Sunday, December 18, 2016

Nature of Science Misconception Essay

Wallace and his Gravitational Waltz Towards Creativity
        Without creativity, science is extremely limited to where it can expand. Yes, collecting and analyzing data is a very important step in getting results, but often those results can be improved upon and looked at in many different ways. Explanations are needed for these conclusions, and labs can be taken to newer and higher levels just out of creativity and imagination. The Huffington Post even goes as far as saying that creativity and science are the “perfect couple” (Cellitioci). Without imagination, Hipparchus would not have created the first star catalogue in 129 B.C (Burnham). This documentation lead to further questions, experiments, and even a telescope launching in 2018 that can see up to 13.5 billion years ago (BEC Crew). Could this new telescope answer questions about the existence of life? The extremities of the universe? Could the telescope push imaginative scientists to pose further questions and search for more results? This is all the result of the creativity and imagination of the human brain in the field of science.
           According to Graham Wallace, a renowned psychologist who wrote The Art of Thought, there are four factors of creativity. First is incubation. This is the beginner-stage brainstorming process used when coming up with ideas (Ossola). Whether it is a science fair student looking to find a topic that interests them or a developed scientists trying to figure out why the world works like it does, this process uses lots of imagination and creativity to think of what would work, and why it might work that way. One example is Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity. You might know the story of Newton’s experience with the apple tree. It is said that he was sitting in his mother’s garden in Lincolnshire on a bench when an apple hit him on the head. He then wondered why the apple dropped onto the ground on straight line, and why it had not landed a foot or two beside him (Connor). What did Newton do here? He used his imagination to try to find a solution to a problem.
Another stage of creativity is preparation. Once an idea is harvested, one must gather the materials and find a good location to perform the experiment. Factors need to be considered, as well as independent and dependent variables (Ossola). One example of this is Amro Halwah, Stephen Mwingria, and Si Ya “Wendy” Ni’s robot created to clean up the subways of New York City. They had been late to class numerous times because of the tardiness of subways from fires started by rubbish on the tracks. To solve this problem, the three students got together and created a robot in the back of their Spanish classroom on school desks. They then gathered all the materials they needed to create this 100 pound robot (Stone). Without them coming up with the materials and space to make this robot, Halwah, Mwingria, and Ni would not have been prepared to start this experiment. Preparation is a big part of science experiments, and requires a great deal of creativity and imagination.
Once a conclusion is reached, the human brain goes through a process of verification, also known as “cognitive control checking.” It is here that one must interpret data, as well as try to find areas of error in an experiment (Ossola). Going back to Halwah, Mwingria, and Ni’s experiment, it is mentioned that they created their project in the back of a Spanish classroom. Do you think that once it worked, they were finished with their project? Do you not think that they improved it to make their prototype even better? Halwah, Mwingria, and Ni did not follow a specific procedure to come to this result. Because of this, they had to verify their results themselves, and look for areas of improvement to better suit their robot for it’s purpose on the subway trains in New York City.
Lastly, according to Wallace, a scientist must pay attention to illumination, yet another stage of creativity. This step moves the scientist to think about their results, and provide clarification for why certain things might lead to certain outcomes. This could lead to further tests, and the process might start all over again (Ossola). Let’s look back at Isaac Newton. Many years following his experience in the 1660’s, Newton spent the majority of his time trying to develop a mathematical formula for gravity. He finally came up with Fg = G(m1 x m2)/r2, meaning that the gravitation force is equal to the masses of two objects divided by the separation between the objects squared, times the universal gravitational constant (“The Universal Law of Gravitation”). Imagine how much work was put into this experiment, and how many times Newton must have tested his equation in order to make it precise and perfect.
So does science use creativity, the art of combining preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification? It most definitely does. Without incubation, scientists cannot come up with ideas to test hypotheses on. Neglecting preparation, scientists will not be able to accurately set up their experiments and labs. They then need to take those results and make sense of them, looking deeper into areas of possible improvement or invalidity using illumination and verification. Science is not just a list of procedures leading to a conclusion. Science uses the one’s creativity and imagination to harvest ideas and carve them into results.

Works Cited
BEC Crew. “World’s Most Powerful Telescope Set to Launch in 2018.” ScienceAlert.
ScienceAlert Pty Ltd., 23 Apr. 2015. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
Burnham, Robert. “Hipparchus’s Sky Catalogue Found.” Astronomy Magazine. 
Kalmbach. Publishing Co., 13 Jan. 2005. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
Cellitioci, Jayme. “Science and Creativity: the Perfect Couple.” The Huffington Post. Inc., 18 Feb. 2014. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
Connor, Steve. “The Core of Truth Behind Sir Isaac Newton’s Apple.” Independent. 
 Independent News and Media, 17 Jan. 2010. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.
Ossola, Alexandra. “Scientists are More Creative Than You Might Imagine.”  
The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group, 12 Nov. 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.
Stone, Amanda. “Science Fair 2016: Meet the Next Generation of America’s 
Innovators.” The White House., 8 April 2016. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.
“The Universal Law of Gravitation.” Weber State University. N.p., n.d.. Web. 15 Dec.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

#7 Visit a Water-Based Amusement Park

It was a fun day at Whales Tale last Sunday! Though I ran out of spray sunscreen I did not burn :)

#5 Visit a State Park Part Two

The Flumes were gorgeous! Big thanks to Andy for dealing with me hahaha.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Invention of the Leaf

People are always looking for new ways to collect fuel. It is being used more and more, and it is hard to imagine a world without it. Even though fuel is something you as a person probably use very frequently, it is not prone to the main theme of macroeconomics: scarcity. Almost everything is valued upon how scarce it is. Gold is very scarce, so it is valued very highly. Silver is a little less scarce, so it is valued below gold but above bronze. Fuel is something valued because of its necessity to everyday life.
To help with this problem, Harvard students looked into the Bionic Leaf. It was previously meddled with, but it was not up to its full potential. The original model previously created took water and split it into hydrogen and oxygen molecules. Microbes in the system then used the hydrogen to turn CO2 into alcohol that can in turn be burned as fuel. The students added a new catalyst found between cobalt and phosphorus and improved the system by 10%. Not only does this help with the scarcity of fuel, but it can also help eliminate the amount of CO2 in the environment [1].
This article reminded me of the photosynthesis unit in biology. Alcohol is a big part of fuel, as it is the main reason of ethanol formation. I do question the final product, and how it will fit into cities and towns. I also wonder how expensive it will be. The article stated that it was good for communities that "lack access to modern technologies." Could this be too expensive for them? Overall, it seems like a wonderful idea that could help many people worldwide.

Works Cited:
[1] D. Biello. (2016, August 1). New "Bionic" Leaf is Roughly Ten Times More Efficient Than Natural Photosynthesis. [Online]. Available:

#11 Find a Deer

Found this deer on the way to Cape Cod this past week!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

#18 Hold Two Slugs

Doing the firewood has some perks...three slimy slugs were found!! Though it may have taken a while to get the slime off of my hand, it was worth it!!
P.S. There were three slimy slugs in my hand. One rolled over and could not be found (get the 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed reference??).

Friday, August 12, 2016

#5 Visit a State Park Part One

When my family and I went to Hermit Island last month, we stopped at Popham Beach! Though I was on crutches, I was still able to hop around Fort Popham and learn all about the artillery they used.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

#3 Feed the Ducks Part Three

Fed these ducks at Weirs Beach today. Though the weather was not the greatest, I still had a great time!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

#13: Play the Board Game "Apples to Apples"

Played this hilarious game at the library today with a great group of friends! Thanks guys!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

#14 Go to an Outdoor Free Music Event

My cousins provided music in a beautiful open barn for a wedding on Sunday!!! So proud of them and wish Kelly & Joe a lifetime of happiness together!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

#3 Feed the Ducks Part Two

This duck really enjoyed my dark rye bread before I went swimming on July 30th! One more to go....

#3 Feed the Ducks Part One

Duck Sighting #1!! I stopped and fed this duck on July 23rd near the Lost River Campground in North Woodstock, New Hampshire. He didn't really like the chips very much...but it was all I had.

#17 Identify Three Species of Tree

#1: Red Maple

Species: Rubrum
Genus: Acer
Family: Aceraceae

#2: American Elm

Species: Americana
Genus: Ulmus
Family: Ulmaceae

#3: Northern Red Oak
Species: Rubra
Genus: Quercus
Family: Fagaceae

#12 Read More Than One Book That is Not Required for Summer Reading

Little Bee by Chris Cleave - 5 Stars
     This was an amazing book brought to me by the one and only Herr Weitz. It is about a teenager who lives in Nigeria. Because of an oil war, their town is ransacked, and Little Bee is forced to flee with her sister. After many nights spent in the woods, they come across an open beach. The couple there is eager to help them out, but when the attackers show up, their inner feelings are opened up to the reader. After two years of spending time in England's detention center, Little Bee tries to find that couple that saved her life instead of her sister's.

In A World Just Right by Jen Brooks - 5 Stars
     I actually went to the Boston Teen Author Festival last September and was able to get my copy signed! It was so good I just had to read it a second time (and I usually don't do that). It is about a boy named Jonathan Aubrey who has a secret world in which he frequently escapes to throughout the day. Here, everything is perfect. He has a girlfriend, Kylie, whom he loves. Even better, she loves him right back. But when Jonathan begins to mix up these worlds, his life is turned upside down.

#10 Sleep Outside Under the Stars

I went to Hermit Island a few weeks ago and it was great!!! Though it was really windy and the tent almost toppled despite all of the ropes holding it down, the few nights on the ocean were peaceful and well worth it.

How Far is too Far?

     The field of genetics is rapidly growing, and new thoughts are created nonstop in order to delve into the interests of scientists and their curious minds. One new idea is to inject cells into humans that have been modifications using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technique. This could help solve numerous problems, including combating HIV and pioneering against cancer. The Chinese are the first to experiment with gene editing on humans, and will hopefully not be the last.
     But what is going too far? We know from previous experiences that going into certain parts of science can potentially lead to dangerous outcomes. Where did the atomic bomb come from? When did humans learn that certain gasses as used during the world wars have fatal effects? These ideas came from the dark corners of science. Is this another dark corner? It is mentioned in the article that if the wrong gene is modified, it could be extremely bad for the patient. The procedure could also have an inverse effect and start attacking the body. Even though I am really excited for the cancer and HIV patients with new hope, I am also wondering if this is the way to go. Some scientists even wonder if the Chinese are acting too fast without enough research and information, and worry about unforeseen consequences that could be avoided with a little more time spent looking at and developing the experiment [1].
     One question I had while reading the article was if scientists could learn to modify genes using other proteins to achieve more positive effects. Would certain genes have a less chance of failure or human error? It was mentioned in Genome Editing: Seven Facts About a Revolutionary Technology that another protein, Cpf1, could also work for editing genes [2]. That's like having the option to use spell check or a dictionary!
     I thought it was amazing that scientists thought of this idea. It reminds me of the vaccinations we get throughout the course of our lives, and how they help our bodies without much outside work from the patient. I remember from biology with Mrs. Cole that many diseases can be passed down from parents to children, and wonder if this could allow people with these illnesses to have babies without a worry of them getting sick. If so, this could be very good news for couples around the world. Overall, though this experiment may be a solution to many of our problems, I think it would be wise to proceed cautiously in case of an unforeseen error in the future. More research should be done in order to keep people safe and healthy.

Works Cited:
[1] D. Cyranoski. (2016, July 21). Chinese Scientists to Pioneer First Human CRISPR Trial. [Online]. Available:
[2] L. Odling-Smee, H. Ledford, S. Reardon. (2015, November 30). Genome Editing: Seven Facts About a Revolutionary Technology. [Online]. Available:

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ice Age: "Grolar Bears"

Polar bears are in danger. Nearly everyone can agree with that. But new research shows that polar bears might start mating with their "cousins", the grizzly bears. This is mainly a result of them having to move to new geographic locations because their current one is no longer a fit for them. With global warming having increased effects on the earth, the polar bears are going to have to relocate, and will probably start mating with grizzly bears. This relates to natural selection in my previous biology class because it shows that animals will adapt to their current needs. It also shows how some species will adapt easier than others. For example, the article mentioned that birds would have the greatest cross-species breeding rate at 11.6% by the year 2100. Is this because of their ability to fly? Or do birds have special adaptation skills? "Grolar bears" is going to be the case for only an estimated 6.4% of species by 2100 [1]. I thought that the percentage of hybrid animals would increase to a larger number because of this climate change. While reading the article, I also wondered how many "grolar bear" hybrids there currently are, and how new this idea is to scientists.

Works Cited:
[1] D. Shultz. (2015, July 06). Hybrid animals like 'grolar bears' not expected to be common consequence of climate change. [Online]. Available: