Chalking it Up to Science

Everyone did such an amazing job with their chalk talks this week, given that no one had really done one before. New knowledge has been acquired from all of this. Success! To be honest, it was a bit nerve-racking, especially since public speaking is not a forte of mine and for some others. The thing about a chalk talk, it seems very informal, but then you realize that everything in the experiment must be pretty much understood, and then, in my case, you realize that there are a lot of holes to cover up and a lot of jargon scattered about. It’s an informal, yet you must be very prepared, kind of presentation. Also, the time limit. Not a fan of that pressure.

Out of all the great talks and the great experiments, I’ve decided to write about Maddie Go’s experiment, The effect of Spine Morphology on Puncture Mechanics.

So, what really interested me in her experiment was the definition of “spine”. Like what Maddie said at the beginning of her chalk talk, when I hear “spine” I think of our backbones, but I learned that the actual definition of a biological spine is “a rigid structure that comes to a point” (taken from Maddie). I hadn’t thought of it like that before. The examples that Maddie provided kind of blew my mind, because of how different each spine was. She also mentioned that these spines all have similar functions despite the diversity (I don’t usually correlate a rose and a sting ray together). These spines are so different in their structure, yet they essentially have the same function (puncturing things) so how does this difference in structure change the way it is used (Maddie’s question)? Just got to say, science is pretty cool in this way; the way that depending on the environment things can develop so differently, yet have a similar function to other things/organisms and vice versa.

The applications that Maddie brought up were also really intriguing. I wouldn’t have thought that this type of research would be so important in, for example, the medical area, because I don’t usually think about how this research is considered when trying to make maybe a needle to increase its ease for puncturing the skin and then coming out. I think I just assume that the medical area has all of that kind of figured out? However, there’s always room for improvement. It’s some nice brain food to mull over.

Thank you, Maddie, and thank you to everyone else for sharing their research projects!

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