Year 12s embark on a contemporary scientific journey

17 September 2020

Science Extension is a brand new NESA-developed course implemented in 2019 aiming at high-achieving science students in Year 12 who want to engage with complex concepts and theories and to critically evaluate new ideas, discoveries and contemporary scientific research. Students propose, develop and conduct an authentic scientific research project.

At Glenaeon, for the first time, three talented Year 12 students took the challenge to embark on this journey of scientific discovery in 2020.

Finn Gladstone discovered his interests in reptiles in Year 11. With the help of researchers from the University of Technology Sydney, he soon developed his scientific research project investigating the efficiency of insulation on artificial rocks in providing suitable habitat for rock-dwelling velvet geckos (Amalosia lesueurii) in Dharawal National Park. Finn spent many days in the field setting up artificial rocks, examining geckos and collecting crucial temperature data. Although the time is limited, he was able to successfully conclude that insulation is an effective strategy to improve the thermal viability of artificial rock models used for habitat restoration.

Justin Takayasu has always been fascinated with chemical engineering. While reading a very complex scientific journal on the application of cyclic voltammetry, he quickly came up with the idea of investigating the effects of pressure on the electrochemical window (electrical potential difference). However, without easy access to expensive equipment such as a potentiostat, Justin realised he had to change his approach. Collaborating with researchers from the University of North Carolina in the US, Justin decided to construct a “do-it-yourself” potentiostat following an existing protocol. After extensive and complex troubleshooting, Justin was able to successfully assess the reliability and accuracy of his “DIY” potentiostat in measuring cyclic voltammetry compared to other commercial potentiostat in published literature.

Keaun Wild took his inspiration from a contemporary issue – the COVID-19 pandemic. His research project focused on analysing the incidence of the novel coronavirus among different age groups in Australia. Taking publicly available large datasets from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Keaun used sophisticated statistical analysis to determine that the age range of 25-29 has the highest incidence in relation to its population proportion. He also argued that this pattern of incidence is different from other coronavirus outbreaks in the past, promoting further research into the susceptibility of the disease among different age groups.

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