8th International Natural Science Tournament 2018
A team of Special Programme in Science (SPS) students emerged as the top winner at the 8th International Natural Sciences Tournament (INST) held in Agra, India from 29 January to 3 February 2018.
Participants and judges of the 8th INST competition.
INST is a team competition for undergraduate students where participants learn how to apply their interdisciplinary knowledge to develop innovative solutions for as-yet-unsolved scientific and industry problems.
This year, SPS was represented by Team MICKS, comprising Year 2 Science students: KIM Mu Young (Physics), Jessie WONG Ling Ai (Life Sciences), LI Beiye (Chemistry), and Amelia GUNAWAN (Chemistry). The team was mentored and coached by Max TAN Jin Hui, Year 3 Chemistry student and Dr Robert LIEU Zi Zhao, a lecturer with SPS and the Department of Biological Sciences.
A group photo at a visit to Taj Mahal. From left to right: Jessie Wong Ling Ai (Life Science), Kim Mu Young (Physics), Li Beiye (Chemistry), and Amelia Gunawan (Chemistry)
The finalists were chosen based on their performance in the extramural round. Thereafter, they presented their scientific ideas in Agra during the finals, while also actively participating in active scientific discussions and debates to explain their solutions. The tournament also facilitated collaborations between participants, scientists and industry experts.
Some interesting problems presented at this year's competition included curing Alzheimer's using phagocytosis; developing a standard to calculate the complexity of an organic chemical synthesis; generating power to charge phones using the human body, and others.
Amelia said, "It was a great experience learning how to address real-life problems, like the Taj Mahal turning yellow from pollution."
Mu Young said, "In preparing and presenting the solutions to various questions, I learnt about elements in biology, chemistry and engineering, attesting to the truly interdisciplinary nature of SPS."
A group photo at the start of competition. From left to right: Featuring, Jessie Wong Ling Ai (Life Science), Kim Mu Young (Physics), Li Beiye (Chemistry), and Amelia Gunawan (Chemistry) ;
Beiyi said, "The trip left me with great memories of the exotic culture of India and the friends I met from Russia and India. INST broadened my thinking, to evaluate a question in greater depth. I was also exposed to new science areas which I was not familiar with."
Beiyi said, "The trip left me with great memories of the exotic culture of India and the friends I met from Russia and India. INST broadened my thinking, to evaluate a question in greater depth. I was also exposed to new science areas which I was not familiar with.”
On mentoring the team, Max said, '"It was a tiring but highly rewarding experience. As the team actively answered questions and worked on their project, I provided guidance such as technical knowledge and administrative/logistics support. Having taken part in the competition in 2016, I also shared their fear and excitement. Ultimately it was extremely fulfilling to note that they grew closer as a team and developed organisational skills that cannot be learnt in the classroom."
SPS students first participated in INST 2016 in Novosibirsk, Russia.