London International Youth Science Forum - Day three

London International Youth Science Forum - Day three

Youni Nip

Old operation theatre in London. The Museum director gives a simulation of leg amputation

Today we visited the old operation theatre in London. The museum was actually a real hospital so long ago that in the 1700s, it was already considered ‘ancient’. No one really knows when it was created. The hospital today is a museum hosting numerous relics from the past. We were given a gruesome talk of the procedures that happened there.

First of all, we learned how drugs were created, of which many contained ingredients that would make your stomach stir. Ever heard of snail soup remedy? Well apparently it helps solve problems with the digestive tract. We sat quietly with our jaws open as the museum director described in painstaking detail the procedures of amputation in the 1800s. Back then a hand-saw was used and there were no anesthetic. I shall not go into details!

This trip however, reminds us of the advancement in medicinal technology today and how much more reliable science is in determining an accurate diagnosis.

The guest speaker for today was John Nicholson, a specialist in forensic science. We learned the generic definition of a poison. Did you know that an excess intake of table salt can actually kill you? A woman who developed a taste for table salt once ate salt whilst watching television. She was actually killed by a salt overdose! So remember: "A poison is a medicine taken in large amounts."

Thanks to the full sponsorship from the Hong Kong British Council, I managed to meet many young, bright individuals who have contributed in inspiring me. The student projects were presented tonight; many are impressive and insightful. I am so glad to be here and be part of this amazing forum.

Godwin and I with our Japanese friend presenting the effects of the tsunami in Japan

Singaporean friends and their science presentation on berry extract affecting regeneration of earthworms

Godwin Law

This morning, I visited the National Physics Laboratory. Since my area of interest in science leans toward physics, I anticipated a lot from this trip. It turned out to be vastly different from my expectations.

The National Physics Laboratory, or NPL for short, is actually a scientific organisation, heavily funded by the government, that ensures that products are up to the standards touted by the manufacturing company or imposed by law.

We saw many testing labs with sophisticated machinery and state of the art equipments. Perhaps what made the deepest impression on my mind was the introductory speech given by one of the staff there. He described the function of the company with humorous commentary and lively examples, some including optical illusions. They were used to underline the disparity between what often is perceived or understood and what really is. His demonstration of Edward H. Adelson's Shadow Illusion really made an impression on me.

At night, we attended the Science Forum Bazaar, where students were granted the opportunity to present their findings on projects and research they have been conducting on their own.

We saw some fantastic displays, with everything from materials science to mechanics. It was during this time that I truly appreciated the magnitude of wit that has been congregated at this conference. It almost made me feel inferior to be here. The presentations I particularly liked were a student’s experiment with teaching flies, and another’s self-constructed robot that is able to balance a standing stick. Some amazing stuff!

Photos: Youni Nip and Godwin Law

To read more about the London International Youth Science Forum, visit This trip is sponsored by British Council.



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