Advanced Math/Science Research Update
by Dr. April Burch, Director of the AMSR program
January 15, 2013
Since our last update, Berkshire School hosted student researchers from Belmont Hill, and all-boys prep school outside of Boston, for a 1-day mini-symposium on Student Biomedical Research. The goal was to foster collaboration, communication and community outreach with our students. AMSR students Liza Bernstein '13, Sissi Wang '13, Lars Robinson '13, Elsie Guevara '13, Ernest Yue '13, and Nate MacKenzie '14, gave short talks about their work in the new Bellas/Dixon Math and Science lecture hall. The talks were followed up by break-out sessions where Belmont Hill students described their research projects and students discussed commonalities between the projects and future goals.
The second semester of AMSR started with some terrific news. The AMSR program was awarded a grant from The Chinchester Dupont Foundation for the purchase of an EVOS fluorescence microscope. This piece of equipment will expand the types of experiments and analyses that can be done by AMSR students this and future years. The microscope should arrive shortly, and Dr. Burch has invited everyone to stop in for a look next time they are on campus.
One new, exciting project that is underway in the winter season of AMSR in the afternoons is being spearheaded by Elif Kesaf '14. Elif is from Turkey and seeks to identify novel viruses of non-pathogenic strains of Legionella bacterium from travertines in Pamukkale. In collaboration with Dr. Sunny Shin at the Perlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, she will be working to isolate viruses of this bacterium with the hope of identifying new agents to combat Legionnaires' disease caused by a pathogenic form of Legionella.
Look for more news from Dr. Burch in the next issue!
Aviation Science News
Aviation Science students traveled to Bradley International Airport recently. The main purpose of the visit was to tour the FAA Control Tower and TRACON (Radar Approach Control) facilities, but they also had the opportunity to visit the Bombardier Aerospace Company's Facility at Bradley. Bombardier Aerospace ranks as the world’s third largest civil aircraft manufacturer and specializes in the manufacture and servicing of business aircraft along with the well known CRJ commercial jet. Students were able to inspect and go on board a Challenger 850 business jet that was being serviced there.
In class, among many aspects of aviation, students learn about Air Traffic Control: how it works and how pilots interact daily with controllers all over the country. This was a great opportunity to actually visit an air traffic control facility at a busy airport to see controllers in action from right behind their chairs. Our visit included both a tour of the tower at Bradley to see ground and clearance delivery operations, and TRACON (Radar Approach Control) to see controllers working aircraft anywhere within Bradley's airspace, an approximate 50 to 100 mile radius below 10,000 feet. It was a darkened room with several controllers each responsible for a "sector" and communicating with several airplanes in transit through their airspace. All of the controllers we met were friendly and helpful in explaining their work to us and answering our many questions.
On the other side of the airport we were able to explore both the cabin and cockpit of the Bomardier Challenger Jet; the one we toured was valued at $23 million and was being prepared for its next charter flight. The students saw a lot of possibilities for their futures as pilots and/or owners of airplanes like this!
-- Michael Lee, Aviation Science teacher
Click here to listen to Michael Lee talk about his love for teaching Aviation Science.