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New Jersey junior academy of science annual meeting.

KEAN UNIVERSITY

UNION, NEW JERSEY

SATURDAY, APRIL 6, 2002

AWARD WINNING ORAL PRESENTATIONS

PSYCHOLOGY

PATTERN RECOGNITION BASED UPON BRAIN HEMISPHERE DOMINANCE

CHRISTOPHER HARRIS

High Technology High School (Roche)

FIRST PLACE

The purpose of this experiment was to determine if there was a significant difference between the number of patterns recognized by left brain dominant subjects and the number of patterns recognized by right brain dominant subjects. Subjects were tested on a laptop; first, subjects took the Style of Learning and Thinking (SOLAT) test to determine their dominant brain hemisphere. Subjects then attempted to recognize patterns in a 5-minute period of the electronic card game SET. The game SET requires players to find trios of cards that share characteristics in number, color, shape, and shading. The game requires the use of both logical and spatial skills (left and right brain traits, respectively). Twenty subjects were tested, and there was found to be a significantly greater number of patterns identified by right brain dominant subjects than left brain dominant subjects. The t-test value was .032. The null hypothesis was rejected and the research hypothesis supported. Further study could include expanded testing of subjects or a change of independent variable to another characteristic such as gender or age.

THE EFFECT OF TASKS ON PERCEPTION OF ELAPSED TIME

GARRETT MARINO

High Technology High School (Roche)

SECOND PLACE

(and Second Place in the poster competition)

"Work," said the philosopher Diderot, "has the advantage, among others, of shortening our days and lengthening our lives." If we are idle or bored, time drags; if we are occupied, time flies. An experiment was developed to accurately demonstrate how perception of elapsed time differs when subjects are placed in "task" and "no task" situations. It was hypothesized that individuals in different working situations (work, no work) would exhibit a significant difference in their perception of elapsed time. A total of 100 subjects were individually tested in a clockless room, first using a word find puzzle. The participant was told to work on the word find and alert the proctor when he or she believed five minutes had elapsed. The subject's guess of when five minutes had elapsed was recorded in a data table. After this phase of the experiment, the subject worked on nothing and was told to tell the proctor when he or she believed five minutes had elapsed. The subject's guess was recorded in the same manner as befor e. According to the data collected, the times guessed for participants in the "task" situation were significantly different than the times guessed for the subjects doing nothing. As a result, the null hypothesis of no significant difference between the two data sets was rejected.

THE INTERPRETATION OF FACIAL EXPRESSIONS

ADRIENNE FELT

High Technology High School (Roche)

THIRD PLACE

No one reason can explain the commonplace clashes between children and adults; could they be rooted in unobvious misunderstandings? This study hypothesized that adults would be more accurate at identifying facial expressions than children. Surveys were created for two audiences: 5th/6th graders, and their parents. The surveys contained six female faces (from a referenced expert experiment) depicting one of six extreme emotions. Participants were asked to match each image with one of seven emotions (surprise, anger, sadness, fear, disgust, interest, and happiness). The null hypothesis could not be rejected (there was no significant difference between the abilities of the adults and children). However, in specific areas groups did demonstrate different abilities. Students showed less accuracy identifying "surprise" and far less identified "interest". Gender comparisons revealed that males were less likely to properly identify "sadness" and "disgust" while females scored lower with "interest".

BIOCHEMISTRY AND GENETICS

EXPRESSION OP THE CHAIN SHORTENING ENZYME FROM VANILLA PLANIFOLIA IN PICHIA PASTORIS

JULIET GIRARD

Dickinson High School (Corcoran)

FIRST PLACE

The orchid, Vanilla planfolia, accumulates the flavor compound vanillin (4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde) and vanillin precursors like 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde using the chain shortening enzyme (CSE). CSE converts 4-coumaric acid (CA) to 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde (BA), the first step in vanillin biosynthesis. Vanillin (most abundant compound extract) is the most widely used flavor in the world. However, natural vanillin is expensive and its synthesis pollutive. Biosynthesis is an inexpensive, fast solution to the problem. This work involved expressing CSE in Pichia pastoris yeast. The yeast was transformed with CSE using electroporation. Methanol was administered to the yeast for induction of the enzyme. The yeast cultures were also given CA and BA. Only the induced CSE transformed yeast clone expressed the enzyme and used CA from the media, but every clone used BA from the media. The CSE transformed clone showed high enzyme activity upon induction, while the albumin control clone showed no activity. This study was successful in producing the complex plant enzyme using yeast which functioned properly and could be used to quickly produce hydroxybenzaldehyde

DETERMINATION OF RATE AND ROUTE OF BEET MOSAIC POTYVIRUS INFECTION IN VARIOUS TISSUES OF THE SUGARBEET CULTIVAR OF BETA VULGARIS

JESSICA CHONG

Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology (Stark-Houck)

SECOND PLACE

The primary objective of this project was to investigate and document the rate of infection and route beet mosaic potyvirus (BtMV) takes in sugarbeets during the first five days following inoculation. Young beet seedlings derived from seed were mechanically infected as soon as two true leaves were visible by rubbing one of the leaves with a powder composed of ground-up, dried, infected plant material in a sodium phosphate buffer, and abrasive powder. For the next five days following the infection, a beet sample was taken and the entire sample frozen to preserve the virus. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was used to determine the presence of the virus in the stem/petiole, root, and leaves of infected sugarbeets; reverse transcription and standard cDNA PCR were performed on the frozen root, stem/petiole, and leaves of each beet plant. The first PCR product was subjected to a second PCR reaction and then to gel electrophoresis to detect the presence of the BtMV env (envelope) protein.

THE EFFECTS OF RETINOL ACETATE ON INDUCED TUMOR GROWTH ON KALANCHOE DIAGREMONTIANA CAUSED BY AGROBACTERIUM TUMEFACIENS

NINA FERNANDEZ

Parsippany Hills High School (Pompei)

THIRD PLACE

This study was designed to determine if retinol acetate has the potential of treating crown gall tumors in Kalanchoe diagremontiana, a succulent commonly known as "Mother of Millions." Kalanchoe diagremontiana plants were infected with Agrobacterium tumefaciens, a bacterium that causes crown gall tumors to form in their wound sites. Crown gall tumors will stunt plant growth and kill the plants if not treated. An 8.5 x [10.sup.-4] molar concentration of retinol acetate, a water-soluble derivative of Vitamin A, was administered weekly to the plants. It was found that retinol acetate reduces tumor size, causes the tumors to separate from the plants' healthy tissues, kills the tumors, and prevents new tumors from forming in the wound sites.

ZOOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

THE EFFECT OF DIFFERENT COLOR PATTERNS ON THE EFFICIENCY OF THERMOREGULATION IN SEVERAL SNAKES

ANNA GARBER

Colonia High School (Danch)

FIRST PLACE

Several snake species found in northern regions have darker coloration than the same species in southern regions. Also in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, two different species that hibernate together show differing emerging times. It has been hypothesized that snake coloration may relate to geographic variations in climate and relate to different emerging times in sympatric species. Water filled vinyl tube models were constructed based on the lengths, diameters, and color patterns of several snake species. These models were subjected to trials with natural and man made light sources. Mean temperature reached by dark models was significantly higher than light (p< .05). Control tests show no significant temperature difference between various lengths and diameters (p>.05) suggesting body coloration is an important factor in the distribution and behavior of several species.

TERRITORIALITY AND AGGRESSION IN CRICKETS

KEVIN SHAH

William L. Dickinson High School (Corcoran)

SECOND PLACE

The purpose of this investigation is to observe and record the behavior of crickets to determine the factors involved in territoriality and aggression. In this experiment crickets were marked, into two groups, and placed into particular territories. All of the crickets had similar territories so that it would not play as a variable in the experiment. Then crickets from group A and group B went through a total of seven manipulations, to determine their aggression levels. The first two manipulation involved simply taking the a cricket from group A or B and placing it into the other groups territory. The third manipulation served as the control for the experiment, where a cricket from group A and one from group B were placed into a neutral territory where neither of the two crickets had an advantage. The next two manipulations include the addition of a female cricket along with either the group A or B cricket into the others territory. The final two manipulations involve the addition of food along with the male cricket from either group A or B into the others territory.

SHORT-TERM ANALYSIS OF SEA BRIGHT, NJ BEACH EROSION

MEREDITH MAGENHEIM

Bergen County Academies (Niedosik)

THIRD PLACE

Beach slope measurements were gathered over a four-month period along the northern Jersey shore to determine short-term magnitude changes. Two sites were chosen to carry out this experiment. One site had permanent sand dunes; the other site did not have permanent sand dunes and was landscaped during the winter to form tall sandlots. The slope measurements were collected every ten meters along a one hundred meter transect using mirrors, the Pythagorean theorem, and the principles of similar triangles. An ANOVA comparison for a two-month period shows significant difference in beach slope at the second site (p = 0.006).

MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTER SCIENCE

CRYPTANALYSIS CAPABILITY STUDY

PHILIP GRAFF

High Technology High School (Roche)

FIRST PLACE

An experiment was constructed to test cryptanalysis ability of high school students on simple ciphers. The three ciphers used were Caesar shift, monoalphabetic cipher, and Playfair cipher. Two groups were necessary for this experiment, students without previous experience and a control group of those with experience. It was hypothesized that there would be a significant difference in the scores between those with and without experience. Ciphers were chosen and messages were created and secretly encrypted. Times were collected from the test-takers after they had broken as many ciphers as they could and scores were calculated based on the times it took them to break the ciphers. After analyzing results, there was a significant difference in the scores, thereby rejecting the null hypothesis. In order to increase the accuracy of the results, tests with more subjects must be conducted.

THE TALKING MULTIMETER

MICHELLE JUNG

Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology (Karuv)

SECOND PLACE

Everyone uses multimeters: engineers, physicists, biologists, chemists, and the common public. The significance of this simple device is overwhelming; however, there is always room for improvement. An aspect that multimeters lack is the ability to "speak" the readings. If the multimeter gains that ability, this will facilitate the use of the device. The user will gain accuracy in their procedures and decrease the time spent using the multimeter. Ultimately, the user will be able to concentrate on his or her work, and avoid making mistakes from having to look at the multimeter. This is a significant advantage for technicians. A Visual Basic program has been created that conveys the readings from a Metex Digital Multimeter through voice. Some of the measurements that this program reads are of frequency, logic, temperature, direct current, alternating current, and capacitance.

THE EFFECT OF BOUNDARY CONDITIONS ON MOLECULES IN A CHANNEL

SOHAIB JAMIL

William L. Dickinson High School (Corcoran)

THIRD PLACE

Ion channels have been studied by a large variety of experimental techniques during the past half century (Green, 1993). In a simulation, one starts with the properties of the molecules that compose the system, and, by following the effects of the molecules on each other as they move, understand the thermodynamics, and other properties of the system. Other properties may include dielectric constant, and structural parameters such as orientation of the molecules, or their arrangement with respect to boundaries. Computer modeling by simulation of all or part of the system has become an increasingly valuable tool in understanding ion channels. This research writes a program, using FORTRAN, in which the system consists of a small and large cylinder, which permits molecular exchange between them (move freely between the two). Also, the program was designed to align water with a pore wall when the small pore is in thermal equilibrium with a large reservoir. The program as compiled displayed no error messages for all subroutines, a clear indication that the program was successful. As new versions of FORTRAN begin to emerge, improvements of the program can be made.

GEOLOGY, MECHANICS AND PHYSICS

Is THERE A CORRELATION BETWEEN THE SOUTHWARD ORIENTATION OF THE IMP AND THE INTENSITY OF GEOMAGNETIC STORMS

SHAKIL FAROOQUI

Dickinson High School (Corcoran)

FIRST PLACE

The purpose of this research is to accumulate data on two variables Bz and Dst and determine if a correlation exists. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was determined for the variables Bz and Dst, then for the plasma speed and Dst, and lastly for the sunspot number and Dst. The results indicate that the strength of the correlation between Bz and Dst is 76% positive, the plasma speed of the solar wind and Dst is 62% positive, and the sunspot number and Dat is 26% (absence of correlation). The conjecture that a sustained southward orientation of the IMF results in intense geomagnetic storms was supported. This research demonstrates that the correlation between Bz and Dat is much stronger than the correlation between the plasma speed of the solar wind and Dat, which has a definite correlation.

THE EFFECT OF TEMPERATURE ON THE SHOCK ABSORBENCY OF EPS

ANGELA AYOUB

John F. Kennedy Memorial High School (Fraunberger)

SECOND PLACE

Expanded Polystyrene foam is the material responsible for the thousands of lives saved each year by bicycle helmets. This experiment sought to assess the possibility that storage in extreme temperatures has the potential to undermine the performance of EPS. Samples of EPS were placed in three different environments to simulate helmet storage in different temperatures. Each sample was then subjected to a pass/fail impact test. A spherical weight was dropped on each sample and any visible damage to the sample was noted.

As THE WORLD TURNS: AXIAL TILT AND THE WEATHER

SCOTT GENTILE II AND BRIAN CWIEK

Immaculata High School (Besitka)

THIRD PLACE

(and Third Place in the poster competition)

This research attempted to discern whether or not the tilt of the earth's axis and earth's variable distance from the sun produced a difference in corresponding seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Two pairs of cities were chosen according to corresponding latitude and longitude, similarity of climate, and availability of data. One pair comprised of East London, South Africa, and Izmir, Turkey; the other of Adelaide, Australia, and Chichibu, Japan. Comparisons were made between the respective summer and winter months of each pair using monthly maximum and minimum temperature values over a thirty-year period. The standard deviation of each city's temperature data was also calculated and analyzed. This data analysis suggested that summers in the cities in the Southern Hemisphere were significantly hotter than their northern counterparts. Likewise, winters were found to be significantly colder in the Southern Hemisphere. Additional analysis demonstrated that there was a significantly greater differ ence within the seasons of the southern cities, implying that seasons in the Southern Hemisphere reach more extreme temperatures more rapidly than those in the Northern Hemisphere.

MICROBIOLOGY

TESTING THE MUTAGENICITY OF HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL PRODUCTS: HOW SAFE ARE WE?

PETER LAMBERT

Montclair Kimberely Academy (Marchioni)

FIRST PLACE

(and First Place in the poster competition)

The mutagenicity of a number of household and personal products was tested using a genetically altered non-pathogenic strain of Salmonella, which cannot produce the amino acid histidine and cannot grow without it. The mutagenicity of each product was determined by its ability to a correcting mutation in the histidine operon of Salmonella, which controls the synthesis of histidine. The bacteria were mixed with each product, poured onto agar plates, incubated at 37[degrees]C for two days, and examined for growth of colonies. Some products were highly mutagenic (produced 250 - >400 bacterial colonies), some were moderately mutagenic (100-250 colonies) and some were non-mutagenic (0-90 colonies). Highly mutagenic products included insect sprays (Raid and Off), an oven cleaner (Easy-Off), air fresheners (Wizard and Renuzit), a spermicidal cream (Koromex) and a mouthwash (Listerine). Those products that were moderately mutagenic included a carpet cleaner (Spot Shot), cold medications (Robotusin-CF and Vicks Vaporu b), an antacid (Maalox) and envelope glue. Nonmutagenic compounds included a herbal supplement (Gingseng), an antacid (Tums) and an air freshener (Glade). These results raise questions as to how safe we are with some of the products that we use daily, from cold medications to air fresheners and envelope glue.

THE EFFECT OF COLORED LIGHT ON OXYGEN PRODUCTION OF ELODEA

CLAIRE ALEXANDER

High Technology High School (Lincroft)

SECOND PLACE

The purpose of this experiment was to determine which light -- white, red, blue, or red/blue -- would cause optimal oxygen production of Elodea. Using a VacuVial Dissolved Oxygen testing kit, measurements were taken of the level of dissolved oxygen in water. Five pieces of Elodes were placed in five respirometers and left under one light for six hours. After the six hours were concluded, measurements were again taken using the same testing kit. The experiment was repeated three more times under each of the remaining lights. The results were surprising, as they went against the hypothesis that the colored lights would cause a significantly larger amount of dissolved oxygen to be produced by the Elodes.

PROTECTING OURSELVES FROM FOOD

AVNEET MADAN

William L. Dickinson High School (Corcoran)

THIRD PLACE

Microorganisms and toxins are pervasive--they are almost always present at some level in the food we eat. The biological aspect of Darwinian medicine defines the use of spices as a mechanism as a defense used by the human body. For the first aspect of the experiment, 20 different spices are tested against 4 local bacterium. The purpose of this portion of the experiment is to determine whether these spices exhibit anti--microbial activity against local bacteria. Morning sickness is the common term for nausea and vomiting that may occur during pregnancy. It occurs in about 50-80 percent of all women. For the second aspect of the experiment, surveys are distributed to women at the start of their pregnancy, and each week they fill out the survey. The survey contains questions relating to whether or not the women are experiencing nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and the rate of occurrence. The purpose of this experiment is to determine whether NVP symptoms do peak when the embryo is most susceptible to disruption . All of the spices inhibited at least * of the bacterial growth. Thus, the spices were effective against the local bacteria. 90% of the women who were survived encountered the symptoms of morning sickness: nausea and vomiting. The average women encountered a heavy amount of NVP, at least 6-12 times per week during the 6th to 16th week of pregnancy. Therefore, NVP was used as a defense by the body to protect the women and the fetus.

BOTANY

ASCENDING THE WALLS LEAGUE BY LEAGUE: SUBSTRATE RECOGNITION OF ENGLISH IVY

BETTY KONG

Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology (Niedosik)

FIRST PLACE

The climbing vine Hedera helix, the common English ivy, scales trees and walls by forming aerial roots which securely anchor the stem to growing surfaces. This study aims to investigate whether ivy plants have the ability to recognize the substrate on which they grow. Each set of ivy plants was tied to a brick, wood, or wire growing surface, while the control was left unattached. All stems were trimmed to similar lengths at the beginning of the experiment, and measurements of roots and stems were taken eight weeks into the run. Statistical analysis, mainly using ANOVA and Sheffe tests, of the root area revealed that brick plants had notably larger roots, and though calculations for the number of root per plant and per stem showed no significant differences, there was a general trend of increase in size and number from the control through the wood, wire, and brick sets. This result indicates the ability of ivy vines to sense their growing environment, and thus protrude additional roots when in contact with a more stable surface.

THE EFFECT OF SOLAR RADIATION ON AGRICULTURAL PLANTS

NEHA PATEL

Dickinson High School (Corcoran)

SECOND PLACE

The purpose of this project was to determine if UVB radiation effects the growth of plants. In this experiment three seeds of each species (tomato, radish, anthocyaninless, and elongated internode) were placed in pots, there was a total of 48 pots, 12 of each species. The plants were germinated and given 8 ml of water each day. After germination, the plants were separated in 4 groups with an equal number of pots and species in each group. The first group was placed in a chamber containing UVB light. The second group was placed in a chamber containing visible light. The third group was placed in a chamber containing UVB light shielded with Mylar sunscreen. The last group was placed in a chamber containing visible light shielded with Mylar sunscreen. After comparing the mean total height and weight of the plants, it was determined that UVB radiation effects the growth of plants. It also determined plants placed in a chamber containing UVB light shielded with Mylar sunscreen yielded a greater net growth when co mpared to unshielded plants. In addition, it proved that plants placed in a chamber containing visible light shielded with Mylar sunscreen yielded a greater net growth when compared to unshielded plants.

THE PHENOTYPIC PLASTICITY OF "OCTOBER GLORY" MAPLE TREES UNDER ENVIRONMETAL STRESS

MINGPEI (PATRICIA) LI

Bergen County Academies (Niedosik)

THIRD PLACE

The purpose of this project was to study the effects of environmental stress on October Glory maple trees. The tree seedlings were divided up into four groups: control, drought, over-saturation, and low light. The control group was watered once a week and given 14 hours of daylight from grow lamps. The drought group was watered once every two weeks. The over--saturation group was placed in plastic bins filled with water, so that the soil was fully saturated. The low light group was given normal sunlight, without the grow lamps. Soil moisture measurements were taken with a Kenway Soil Tester, and height and diameter measurements were taken monthly from a consistent point using a caliper and a ruler. Bud samples were collected from the trees, and tissues were extracted using Vegetable Extraction Buffer I. Starch gel electrophoresis will be conducted using a 10% starch gel and run at 50 milliamps for a minimum of 3.5 hours. Nitro--blue tetrazoleum and phenazine methosulfate will replace athidium bromide as the stains, and the gels were stained for the presence of G3PHD (glucose-3-phospho-dehydrogenase) and MDH (malate--dehydrogenase), two enzymes used in the first stages of photosynthesis.
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Publication:Bulletin of the New Jersey Academy of Science
Geographic Code:1U2NJ
Date:Mar 22, 2002
Words:3844
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