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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…)
By Haley Dion, VI Form
Unique Advances in Transplant Research with Hydractinia
Transplantation is the future of medicine. It is an ever-evolving field of research. For three weeks this summer, I was given the opportunity to take part in the research by interning at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplant Institute. At the institute, I worked in the Nicotra Lab under the mentorship of Dr. Matthew Nicotra. The Nicotra Lab is one of the Stuart K. Patrick Research Laboratories at the Institute named after St. Mark’s alumnus, Stuart K. Patrick ’57. The lab I worked in is unique because it works with an organism that is very rarely used in research: Hydractinia
Hydractinia are invertebrates that live on hermit crab shells. These organisms are part of the cnidarian species, and they grow as colonies. Hydractinia grow mat tissue, which is the base of their colony. Within the mat, there are gastrovascular canals that allow cells to flow throughout the colony. Some Hydractinia have stolons, branched stem-like structures, that extend from their mat. Hydractinia also have polyps that protrude from the top of their mat. These polyps are tubes surrounded by tentacles that are used to consume food. In addition to the polyps that help the Hydractinia eat, there are reproductive polyps that can be used to tell whether the colony is male or female. This image illustrates the development of a Hydractinia embryo to a colony. The image shows what an adult polyp looks like, in addition to both the male and female sexual polyps. (more…)
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.
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…)
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. Once ruptured, AAAs have a mortality rate of 90%. When an unruptured AAA is diagnosed, it is vitally important to treat it in a minimally invasive and lasting manner. (more…)
By Cathy Zhou, IV Form
Computer Vision: Mapping Poverty in Uganda
This summer, I attended an all-girls program called Ai-4-ALL, formerly known as SAILORS (Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory’s Outreach Summer Program). Inspired by the camp’s model “AI will change the world. Who will change AI?” I believe that people, instead of perceiving artificial intelligence (AI) as threats, should use it as a tool for impact. During this camp, I, along with seven other AI-enthusiasts, created a model for mapping poverty using satellite images. (more…)
By Tianyu Zhao, VI Form
The Art of Summation—An Introduction to Infinite Series
No matter if you like math or not, or if you are good at it or not, take a look at this for fun, and see how far you can get. If you are stuck somewhere, skip it and move on. If you think some parts are too easy and obvious for you, just bear with me. Today, I’m graduating from St. Mark’s, and this is probably my last time (maybe even the first time) catching your attention. I promise you’ll discover something deeply mesmerizing about math. Let’s start with some definitions. In mathematics, a series is the sum of a sequence of numbers. Imagine that you are given a sequence, say 1, 2, 3, 4. Then 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10 is a series. Now it’s easy to extend this definition to infinite series, which is simply the sum of an infinite sequence of numbers that never ends like the example above does. An infinite series is convergent if the sum
of its terms is a finite number, and is divergent if the sum reaches infinity.
Infinite series is one of the most beautiful and delicate mathematical objects in my world.
2. Harmonic Series
If you have taken Advanced Calculus BC, you must be familiar with the
By Gillian Yue, VI Form
Software Pipeline Connecting Close-Range Photogrammetry and 3D Printing
The aim of this project is to make it possible for an average person with no prior knowledge in photogrammetry to 3D-print small objects found in daily lives. My work is to create a software that serves as a pipeline; the software connects the multiple processes that are required to transform the input of of photos of the target object into an output of a 3D printable model file. In other words, what used to be a complicated process of switching between different tools and manually processing the model to make it 3D printable becomes a simple one-click routine where the user can provide the initial group of photos, and then simply sit next to the 3D printer to wait for the object to come out half an hour later. (more…)