Have you ever wondered how to construct a 17-Gon? Or if it’s even possible? That’s one of the challenging problems you will solve in the New Jersey Governor’s School in the Sciences Core Math course. If you would like to see what the solution looks like, click on the arrow to start the video of the 17-Gon construction.
Alex Chen, Jake Cooper, Matt DeCesare, Annie Liang, Alex Parsells, Saket Shah, Alan Shenkerman, Kevin Woytowich, Michael Wu, Audrey Yan, Annie Zhou
Advisor: Dr. Robert Murawski
Assistant: Samuel E. Zorn
Although rocket science involves advanced mathematics and meticulous calculations, model rocketry is a useful segue into the world of rockets. For this project, the team built eleven unique rockets from different model kits. After measuring the rockets’ dimensions, they recreated their rockets in OpenRocket, a program used to simulate model rocket flight. After launching the rockets, experimental apogee was compared to a simulated apogee from OpenRocket and to a calculated theoretical apogee. The team also experimented with different variables to study how they affected apogee – first, by increasing the mass of a chosen rocket, and measuring its effect on the original apogee; next, the shape of the nose cone was varied on a second rocket, and the apogee was again observed and compared. The team found that simulated and experimental apogee were very similar. Increasing mass corresponded with decreasing apogee as predicted. However, the nose cone experiment yielded some unexpected results, as the rocket flew the highest with a cylindrical nose cone. Although they encountered some difficulty along the way, the scholars were successful in capturing the physics that lies behind model rocketry.
Bianca Acot, Salil Desai, Jessica Ferber, Emma Fritsch, Derek Kuldinow, Jeremy Laubsch, James Liu, Michael Lyons, Jessica Pan, Nicholas Pittman, Megan Quimby
Advisor: Dr. Ryan Hinrichs
Assistant: Kelsie Kolb & Kaushaly Patel
The advent of technology has led to a dramatic increase in the amount of waste humans produce; unfortunately, the disposal methods for many of these wastes do not parallel the improvement in technology. The proliferation of computers and cell phones has brought with it the challenge of how the modern world should manage and recycle disposed devices. Currently, most devices are shipped to underdeveloped countries, where they are aggregated and burned in mass electronic graveyards in an attempt to reclaim precious metals. Many of these areas have little to no measures to protect the surrounding environment from contamination. In our experiments, we aimed to uncover the principle leached metals and investigate potential methods of preventing undesired contamination near the landfills. The first part of the study analyzed heavy metal concentrations after soaking samples of computer parts, half of which were exposed to high temperatures, in pond water. After five days of soaking, levels as high as 1954 ppb nickel, 80 ppb selenium, 62.4 ppb manganese, 350 ppb aluminum, and 9 ppb lead were found to have leached into the water, with burning exacerbating either the leaching or aerosolization of certain materials to the extent that they exceeded their Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), the lowest level of contaminant in drinking water at which no known adverse effect occurs. In the second portion of the study, a more specific approach analyzed the impact of crumb rubber—composed of recycled, pulverized tires, and popularly utilized as an anchor for turf fields—on field users and the surrounding environment. The recycled rubber was determined to be comprised of heavy metals such as lead, copper, aluminum, and zinc, but the aforementioned was discovered to not leach in sufficient quantities to cause noticeable harmful effects, assuming typical field usage and irrigation. Within reason, the results were nearly negligible when taking into consideration that humans would not ingest turf in the quantities and concentrations measured. In particular, only aluminum, lead, zinc, cobalt, and copper were found in sufficient quantities to consistently be considered a threat in the samples, but the concentrations do not even come close to their respective elements’ MCL. However, volatile organic compounds released by crumb rubber may be present at harmful quantities. The final part of the study examined whether sand or soil better prevents heavy metals from leaching through the ground and away from landfill sites. Results indicated that, when compared to soil, sand is superior in its ability to contain the spread of lead leachate from a central source.
Sevan Asadurian, Brittany Bistis, Daniel Kim, Reshma Modi, Taylor Morrison, Archana Mupparapu, Sima Parekh, Chitra Parikh, Nikita Shah, Michelle Shui, Ming Wu, Alice Zhang
Advisor: Dr. Graham Cousens
Assistant: Michael Clancy
The primary purpose of this research was to contribute to ongoing behavioral and electrophysiological research examining the role of the olfactory tubercle (OT) in odor object representation in rodents. Three experiments were conducted. First, procedures for establishing a successive-cue go/no-go odor discrimination task were evaluated. By the end of the experiment, the rats were able to discriminate between the positive and negative odors and respond to each odor accordingly. Second, the effect of natural pheromones was assessed on the acoustic startle response (ASR), an index of fear and anxiety. Although the ASR was sensitive to pulse intensity and showed long-term habituation as predicted, no significant change in startle response was observed in response to predator and rat odors. Finally, acute single-unit and local field potential (LFP) electrophysiological signals were monitored in anesthetized rats in order to observe how odors were processed in the OT and the hippocampus, which receives less prominent olfactory input. In contrast to previous recordings conducted in the lab, none of the cells recorded showed clear patterned responses to any of the odors presented, suggesting that they were not tuned. However, a more clear relationship between the peak of the LFP signal and the firing of an action potential was discovered. This suggests that cells in the brain are firing in groups. In sum, these findings offer further insight into the olfactory system in rodents and in humans.
Tyler Barna, Ella Glenn, Lawrence Huang, Richard Huisa, Dongmin Kim, Ellen Li, Tina Lu, Thomas Mazumder, Anjali Nambrath, Catherine Ryczek, Aditya Shah, Yulan Zhang
Advisor: Dr. David Cincotta
Assistant: Stephanie Hojsak
Pseudo-zero order release, a process with many important applications in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and agriculture industries, is the constant-rate diffusion of a substance. The purpose of this experiment was to explore the effects of the different properties of organic compounds on pseudo-zero order release by monitoring vapor diffusion through a polyethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) membrane. Specifically, the experiment examined the impact of variations in molecule size, intermolecular forces, and membrane composition. The experimental setup involved the gravimetric analysis of a membrane-sealed jar partially filled with liquid compound. Vapor flux was calculated based on recorded changes in mass as the compound evaporated and diffused over time, allowing for the comparison of different compounds’ diffusion rates. Analysis of collected data revealed a positive correlation between diffusion coefficient and compound-membrane solubility as described by the Hansen Solubility Parameters, thus reinforcing the validity of Hansen’s model of solubility. Moreover, a positive trend was found between diffusion coefficient and molecular mass.
Tanique Bennett, Kaitlyn Boyle, Emma Carlson, Arjun Gupta, Enoch Jiang, Ryan Jin, Aishwarya Kalyanaraman, Jeferson Mendoza, Pooja Nahar, Danielle Pergola, Siri Uppuluri, Sophia Velasquez
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Dunaway
Assistant: Jal Trivedi
The complex world of invasive mycoses has only recently emerged at the forefront of biomedical research as a serious threat to human health. Due to the increasing susceptibility of immunocompromised populations to invasive fungal infections (IFIs) and the ineffectiveness of current treatment methods, the field of medical mycology is in dire need of a novel therapeutic approach. In this paper, we focus on Eukaryotic Elongation Factor 3 (eEF3), one of three proteins in a family of translation factors known as eukaryotic elongation factors. eEF3 plays a critical role in polypeptide synthesis, aiding in the removal of deacetylated tRNAs from the ribosomal complex and recruiting aminoacetylated tRNAs from the cytosol to continue elongation. Curiously, it has been discovered that eEF3 is highly conserved in unicellular eukaryotes and is absent from, or at least functionally inactive in, more complex members of the domain. The functional exclusivity of eEF3 makes it a prime candidate for antifungal drug targeting, permitting the design of highly effective therapeutic compounds with minimal toxicity to host cells. However, the structural conservation of eEF3 varies among different species, and it is first necessary to determine the functional conservation of the protein as well as the conservation of integral functional domains. The current study presents an intuitive approach to answering these questions, employing the “plasmid shuffle” technique to transform P. infestans eEF3 into S. cerevisiae while forcing the latter species to forfeit its endogenous eEF3 gene. The results of the experiment indicated that, when placed under stringent environmental pressure, S. cerevisiae was able to survive on the P. infestans eEF3 homologue, suggesting that P. infestans eEF3 can functionally substitute for S. cerevisiae eEF3. This study provides a preliminary foundation for eEF3 targeting research and will hopefully have significant implications for antimicrobial drug development to combat fungal and other eukaryotic pathogens.