Wednesday, 5 June 2013

SST-NTU Day 2 Reflections

Day 2 Reflections

Q1. What did you do today?
A1. Today, we went to the school of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering. Once there, we were given an introduction to the professor, Mr Kevin Kho and also , an elaboration of the topic, the Operation of a Model Refinery Column. Our challenge, was to get a 77% ethanol concentration among a mixture of water, ethanol and methanol. Thus, we had to manipulate the mixture to get the desired amount of ethanol. We did this through heating/cooling and pressurising/depressurising the mixture within a Model Refinery Distillation Column.
Q2. What did you learn today?
A2. I learnt that to excel in science, apart from knowing all the concepts and properties, one must have the spirit of perseverance and a never-say-die attitude. From todays activities, I realised that there are indeed many failures before we attain the final goal of success. Should we have given up half way, we would have never achieved our goal. Thus I believe, after experiencing it first hand, that perseverance is the most important thing in the study of science.
Q3. How did you feel about todays activities?
A3. I feel that today's activities had very hands-on approach as well as a theme of learning by doing. I find that this suits my kinaesthetic learning style very well as I learnt a lot from today's activities. I think this is what SST is advocating now, a world of learning experience through applied learning- that is, learning by doing.

Questions by Professor Kevin Kho:
Q1. What have you learnt about chemical production?
A1. I have learnt that to excel in chemical production, we must be first be very sure of the properties and hazards of the chemical that you are handling. I learnt that for a single success, we have to go through multiple failures. Team dynamics are also very important in ensuring a smooth work flow and therefore, a high efficiency rate.
Q2. What have you appreciated about sampling and analysis?
A2. I have appreciated that it is not the initial result that matters, but it is the attitude of checking and correction that will get us far. We have to learn from our mistake and make the necessary adjustment for a more precise result. The checking comes from the sampling of data from the specimen and analysing the report to found out suitable ways to get the 77% of ethanol in the mixture that we wanted.
Q3. What have you learnt about Science and Engineering?
A3. I learnt that Science and Engineering are closely related to each other and hence, there is no distinct line that cleanly separates the duo. They are both about finding the root cause of the problem at hand, analysing the sample and then, come out with the most plausible solution for it. They two also work towards the same goal, a better life for all of humanity.
Q4. What have you learnt about yourself?
A4. I have learnt that I can get very anxious when testing the sample that I make fundamental errors, such as injecting the sample into the GC even before the needle reaches the bottom. When we were short on time, I found myself struggling to think clearly and my brain went blank. From this, I can tell that I need to be able to stay cool under pressure and think in a logical manner that will allow us to produce a result that is of our group's best ability and not just produce a product of inferior quality that does not reflect our group's true ability/potential.

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