Monday, June 6, 2011

Plenary Sessions - Reflection by Abu Ubaidah

The first day of the camp at NTU was indeed insightful. I learnt a lot about a vast variety of fields that are offered or will be offered in NTU in the future. Personally, I found the speakers very engaging and their lectures were very different from the other lectures that I have ever attended, in the sense that they made the talks very interesting indeed and focused on problems at a worldwide level instead of an international one, this making us focus more seriously as they are problems that we could face as a worldwide population. Right now, I shall sum up most of what I have learnt in all the plenary sessions and also the interesting facts I picked up throughout the lectures.
The first lecture about the Importance of Water - Dirty and Clean made me very curious about how the world coped without sufficient water at various places. I realised that if humans actually conserved the water they take every day, They would be enough water for everyone in the world. People are the same no matter what race, No matter what religion and no matter what culture, they still bleed red blood. And as humans, I believe that we should indeed share our water equally with the world. When one makes an effort and he becomes a leader in his fight, He shall inspire generations to follow his beliefs. And with that, I shall say that this speech inspired me in many ways. Not to forget, I shall now tell you about some of my learning points which I would briefly touch on. Firstly, Why water quality is relevant to humans is because it provides protection from diseases and also there is a great need for water for all of us. Next, Water is a large industry of focus in the next few decades as so many problems dealing with water remain unsolved. I also found that many of the things in “Bad” water would lead to death, Environmental degrading, diseases and pungent smells. Finally, I shall use a short sentence to describe all that I have learnt from this talk ; “Water is precious”. 
The next plenary session was about the revolution of microelectronics technology. The talk made me understand that microelectronics and engineering is indeed a vast aspect of life that could be focused on in many different ways. Electronics can encompass virtually and physically everything in life. Be it computers or the human body. Singapore has put in a vast number of money into research for microelectronics, an estimated 16.1 billion dollars. There are also special buildings in Singapore that might just use microelectronics for their independent research. 9 Areas of fields that could be focused on with electronics, if my memory doesn’t fail me are Bio, Radio, Auto, Info, Nano, H2O, Audio, Video and Energy=mc^two. I believe that these aspects solve basically everything in the urban and rural regions so long as subsequent research is put to it. I indeed enjoyed this talk, it made me realise the versatility of jobs that engineering had and also that it helps people tenfold in everything.
The thirds plenary session made me extremely happy as it talked about biotechnology, which is my area of interest currently ( I intend to pursue Biochemistry or Biotechnology). Nanotechnology and Nano-science basically tries to integrate smaller materials to provide bigger energy. It also helps us in many ways, It can detect diseases such as cancer in its primary stages. Actually, even shark teeth had material that could be considered an innovation or nanotechnology of mother nature, the material was small but hard. Biotechnology helps in many ways as well, it brings in fabrication of nano-materials, Forensic sciences and many other interesting things such as artificial photosynthesis. This is indeed a self sustaining industry as research could be put to any need of humans with nano-sciences and biotechnology.
The fourth plenary session was interesting, But I knew most of the details he used beforehand as I have done animation previously in my CCA, Media Club. It was about how long the process of animation could take traditionally. One thing I didn’t know before the talk was that it was harder to make 2D animations rather than 3D. Doing 2D animations a lot, I can imagine the labor involved but I always assumed that 3D was much more complex. 2D animation is much more expensive than 3D animation and even still, Animation makes a big industry to target if you want a job. It also has a vast versatility in jobs that intend to outcome animation, as animation is an extremely tedious and tiring thing. There are script writers , story-boarders, artists, voice actors/actresses, actors/actresses, painters and even computer animators. Indeed an interesting talk by Professor Seah.
The last plenary session about disappearing glaciers made me understand a lot of things, and these realisations come at a global level, being that it can endanger or protect us, depending on what we do now. How melting glaciers causes a decrease in sea levels around the glaciers but an increase in sea levels in the tropics due to complex reasoning such as the formula of Gravitational Attraction (Basically between the glacier and the sea) Fg=Gm1m2/d2. So what does this talk intend to achieve? I think that it wants us to understand that us Singaporeans need to realise sooner or later that we can be in danger with other countries if we do not make an effort to stop Global Warming. When I was younger, I used to be an Environmental Ambassador from the National Environmental Agency because I readily participated in anything that could shape our future. It was indeed insightful, the workshops I have attended and everything, but never have I imagined that there was more to water level rising and dropping than I already knew, I believe this talk also opened up my mind to newer ideas.
I would say that I loved all talks equally but if I were to rank my favourite, I would definitely rate the first plenary session the best along with the last plenary session. Why? I noticed that all the other sessions focused on places in NTU and the brief history of the courses, how NTU could benefit us, but not much of what NTU could do to benefit the world in a problem that currently affects the world. Information from the first and last plenary sessions actually left such a deep impression on me that I started thinking about what me, my friends and Singapore can do to contribute to the wider society, that is, the world. I would like to stress that all the other talks were also informative to me and did provide much detail on what they can solve, but I chose plenary sessions 1 and 5 as their focuses were on a global level.
 That is all,
Abu Ubaidah

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