On the first day of the SST-NTU Flagship Camp, we attended five different Plenary Sessions. Each talk was different and unique from one another, and they helped us to gain more insights on each and every subjects in NTU.
The first session was mostly on the importance of water. It was conducted by Professor Ng Wun Hem, who was also Executive Director of the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI). We learnt that we should not take clean and fresh water from granted; besides that, we also learnt that dirty water could pose a threat to health and even human life. Professor Ng also gave us an advice at the end of talk, saying that “it was not just about making a difference for ourselves, but also making a difference for others”.
The next session was on the revolution of Microelectronics Technology. It was conducted by Professor Yeo Kiat Seng. He was the Head of Division of Circuits & System in the School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering. In his talk, he highlighted nine key aspects in that area which was constantly improved on; they consist of bio, radio, auto, info, nano, hydro, audio, video and energy.
We learnt that the Government rates the area of study very highly, as more than $16.1 billion will be spent on it for the next five years. In the future, Singapore would become more dynamic in electronic research, thus being comparable to countries like Sweden or Finland. Besides that, we also learnt that electronics and biology were converging at a nanoscale, thus giving rise to bio-nano electronics.
The third session was more on the innovative breakthroughs in Nano-Science and Nano-Technology. It was conducted by Professor Ma Jan, who was also the Chair of School of Material Science & Engineering. During the talk, we found out that the smaller size for a fixed volume would actually have a larger surface area. We also came into realisation that Nano-Technology could actually do unexpected things too, like creating a body armour with enhanced protection.
The fourth session was on IT for Animation. It was conducted by Professor Seah Hock Soon from the School of Computer Engineering. We started off by learning the definition of “animation”. It actually refers to “an optical illusion of motion created by consecutive displays of two or more static images”. After that, the speaker went into greater details and introduced us to the world of animation and other related fields of study, too. Finally, he ended off his speech by saying, “Everyone can be an inventor; take the first step and start something big. Keep it simple, and perfect it later.”
The fifth and last session was predominantly on rising sea levels. It was conducted by Assistant Professor Emma Hill from the School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences. She told us that she was a geodesist. Using space-based techniques, she had to study the shape and size of the earth, as well as its gravity field, and how these things change over time. After that, she elaborated on gravitational attraction and the melting of glaciers, before adding on that the sea-level rise will be the highest when it is furthest away from the glaciers. Therefore, there is a need to plan for this in the near future. Finally, she reiterated that sea-level rise would not be the same everywhere.
The Plenary Session that left the deepest impression on me will be the first talk on the importance of water. I find it very interesting, as water pollution is rife in this day and age, and because there are many water-related problems around the world nowadays. For example, the poor people in Africa have to contend with drinking contaminated water, and this may pose a threat to their health or even their lives. Therefore, since I have an interest in water pollution and the environment, I feel that the first talk is the most engaging one out of the five sessions. In the future, I might even consider studying or working in that area too, despite the fact that it would be a little queer to observe muck.