Today we had a group lecture about Oceans and how we can study them. I was in the group concerning the use of microfluidics to study algal blooms. Large machines used by NASA cost a lot to buy – up to half a million. There are other conventional methods such as deploying scientists in research vessels such as the challenger of the National Oceanography Center but it is also costly. The challenger costs around fifty thousand pounds to operate per day. This is when microfluidics comes into play. Through the use of small volumes of reagents and nanostructures, a detection of possible species of algae in a solution is found. By reducing the size of the machine, we can reduce the cost of making them and operating them. They can also be operated at sea. The machine works basically by detecting specific RNA sequences of algae (parts of their genetic material). It also costs a lot less to build! - Only costing around three thousand pounds.
Tonight was spectacular. We watched the theatre performance War Horse, which was so stunning I am speechless. The story plot was very tense with a touching ending. The sound effects and actors were not just convincing but also moving. What made the theatre most attractive was their use of horse puppetry. The horses were maneuvered by three individuals. You barely notice them as the play progresses as your eyes just focus on the realism of the horses. From movement to breathing, it was simply breathless.
Tomorrow is the last day… This forum has been amazing. Got to make the most out of it!
Today, we had our second and final plenary discussion of the forum. The theme was the Oceans, and my specific subtopic was Using the Oceans. In our group led by Ms. Lewis-Brown, she discussed with us the major threats that our oceans currently face, and challenged us to come up with solutions addressing each of the problems. Something I had never known was that there is actually a layer of frozen methane sitting under the icy Arctic Sea. The release of methane into the atmosphere, which is ten times more potent as a green house gas, could be catastrophic if we continue to the ice to melt at the rate it is doing. But many, like me before today, are still unaware of these conditions and the horrific consequences they may bring. I feel all the more obligated to spread the word.
Later this evening, I watched a spectacular West End show in the theatres called War Horse. The story follows a boy and his horse through the bloody years of World War I, and how their extraordinary bond held even through thick and thin. I can hardly express how brilliant of a show I witnessed. They used what were called horse puppets in the play, presenting the animal characters with such stunning authenticity that at times you believe a real horse is on the stage. Combine with the powerful sound effects and incredible acting, the show was absolutely outstanding. This is safely one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life. I’d give up another ￡50 any day to watch it again!