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Environmental Issues of Yttrium

By Amy Wang, VI Form

Environmental Issues of Yttrium

Editors’ Note: To read Advanced Chemistry’s assignment sheet for Smartphone Chemistry and Ethics of Material Usage, click here.

Yttrium is a metal with atomic number 39, located in Group 3, Period 5, Block d. It is classified as both a rare earth element and a transition metal.

Context

As a metal, pure Yttrium exhibits typical metallic properties, but the Y in smartphones is not in its pure form. It’s always contained in compounds.

Usage in a Generic Smartphone

Y is one of the rare earth elements (REE), a class of very special elements that all have unique properties. Y, in particular, is an integral part of a smartphone screen because it can make a compound that emits red luminescence. Since red is one of the three primary colors of light, Yttrium is widely used to make screens colorful. (more…)

Referred Pain: Societal Ailments Manifested as Individual Illnesses in Dystopian Literature

By Ms. Margaret Caron, English Faculty

Referred Pain: Societal Ailments Manifested as Individual Illnesses in Dystopian Literature

 “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

  • The Princess Bride

Perhaps life is indeed pain, as Goldman suggests, or perhaps life is only pain when a government’s control and society’s structure become so stifling and warped that its people develop pains and illnesses as a reflection of that government deterioration. The unbearable agony experienced by Westley in the Pit of Despair is not unlike the pain experienced by the residents of the Thieves’ Forest as they are unjustly forced out of their homes; Buttercup’s sorrow at hearing of Westley’s supposed death mirrors Florin’s morning when they hear news that their new princess has been killed; and Count Rugen’s six-fingered right hand embodies a distorted hand of justice. A corrupt prince, an abuse of power, and manipulative treason are made more palpable by a character’s singular screams and suffering.

This narrative tactic is evident in the novels of Atwood, Zamyatin, Abdel Aziz, and Ishiguro. The Handmaid’s Tale, The Queue, We, and Never Let Me Goshare similar authoritarian governments, sick characters, and broken social systems. Offred, Yehya, D-503, and Kathy are broken, ailing humans, but they are also members of irrevocably broken societies and authoritarian governing bodies. These characters’ illnesses are more than mere byproducts of broken government control and societal values. Rather, these dystopian societies with authoritarian governments posit characters’ physical ailments as representative of larger societal illnesses and failings. (more…)

Summer STEM: Building A Stronger and Lighter Impact Attenuator

By Zenia Alarcon, VI Form et al

Summer STEM: Building A Stronger and Lighter Impact Attenuator

I attended the Summer STEM Program at The Cooper Union, and I took the Race Car Engineer and Design course. I am interested in engineering and wanted to know if it was something I wanted to pursue in college.

An impact attenuator is an object that purposely deforms to protect the driver in a crash. Our goal: to create an impact attenuator that is stronger yet lighter then what is on the car right now and is made out of carbon fiber.

Click on Image for Full Google Slide presentation.

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CAR T Cell–Giving Cancer Patients New Hope

By Grant Gattuso and Frank Hua, VI Form

CAR T Cell–Giving Cancer Patients New Hope

This past summer we had the opportunity to work in a cancer research lab in Seattle for four weeks— a very unique experience, especially for high schoolers.  We worked in Dr. Michael Jensen’s ‘82 lab in the Ben Towne Center For Childhood Cancer Research, which is affiliated with Seattle Children’s Hospital. The lab focuses on CAR T Cell, a immunotherapy that gives cancer patients a new hope. (more…)

Vonegut’s Cat’s Cradle: Thoughts on Science, Ethics, and Being Human

By Jiwon Choi, VI Form

Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle: Thoughts on Science, Ethics, and Being Human

I am drawn to science. I always loved history and literature, too, but science made sense to me, scratched my itch in a way other subjects never did. As I did chemistry experiments or drew molecular diagrams, I felt part of a never-ending search for truth, an heir to the great, inexhaustible spirit of inquiry.

And every year I saw more evidence for the validity and even nobility of that spirit. Whether it was the laser cutter that lets me instantly carve out trophies for the little kids who come for free robotics classes on Saturdays or a news item about advancements in self-driving cars, science met my expectations time and time again, sparking my imagination and literally making my heart beat faster.

Of course, I’m not ignorant of the repercussions that come along with new discoveries. I’ve read plenty of pieces about the threats AI will pose to the workforce, and I worry about accidents involving autonomous cars. But still, when I did my mental cost-benefit analysis, science was unequivocally a net good. And besides, isn’t it science itself that will find solutions to these problems? Surprisingly to me, it was in a literature class that my attitude about science was shaken forever. Almost immediately upon beginning Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, my heart sank, filling me with an uncomfortable feeling I couldn’t resolve. (more…)

Treating AAA (Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms)

By Megan Christy, VI Form

Treating AAA (Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms)

I am captivated by one particularly compelling question: how can we manipulate the body so it fixes itself? Could a combination of biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering be the answer?

I began exploring this question in the summer of 2017 while participating in a biomedical engineering program at Boston Leadership Institute. There, I applied this question to the way in which we treat aneurysms. Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are a “silent killer.” They form when the walls of a blood vessel weaken and are difficult to diagnose due to the lack of symptoms prior to rupture.[1] Once ruptured, AAAs have a mortality rate of 90%.[2] When an unruptured AAA is diagnosed, it is vitally important to treat it in a minimally invasive and lasting manner. (more…)