Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Students present summer research projects at science symposium



This past Thursday, Sept. 20, in the Rittenberg Lounge in Mather Hall Trinity students majoring in math and science presented their summer research projects. The room itself was abuzz with energy as science professors and students milled about casually discussing the mechanics of complicated chemical reactions and the effects of alcohol on memory recall.

This was the 8th Annual Summer Research Symposium held here at Trinity College for the science students.  The students all prepared poster boards where they were able to feature poignant points regarding their summer research endeavors. As professors and spectators walked around the tables with the poster boards on them, students stood by their projects to answer questions that people asked as they walked by.

In between breaks, where people helped themselves to complementary pizza and soda, these students were able to inform the unwashed masses that formed around them about their projects. These projects covered a wide spectrum of sciences ranging from hard science experiments in fields such as chemistry and mathematics to other sciences like psychology and sociology.

The scope of areas investigated and the high level of study found in the projects was truly incredible.  A junior presented a project in which he attempted to synthesize “mixed transition ternary Metal Hydrides Ca2Ir0.5Rh0.5H5, Ca2Ir0.5Ru0.5H5.5, Ca2Rh0.5Ru0.5H5.5, and Ca2Fe0.5Ru0.5H6. Despite the struggle he went through with his lab group to replicate results that were obtained at temperatures as high as 1100 degrees Celsius and pressures as high as sixteen atmospheres, the junior was still successful in creating some of the iron ions at temperatures of only 600 degrees Celsius and only one atmosphere.

A senior in the psychology department did a project on alcohol’s effects on memory processing and recall. “Our result showed that students who drank a few times a week did the best on memory based tests and those who binge drink frequently throughout the day did worse on memory based tests.” Her study surveyed 18-24 year olds on their drinking habits and found that those who were best at the memory related tasks were those who drank casually, followed by those who abstained from drinking alcohol entirely, followed finally by those who binge drank multiple times a week.

Other projects of note included “Fetal Membrane morphogenesis of Corn Snake eggs throughout Development” and a project that looked into building more efficient propellers for airplanes.

One can’t help but look around at the Summer Research Symposium and feel proud about the school you go to. Not only is it a testament to the great number of really talented math and science students that go to our school, it is also a testament to the programs which help promote the fantastic work that these students do by offering them instruction and laboratory time that wouldn’t be available at other colleges which are for the most part a lot like Trinity.

While almost every NESCAC school offers a 3-2 program in engineering with another college, Trinity and Tufts are the only two NESCAC schools that offer students in-house 4-year engineering degrees. Not only is this a benefit for students at Trinity, but by attracting strong math and science students interested in the programs Trinity offers ultimately enriches the college experience for all students at the college.

Being made aware of the strong science and math departments at our college is truly refreshing. Despite being a liberal arts school we still manage to be well rounded in both the humanities and the sciences.  It’s rare to see a liberal arts school with an engineering department, much less one which is merit-laden and boast-worthy. The conference is just a reminder of the refreshing sense of the diversity the student body here at Trinity radiates.


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