About Me

From August 23 to September 1, I will be travelling to Israel as part of an 8 person delegation representing Australia at the Asian Science Camp. During the six day camp, around 200 talented young people will join Nobel Laureates and world class researchers to share their science experience through plenary sessions, round table discussions and student master classes. There will also be social and cultural events to enjoy.

I currently study Mechanical Engineering and Business at University and want to share my love of maths and science with all of Australia. This blog is about connecting Australia with the camp, by providing a medium through which students can comment and ask questions about the camp and the speakers. With any luck, I'll be able to ask your questions and get some answers.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Day 4: And so it begins

Today was the day we began what we were all waiting for. The first set of lectures from Nobel Laureates. We got up early and formed our groups for the lectures. My group consists of students from China. Myanmar, Japan, India, Georgia, Turkey, Israel and Singapore. For the next week we will be attending lectures together, travelling together and experiencing Jerusalem together. It really shows how science is a global language that allows us to cross boarders in the same pursuit of knowledge.

Our first lecture of the day was presented by Professor Yaun T. Lee, entitled "Science, Technology and Sustainable Development of Human Society." It reflected upon the way we currently make our energy, through the chemical reaction of combustion and the impact this source of energy is having on our environment. He then explained research into new chemicals that will undergo different reactions with similar energy production. These reactions would be better for the environment as they do not produce greenhouse gases. Synthetic chemicals have played an important role in humanity before, but do not come without risks, as we recall the Ozone hole thanks to CFCs. We will be lucky enough to enjoy a second session with him tomorrow in a smaller session to discuss his lectures.

Our second lecture was about how Mathematics can be used to analyse human behavior in war. "War and Peace" presented by Nobel Laureate Professor Robert J. Aumann used Game Theory to understand how international law works and how countries can best peruse the ultimate goal of World Peace. The main idea was that incentives work best to promote positive human behavior. In game theory, this works on the concept that whilst acting selfish provides a guaranteed result, the best result for both parties is through mutual generosity. To apply that to international law, the best way to enforce it is through providing incentives and acting generously when countries promote peace, whilst withdrawing this generosity when such behavior ceases. Basically, a form of positive reinforcement would be optimal for enforcement. This sort of behaviour we see with trade restrictions.

Our final lecture of the day was "The Personalised Medicine Revolution: Are we going to Cure all Diseases and at What Price?" presented by Professor Aaron Ciechanover. He discussed the huge leaps made in medicine due to the discovery of aspirin, penicillin and anti-cholesterol drugs. We have made huge advances in treatment for diseases and as a result, life expectancy has increased more in the past century than it did in the first half of this millennia. Whilst our medical treatments have made life expectancy accelerate, we are faced with moral dilemmas.For example, what do we do if this technique identifies diseases in a young, healthy person who will not be sick for thirty years? These sorts of ethical dilemmas are part of scientific advancement and it is essential that we consider them in all our work.

The final part of our day was the official opening ceremony featuring the President of Israel. As a result, we all dressed up for a fun evening full of Israeli flair. We were entertained by Albert Einstein and enjoyed speeches from many Nobel Laureates and influential people in the Israeli Scientific community. It was an fanastic evening, capped off with a performance by the wonderful and fun David D'or, who wowed us all with his singing ability.

Group Orange C ready for the Opening Ceremony

Einstein helped to host the event
We had a big night, capped off with a bit of preparation for our poster on an area of scientific discussion and research. Tomorrow we continue our lectures. I will continue to tweet it on @elyse_h and will be seeing you back here tomorrow with a recap of the day.

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