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The ACJC Science & Innovation Symposium 2013

On 6 April, the ACJC Science Department held its inaugural Science and Innovation Symposium. The event was attended by more than a hundred students from several different schools. This year’s theme, ‘Science is Life’ celebrates the undying and omnipresent spirit of curiosity in all scientific pursuits. Mr. Sin Kim Ho, Deputy Director of Science Education, Curriculum Planning and Development Division, Ministry of Education graced the event as the Guest of Honour. The Symposium officially commenced at 8.30 am. Mr. Sin was welcomed by a rousing round of applause from the audience. 
 
During his opening speech, Mr. Sin introduced the audience to his field of work, which involved designing pedagogical methods and materials, enhancing the quality of science education in Singapore, as well as conceptualising and implementing curricula and syllabi. He discussed the platforms through which students could pursue their own scientific research and described such opportunities as an ‘informal learning experience,’ in contrast to the classroom-style teaching methods that many are currently familiar with. He examined the key principles behind science and discussed its balanced emphasis on both experimental techniques and theoretical methods. Mr. Sin concluded his informative speech with a discussion of the application of science, emphasising in specific, the moral and ethical issues that science raises. Some of these issues include the genetic modification of humans as well as the significance of science in a knowledge-based economy.
 
The keynote speaker, Mr. Keith Roddan spoke on the topic of ‘What is innovation and how do we encourage people to develop new ideas?’ Mr. Roddan is the Business Development Manager of 3M’s Infrastructure Protection Division. He has been working with 3M for more than 30 years, and in his speech, highlighted many of the corporation’s innovative practices that empowered individuals to pursue their research interests. Quoting Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling, he said ‘the best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas,’ Mr. Roddan shared with the audience the insights of managing creativity and driving innovation. As he pointed out, setting up barriers around others stifled innovation, as was being critical and unforgiving about mistakes. ‘Mistakes,’ Mr. Roddan said, ‘are part of the process ... we believe in empowering individuals, we believe that they will come up with better ideas than what management will ever come up with.’ He also touched on delegation, feedback and the freedom to grow as processes essential to nurturing a creative culture. Finally, Mr. Roddan concluded his speech with an interesting look at how we use the vast array of 3M products on a daily basis.

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Mr Keith Roddan sharing on how innovation is supported within an organisation
After the Question-and-Answer session with Mr. Roddan, participants broke up into their respective groups. In total, there were 5 main groups: “Engineering Possibilities into Realities” (A1) , hosted by ME4 Niow Choon Hock, Naval Logistics Department, Republic of Singapore Navy; “New Technological Trends and Opportunities in Nanotech and Materials Science” (A2) , by Asst. Prof. Ng Kee Woei, School of Material Science and Engineering, Nanyang Technological University;  “Stem cells in the past, present and future” (A3) , by Dr. Chong Seow Khoon, School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University; Student Research Project presentations(A4) , hosted by ACJC’s student researchers, and Chemistry Workshops, “Old Metal, New Uses, New Fluid, Many Possibilities”(A5) , conducted by Mr. Chan Poh Sing and Mr. Lim Vee Heng, Anglo-Chinese Junior College.

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Symposium participants at workshop
During and after the tea break, participants were invited to the Hub to view the project showcase by our student researchers. Throughout the break, the Hub was bustling with activity as both teachers and students listened to presentations by individual and group researchers. It was an informative and engaging experience; one that we believe will inspire many of the participants to pursue their own projects as well.
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ACJC Research Students Poster presentation
At 12.00 pm, all participants returned to Lecture Theatre One, to observe the closing ceremony. A short video on the life of Leonardo da Vinci, was screened. Prizes, including $200 Kinokuniya vouchers, were also given out to winners of the 2013 Science Essay Competition who wrote on Da Vinci’s life and his contributions. The 2013 Symposium officially concluded with a video montage of the entire day proceedings, made possible by ACJC Photographic Society.

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Mr Kevin Ang, our VP (Edu) with Joyce Er of Raffles Girl’s School ( Secondary) first prize winner of the Science Essay Competition
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Breakout Session A1
The presentation by ME4 Niow Choon Hock, PhD (Electrical Engineering), was an informative and enlightening talk. Mr. Niow discussed the connection between dreams and reality in science, and spoke on several essential elements of engineering possibilities, drawing on a wide array of applications and examples. His elements were: inspiration, relevance, innovation, and simplicity. Mr. Niow drew real-life examples from scientists such as Einstein, who was quoted saying, ‘make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.’ Other technologies, such as the Charged-Coupled Device (CCD), simplified electrical engineering. Another example, Steve Jobs, exemplified inspiration. Mr. Niow pointed out that any rational person would give up beyond a certain threshold, but only passionate and convicted individuals would stay committed to their goals. Mr. Niow’s own life was also an inspiring example of this: he had to balance his studies while working in the army and was able to finish his doctoral studies in an amazing 3 years.
 
by Ian Wu, Ryan Lim and Samuel Lai