impact of particle size on Ca2+ concentration is greatly reduced. • The initial 20-40 ml permeate samples appeared cloudy. • These observations suggest that ultrafine material is washed from the sand column with initial volumes of permeation water. • Removing the -150 micron particle size fraction from sand (11.3 wt %) increases the water filtration rate by 55%, while allowing the same overall pH buffering performance.

References 1. Gleick, P., “The Human Right To Water,” Water Policy Journal, 1(5), 1999 PP. 487-503. 2. Evans, G, and Perlman, H., “The Water Cycle,” United States Geological Survey, edu/watercycle.html. 3. Morel, F.M.M. And Herring, J.G., Principles and Applications of Aquatic Chemistry, Wiley and Sons, NY, 1993. 4. L. Huisman and W. Wood, Slow Sand Filtration, World Health Organization, Geneva, 1974. 5. R. Johnson, S. Hoffman and D. Holmquist, “Water Quality With Computers,” Vernier Software and Technology, Beaverton, OR. 6. H. Willard, L. Merrit and J. Dean, Instrumental Methods of Analysis, 5th ed., Van Nostrand, NY, 1974.

About the Author Adam Dando is 18 years old and enjoys competitive swimming and participating in national and international science and engineering fairs. His research interests focus on sustainability based water treatment, for which he received a 4th place Grand Award at the 2011 INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair. In 2013, Adam graduated from High School, and is now at university studying Civil Engineering. 27

Young Scientist Journeys Editors: Paul Soderberg and Christina Astin

This book is the first book of The Butrous foundation’s Journeys Trilogy. Young scientists of the past talk to today’s young scientists about the future. The authors were members of the Student Science Society in high school in Thailand in the 1960s, and now, near their own 60s, they share the most important things they learned about science specifically and life generally during their own young scientist journeys in the years since they published The SSS Bulletin, a scientific journal for the International School Bangkok. Reading this first book is a journey, that starts on this page and ends on the last one, having taken you, Young Scientist, to hundreds of amazing “places,” like nanotechnology, Song Dynasty China, machines the length of football fields, and orchids that detest wasps. But the best reason to The Butrous Foundation, which is take the journey through dedicated to empowering today the these pages is that this scientists of tomorrow. This book will help you foundation already publishes Young prepare for all your other journeys. Some of these will be Scientists Journal, the world’s first and physical ones, from place to place, such as to scientific only scientific journal of, by, and for, conferences. Others will be professional journeys, like from all the world’s youngsters (aged 12Botany to Astrobiology, or from lab intern to assistant to 20) who want to have science careers researcher to lab director. But the main ones, the most exciting or want to use science in other of all your journeys, will be into the Great Unknown. That is careers. 100% of proceeds from sales where all the undiscovered elements are, as well as all other of The Journeys Trilogy will go to the inhabited planets and every new species, plus incredible things Foundation to help it continue to like communication with dolphins in their own language, and fulfill its mission to empower technological innovations that will make today’s cutting-edge youngsters everywhere. marvels seem like blunt Stone Age implements. For further information please write to Book Details: Title: Young Scientist Journeys Editors: Paul Soderberg and Christina Astin Paperback: 332 pages Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches, Weight: 345 grams Publisher: The Butrous Foundation (September 26, 2010) ISBN-10: 0956644007 ISBN-13: 978-0956644008 Website: Retailer price: £12.45 / $19.95

The Butrous Foundation Journeys Trilogy Thirty-one years ago, Sir Peter Medawar wrote Advice to a Young Scientist, a wonderful book directed to university students. The Butrous Foundation’s Journeys Trilogy is particularly for those aged 12 to 20 who are inspired to have careers in science or to use the path of science in other careers. The three volumes are particularly for those aged 12 to 20 who are inspired to have careers in science or to use the path of science in other careers. It is to “mentor in print” these young people that we undertook the creation and publication of this trilogy. Young Scientist Journeys (Volume 1) This book My Science Roadmaps (Volume 2) The findings of journeys into key science issues, this volume is a veritable treasure map of “clues” that lead a young scientist to a successful and fulfilling career, presented within the context of the wisdom of the great gurus and teachers of the past in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Great Science Journeys (Volume 3) An elite gathering of well-known scientists reflect on their own journeys that resulted not only in personal success but also in the enrichment of humanity, including Akira Endo, whose discovery as a young scientist of statins has saved countless millions of lives.

Table of Contents: Introduction: The Journeys Trilogy, Ghazwan Butrous . . . 11 Chapter 1. Science is All Around You, Phil Reeves . . . 17 Chapter 2. The Beauty of Science, and The Young Scientists Journal, Christina Astin . . . 19 Chapter 3. The Long Journey to This Book, Paul Soderberg . . . 25 Chapter 4. Dare to Imagine and Imagine to Dare, Lee Riley . . . 43 Chapter 5. How the Science Club Helped Me Become a Human Being, Andy Bernay-Roman . . . 55 Chapter 6. Your Journey and the Future, Paul Soderberg . . . 63 Chapter 7. Engineering as a Ministry, Vince Bennett . . . 83 Chapter 8. Cold Facts, Warm Hearts: Saving Lives With Science, Dee Woodhull . . . 99 Chapter 9. My Journeys in Search of Freedom, Mike Bennett . . . 107 Chapter 10. Insects and Artworks and Mr. Reeves, Ann Ladd Ferencz . . . 121 Chapter 11. Window to Endless Fascination, Doorway to Experience for Life: the Science Club, Kim Pao Yu . . . 129 Chapter 12. Life is Like Butterflies and Stars, Corky Valenti . . . 135 Chapter 13. Tend to Your Root, Walteen Grady Truely . . . 143 Chapter 14. Lessons from Tadpoles and Poinsettias, Susan Norlander . . . 149 Chapter 15. It’s All About Systems—and People, J. Glenn Morris . . . 157 Chapter 16. A Journey of a Thousand Miles, Kwon Ping Ho . . . 165 Chapter 17. The Two Keys to Making a Better World: How-Do and Can-Do, Tony Grady . . . 185 Chapter 18. Becoming a Scientist Through the Secrets of Plants, Ellen (Jones) Maxon . . . 195 Chapter 19. The Essence of Excellence in Everything (and the Secret of Life), Jameela Lanza . . . 203 Chapter 20. The Families of a Scientist, Eva Raphaël . . . 211 Appendix: Lists of Articles by Young Scientists, Past and Present . . . 229 The SSS Bulletin, 1966-1970 . . . 230-237 The Young Scientists Journal, 2008-present . . . 237-241 Acknowledgements . . . 243 The Other Two Titles in the Journeys Trilogy . . . 247 Contents of Volume 2 . . . 249 Excerpt from Volume 3: A Great Scientist . . . 251 Index . . . 273

Editors Christina Astin and Paul Soderberg

The Butrous Foundation

The Butrous Foundation

The foundation aims to motivate young people to pursue scientific careers enhancing scientific and communication It aims to pro-scientific Theby foundation aims creativity to motivate young people pursue vide a platform for young people all over the world (ages 12-20 years) to careers by enhancing scientific creativity and communication skills. participate in scientific advancements and to encourage them to express It aims provide a creatively. platform for young people all over the world their to ideas freely and

(ages 12-20 years) to participate in scientific advancements and to The Butrous encourage them toFoundation express their ideas freely and creatively. The Butrous Foundation is a private foundation established in 2006. The TheButrous current interestFoundation of the foundation is to fund activities that serve its mission. Butrous Foundation The Mission

The Butrous Foundation is a private foundation established in TheThe foundation aims to motivate young people to pursue 2006. current interest of the foundation is to scientific fund activities careers by enhancing scientific creativity and communication skills. that serve its mission. It aims to provide a platform for young people all over the world The(ages Mission 12-20 years) to participate in scientific advancements and to Theencourage foundation aims to motivate young people to pursue them to express their ideas freely and creatively. scientific careers by enhancing scientific creativity and Thematic approaches to achieve the foundation mission: communication skills. It aims to provide a platform for young 1. To enhance communication and friendship between young people peopleall allover over world (ages 12-20 years) to participate in thethe world and to help each other with their scientific scientific advancements and to encourage them to express their interests. 2. To promote ideals of co-operation and the interchange of ideas freely and the creatively. knowledge and ideas. 3. To enhance the application of science and its role in global soThematic approaches to achieve the foundation mission: ciety and culture. 1. To communication and young 4. enhance To help young people make links withfriendship scientists in between order to take advantage of global knowledge, and participate in the advancepeople all over the world and to help each other with their ment of science. scientific interests. 5. To encourage young people to show their creativity, inspire them 2. To promote thefull ideals of co-operation and the of to reach their potential and to be role models for interchange the next knowledge and ideas. generation. 6. To encourage discipline of of good scienceand where 3. To enhance thethe application science itsopen roleminds in global and respect to other ideas dominate. society and culture. 7. To help global society to value the contributions of young 4. To help young people make links with scientists in order to people and enable them to reach their full potential, take advantage of globaljournal knowledge, and participate in the visit Young Scientists

advancement of science. 5. To encourage young people to show their creativity, inspire them to reach their full potential and to be role models for the next generation.

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