Do chemistry students think differently?

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Chemistry is a common discipline among the contemporary students. You really cannot succeed without appreciating the fundamental concepts of chemistry. However, it appears to be one of the top courses people hate. This result confuses chemistry students a lot. We like chemistry very much, we find it practical in life, and we try hard to defend its popularity. The first thing to do is to change how people view about the discipline, and this requires teaching them to know chemistry well. So, a notable question arises: Do students in chemistry major have different mindsets from those who are not?

First thing that pops up is the stereotype. Chemistry is just a natural science, but pretty much a physics and biology, chemistry is viewed as supernatural in the general population. Consequently, students who do explicit work on chemistry will be referred as “genius”, and some of my friends do say this word to me. This word, as it looks shiny, creates an unnecessary cognitive barrier for non-chemistry students. These people will be prone to giving up studying chemistry. Once, a friend who is in economics major asked me about problems in general organic chemistry. She was stumbled upon drawing constitutional isomers for hexane, and put much anger in the problem’s worthlessness. As I helped her figuring out this question, she sighed, “Everybody hates organic chemistry, how could you even learn this delightfully?” My answer is quite short for this serious issue. Chemistry is very conventional, and I like to explore those conventions.

Indeed, chemistry is very attractive for us because it simply reveals laws of matters, but the deeper cut stuff is the many baffling glossaries. You have to remember a lot of words before doing things for chemistry, and it costs time. Not to mention about remembering the names for elements and compounds, but many subcategories, such as atomic theory, stoichiometry, electrochemistry, inorganic, organic, all have their own languages. Chemistry students have sensed the difficulty like everyone else, but they rather view it as a chance to prepare for their movements. Nature renders us various substances, and we need to explore their properties and reactions from understanding certain explanations, and chemistry does these things. Chemistry accounts for the fact that when freon evaporates from liquid state, it absorbs much heat from the surroundings. So, it was used as a coolant. However, as scientists found out freon’s damage for the ozone layers, a new call for a environmentally-friendly coolant comes in. For something to be a coolant, it needs, for example, to absorb heat when evaporate, like what freon does. From learning specific examples, we can make generalization about certain principles, and these general rules get into other examples that can have potential benefits for the society.

Anyhow, chemistry students do have different perspectives for chemistry. In contrast to traeating it as a courseload, chemistry students regard chemistry as a toolkit for them to change something. It is true that chemistry requires a distinct methodology of dealing with problems. That methodology, in turn, affects chemistry students’ mode of seeing the world. This world view, when visualized by their actions, can be sheer bizzard occasionally. But if you scan those stuents’ brains, the signal patterns they reveal, and the biomolecular processes inside every neuron, are quite much the same as other people.

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Humanistic Therapy Handout

1.What is humanistic therapy, and what is its purpose?

–        The development of humanistic therapy occurred in the mid-1900s, and is often referred to as the “third wave” or “third force,” following Freudian psychoanalysis and behaviorism.

–        Humanistic therapy focuses on the concept of a whole person in the ongoing process of changing and becoming. Its general theory is that people are free to choose what they will become by creating and committing to their own values through their own decisions, despite environmental and genetic factors. Yet the freedom of choosing bring about the burden of responsibility and people suffer from guilt over lost chances to achieve their full potential.

–        Humanistic therapies focus on self-development, growth and responsibilities. They seek to help individuals recognise their strengths, creativity and choice in the ‘here and now’.

–        Humanistic therapy emphasizes a non-judgmental approach, with open-ended questions often employed to encourage the patient to explore his/her thoughts, emotions, and feelings.

–        Integration with the existentialist approach (emphasizes on people’s ability to meet or be overwhelmed by everyday challenge of existence).

–        Gave rise to the human-potential movement (The therapy movement that encompasses all practices and methods that release the potential of an average person for greater levels of performance and greater richness of experience).

–        Apart from existential therapy, client-centered therapy, and gestalt therapy, humanistic therapies also includes psychosynthesis, solution-focused brief therapy, transactional analysis, and transpersonal psychology.

2.Explain and give at least two situations/examples of how each of the following therapies work:

Client-centred therapy

–        Client-centred therapy, developed by Carl Rogers, mainly influence how many kinds of therapists defined relationships with their clients. The main goal of this therapy is to facilitate the healthy psychological growth of the individual

–        The base of this approach is to assume that all people basically tend to self-actualize (realize their potential) as Rogers believed that developing all capacities in ways that could maintain or improve the organism is the inherent tendency of all the organisms.

–        The conflict exists between people’s naturally positive self-image and negative external criticisms. This happens when healthy development is hampered by faulty learning patterns: people accept the estimate of others to replace their own ideas toward mind and body. The conflict will cause the anxiety and unhappiness and it may function unconsciously.

–        Client-centred therapy aims to create a therapeutic environment that makes clients learn how to achieve self-enhancement and self-actualization. Based on the assumption (people are potentially good), this therapy is nondirective and therapists build genuin relationships with their clients and they primarily help clients remove obstacles that restrain their natural positive tendency.

–        Basic strategy: recognize, accept, and clarify a client’s feelings. An atmosphere of unconditional positive regard (non-judgemental acceptance and respect) is necessary.

–        Situation 1: Michael has made an appointment to see his School Counsellor. He is due to finish school this year and is undecided about what direction he should take once he leaves school. Michael is a high achiever and his parents want him to make the most of his opportunity to enter University and study Law or Medicine. Whilst Michael is interested in Medicine, he feels that his interests at the moment are directed towards working and travelling abroad. He wants to discuss his preferences with the School Counsellor and to talk about the pressure he has been experiencing.

–        Situation 2: Client-Centred Therapy has proven to be particularly useful when treating dual diagnosis or low self-esteem in depression treatment facilities, addictions in drug and alcohol rehab centers, and disorders in eating disorder treatment clinics. By allowing the individual to connect with his/her inner-self, one is better equipped to transcend the limitations of addictions and other compulsions.

Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy, developed by Fritz Perls, blends both physical and mental therapies. It associates an awareness of unconscious tensions with the belief that one must take personal responsibility to recognize and deal with those tensions. Clients may be asked to physically “act out” psychological conflicts so that they could be aware of the interaction between mind and body.

The major character of this therapy is its unpredictability. The therapist and client follow moment-to-moment experience and neither knows exactly where they will be led to.

A notable method of Gestalt therapy is the empty chair technique, in which the therapist puts an empty chair near the client, and let the client to imagine this chair is occupied by a feeling, a person, an object or a situation.

Example 1:  a client who is a freshman studying abroad is dissatisfied with her shyness when socializing with new classmates. The therapist would instruct the client to sit on a chair nearby an empty one. She imagines the occupant of the empty chair as her mother and reveal feelings that are difficult for her to express during campus life. She may then talk about her anxiety about being in a strange place of the home and appreciate her mother’s past influences on her. After that, she would probably feel more comfortable with her surroundings and be more willing to make friends.

Another method is guided fantasy, or visualization, in which clients, with the guidance of the therapist, close their eyes and slowly imagine a scene of the past or future events. Details are used to describe the event with different senses and thoughts.

Example 2: during the therapy session, the therapist lays a mother who is bored of her routine lifestyle down and asks her to close eyes and visualize a happy future event. She could think about what her children will be in the future, and fantasize how much contribution she has made to promote them to great success. She will then become more responsible of caring for them.

 

Citations

[1] “Humanistic therapies.” Counselling Directory. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2017.

[2] “Humanistic Therapy.” CRC Health Group. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2017.

[3] “Gestalt therapy.” Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2017

[4] Palmera, Casa. “Client Centered Therapy.” N.p., 17 Sept. 2012. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

Barry, Jane. “A Case Demonstrating Person Centred Therapy.” Case Study Hub. N.p., 15 Oct. 2009. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.

Evaluation of Academic Integrity Policy in UCSD

ExcelWithIntegrity

(Image from Academic Integrity Office website, UCSD)

Academic integrity is a concept that guides college students through success in their campus life. The academic integrity policy in UC San Diego, upholding this concept, addresses the major concerns of students’ works and their eligibility. The policy lists some major requirements for the students to complete their scholarship programs.

Working with integrity is, in my perspective, essential for all the learners. “Education happens best when it occurs in an environment that is fair to all” (Gocsik, 26). This principle applies perfectly to all the fields of studies around the world, and it is the academic integrity that brings fairness and honesty to university environments. Under the trustworthy atmosphere, we students can study engagingly, and our teachers can give appropriate helps to correct our mistakes. Besides, we should be aware of the policy because disobeying certain rules will result in penalty. Sanction is clearly what we do not expect to receive. Being accustomed to integrity also benefits us a lot: It bestows the confidence that we can do works on our own and ensures others to measure our abilities accurately.

Of course, potential objections to the policy arise when the workload is too heavy so that students have to disregard academic integrity to accomplish some tasks. Indeed, some smart and intelligent people can even act in an unacceptable way if they are under stress. Nevertheless, we should be responsible for our work completion. Instructors, knowing students can grip the study materials, will not normally assign too many missions to the students, or they will be in trouble. Hence, we ought to manage our schedules and get homework done in a timely manner.

I am concerned about working with integrity because it matters to my academic development. Learning new things is never an easy process, so it is impossible to use deceptive tactics. What I can do is to absorb the knowledge, ask questions, and apply all them to solve real-world issues. In that way, I can achieve my goal of being an expert in specific field. In addition, I would like to keep the moral code. Violating the policy is a contaminator, and it is really bad to do it. Many psychologists have emphasized the effect of cheating on individuals: Once people get rewards from cheating, they want to cheat more. It is better not to stir up the negative loop of cheating.

Sophocles, a renowned Greek philosopher, once said, “I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating.” This sentence reminds me again of doing any task with my own effort. Every moment before I start doing something, including writing this essay, it is worthwhile to think about academic integrity.

 

Work Cited

Gocsik, Karen Marie. “Chapter Four: Writing with Integrity and Excellence.” The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing, UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, p. 26.

The Logic of Causes

Logic is everywhere in our life, and it is very useful in solving some complicated problems. Practising logic is also a good way to enhance our understanding of certain concepts and make groundbreaking discoveries.

I have long been interested in logicology for its pragmatism. When I witness an event, I always attempt to find out its causes. In other words, I want to deduce in what conditions do something happen. There are three types of causes that I regularly consider about.

A precipitating cause is the most direct and subjective description of what makes something happen. We can identify the subject who is acting on the object, and then combine them into one sentence by basic language rules. It is the most understandable (and maybe the most detailed) cause and is generally employed in the field of arts, humanities and social sciences.

A necessary cause is the premise for an event. Only if the result happen can we deduce some conditions are met. Without these conditions, the event cannot take place. However, it is notable that even if the cause exist, there will be possibly no corresponding result. In mathematics and natural sciences, the necessary cause is vital to investigate and analyze many intriguing phenomena.

A sufficient cause is not necessary, but contribute to the event’s occurence. Some conditions can make the incidence of the result, but without them the event may still occur. The sufficient cause can be used to predict what things will happen so that we take actions to alter its impact on the event.

Here are some self-made examples of events and their corresponding causes:

Event: A tsunami in 2004 caused mass fatality in Indonesia.

Precipitating cause: Consecutive huge waves of water striked the ground and hurted many people along the coast.

The cause can be regarded as a witness telling us about how the tsunami takes people’s lives away. The waves of water is the subject that is acting on people, the object, who receive the physical damage.

Necessary cause: There were a lot of visitors and dwellers in the shore of Indonesia.

We can see that when a lot of people are nearby the sea, it is very impossible for something to cause their death. However, should the fatality takes place, there must be visitors and dewellers in the shore to let the tsunami strike.

Sufficient cause: Earthquake in Indian Ocean provided enough energy for water to travel in high speed and immediately attack the ground.

A tsunami can be caused by earthquake. However, other causes, such as volcanic eruption, typhoon or hurricane, and some meteor event, may also lead to its occurence.

Event: Tom got an “F” in General Biology course.

Precipitating cause: During final exam, Tom’s teacher saw him glancing at other students’ answer sheet.

Oops. It’s unfortunate for Tom to fail the exam because he is cheating. This behavior is observed by his teacher, who angrily let him fail the course. (By the way, abide to the academic integrity!)

Necessary cause: Doing something that violates students’ rules.

Assume the school has all smart students. Then, to fail the course, they should violate the policy. The violation may not be observed by teacher, so some students get passed the course without penalty. Well, still, I personally do not encourage that behavior.

Sufficient cause: Cheating on exam.

Cheating on a final exam will automatically give Tom a big F. However, other factors, such as not submitting assignments, missing quizzes, being absent from classes, can also make him receive this embarassing grade.

Event: Bright, shiny and hard diamond became black, dark and soft graphite.

Precipitating cause: Heating of the diamond changed it into a black, powdered substance called graphite.

This is a phenomenon that we can directly observe in real world. The color change is very rapid so that we can say the heating process changes the diamond into the graphite.

Necessary cause: The reaction is thermodynamically favored.

Gibbs free energy change, ΔG°, is calculated using Hess’s Law: ΔG° = ΔH° – TΔS°. It determines the direction of the reaction. Because the entropy change, ΔS°, for the conversion of diamond into graphite is positive (the energy in carbon atoms becomes more dispersed), the higher the temperature, the more negative the Gibbs free energy change will be. The reaction goes to the direction in forming graphite.

Sufficient cause: The heat applied made the reactants exceed the activation energy.

Giving heat to the reactants increase their internal energy, possibly breaking the boundary to change them into transition state. The reactants are said to reach their activation energy, and the reaction can proceed. Of course, there are other ways to change diamond into graphite, like using catalysts, putting pressure on it or just let it stay for millions of years, as indicated by some research studies.

From the examples I mentioned, we can see the logic of causes applies to all the aspects of our life, though the lines among the three types of causes may be not clear if the phenomena have a lot of factors to consider about. Overall, the skill of analyzing the causes is essential. It can not only help us to ace an exam, but also propel our creativity to make benefit to the world. I am sure to keep employing and refining this mindset.

3 Random Facts About My Country

(Request from my friend to translate his passage.)

Fact 1 – the Summer Palace (culture): The Summer Palace is in Haidian District, the northeast part of Beijing, 15 kilometers from the center of the city. It is the largest and most well preserved royal garden of China. The Summer Palace contains famous natural and cultural landscapes, so it is commonly known as “the museum of royal gardens”. First established in 1750, the Summer Palace provided noble families with rest and recreation. In the end of Qing Dynasty, it became the major dwelling place for the royal. The palace is placed in the World Heritage Sites, and is also one of the first set of 5A traveling sites in China.

Fact 2 – Chinese Dream (politics): The concept “Chinese Dream” was first proposed by Chairman Xi in 2012. Its creation increased ethnic pride and confidence. “Chinese Dream” virtually means to make rejuvenation of the Chinese nation come true, which is the most grandiose dream. Specifically, “Chinese Dream” aims to let people receive better education, higher income, more refined health care, and cleaner environment. Thus, the young generation should be courageous to chase and achieve their dream.

Fact 3 – Agriculture (economics): China is a big agricultural country, and is also one of the origins of worldwide cultivation. Crops such as rice and wheat are all stemmed from China. After the founding of new China, the government was very focused on agricultural production, gradually increasing its investment, thus accelerating its modernization. As a result, Chinese agriculture earned great achievement. The crop yields for various products are increasing rapidly. The productions of grains, cottons, and peanuts in China are in the first place of the world. By using less than ten percent of cultivated land on Earth, China nourishes more than one fifth of the world’s population.

I’m really here.

It’s been half a year since I wrote the most recent article. Unfortunately, I got rejected by my first-choice. But, still, one of my favorite universities, UCSD, selected me with a pair of wise eyes. I am here, in the most comfortable city in US, to pursue my four (or three) years’ career as a biochemistry student, and experience a lot of wonderful people and stuffs.

The last half year was busy and fulfilling. During the decision-waiting period I prepared for British and USA Biology Olympics reading Campbell Biology (That’s a great textbook!) and got the Gold Prize just right. (Though it might be a little cheaty because some lower-grade students are competing with me.) Not much inflicted by my applied universities’ admission decisions, I continued studying at Shenzhen Middle School and passed AP Psychology and Statistics exams with scores of 5. I traveled to some great sceneries in Guilin and Nanchang. These two cities were beautiful. Being a volunteer in International Botanical Congress, I made some friends, listened to lectures given by famous figures in botanical research, and knew some updated news about plant sciences. Besides, the summer vacation was the first time I earned money by having a job. I taught some students about basic STEM courses – Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology personally. I realized how arduous teachers could be: preparing for courses, checking students’ homeworks, and even solving academic and disciplinary conflicts. Nevertheless, these students were also hard-working and I could feel them trying to get track of what they study. These new knowledges were really strange and tough for them, but they can still grab the fundamental concepts. That’s statisfying.

At the present moment, the account should be reactivated, or I will feel guilty for my dear interested readers. Now I have come to the UCSD campus, and it’s time to start a new life, and here are something I’m looking forward to:

  1. Keep and refine my living and learning habits. Now I normally sleep for seven to eight hours per day, and studying normally won’t stress me. So after arriving here, I would still persist the sleeping habit. I don’t know how hard the courses will be, but I will do the best works I can.
  2. Make some foreign friends. An international student might ought to accomplish this if he or she is coming to such a university in US, so do I. There are certainly obstacles, like differences in cultures and ways of thinking. And I don’t speak English so perfectly. Still, I will try.
  3. Be fulfilled. This is not easy. I cannot do anything out of myself. There are lots of interactions between individuals, and not everyone wants to collaborate with me. But I think my friendly and cheerful nature will work.

Wish I have good times during tomorrow’s orientation!

Aside

Launch a Project Experiment: Gibberellin and Brassinolide

AP Statistics Project Proposal

(It has to be an experiment, no observational study will be accepted)

Group members:

Name ID
Jiayi Liu 2014530054
Ziyi Wang 2014530070
Fan Xu 2014530268
Junhui He 2014530723
  1. Topic (What is the research question)

Comparison of the Effects of Gibberellin and Brassinolide on Soybean Seed Germination

  1. Sampling (Be specific about how subjects might be selected)

Randomly select 120 soybeans that are purchased from the same source.

  1. Variables:

Explanatory variables:

Type of plant hormone being used: categorical, no plant hormone (control), Gibberellin, Brassinolide, or both.

Response Variable: the height of seedlings after 2 days; the height of seedlings after 7 days.

  1. Treatment:

We have 4 kinds of treatments.

For the selected seeds, randomly assign them to different treatments, which is soaking the soybean seeds in specified solution for 12 hours. Each treatment has 30 seeds:

No plant hormone 10-6 mol/L Gibberellin
10-6 mol/L Brassinolide 5×10-7 mol/L Gibberellin + 5×10-7 mol/L Brassinolide

After soaking, transplant the seeds to soil. Water the seeds every 12 hours, take an account of the proportion of germinated seeds. Also measure the height of seedlings after 2 days and 7 days.

  1. What extraneous variables might influence the response?

Environmental factors, like temperature, light intensity, water, and even soil conditions all could have impact on seed germination.

  1. How does the design protect against its potential influence on the response through blocking, direct control, or randomization?

We would use preliminary experiment to ensure the optimal conditions for plant growth. Despite that, we would also apply:

Direct control: All the seeds are grown in the same room and are expose to the same environmental factors so that the extraneous factors’ effects are not confounded with those of the experimental variables.

Randomization: Randomly assign the seeds to different treatment groups to ensure that the experiment does not systematically favor one treatment over another.

Replication: There is considerable amount of individuals for each treatment to achieve an adequate number of observations for each experimental condition.

  1. Statistical method (e.g. we plan to use…method to explore … We hope to have a …result)

Normally, we would apply what we learned from descriptive statistics: Calculating important statistics, like the mean heights of seedlings, and representing them in the form of a bar chart for comparison.

For the part of inference, we plan to use two-sample t-test to explore whether there is a significant difference in the effects of different plant hormones in the heights of seedlings. We hope that there is significant difference so that we could have evidence to support that one plant hormone is greater in promoting germination than the other.

We also plan to use regression analysis to explore whether there is a linear relationship between the heights of seedlings after 2 days and those after 7 days for a specific treatment group, thus implicitly see if each hormone has prolonged effect.

The Reason, Process, and Meanings behind Gregor’s Transformation in the Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis presents a story about a man’s alienation from his family: Gregor, working arduously for his family, suddenly turns into a bug, and progressively gets abandoned by his parents and sister. However, beyond this abrupt event, Gregor already is a social “vermin” – justified by his inability to execute individuality; his transformation is, in my opinion, also a gradual process that not only symbolizes the changes in his perspectives toward his surroundings, but also the alteration of his family’s thoughts about himself.

Gregor’s transformation illustrates his problems about general isolation from modern society that put expectations to his hard-working. Long before Gregor turns into a vermin, he has wished to get equally well-treated with his colleagues and family members but fails. As Gregor says, “That’s all I’d have to try with my boss; I’d be fired on the spot. Anyway, who knows if that wouldn’t be a very good thing for me. If I didn’t hold back for my parents’ sake, I would have quit long ago.” (1.5), he is constrained by the working conditions that force him to get up early while seeing other workers enjoying their breakfast. Turning into a giant bug seems a fulfillment of his will to get rid of this job. In addition, he is the only one who can support the family, but after this transformation deprives him of the ability to work, every member attempts to expel him without considering his contribution, further suggesting his verminous position before the metamorphosis really takes place.

The establishing process of transformation stems from Gregor’s tedious lifestyle. Working as a traveling salesman, he can presumably get to know a lot of things from outside world. Instead, he complains that there cannot be long-enduring relationships with other people around this business. Besides, he cannot have the time like his family members to get relaxation from reading newspapers, playing music instruments, etc. Such monotonous life mode makes him distasteful, as depicted after his waking up: “His room, a regular human room, only a little on the small side, lay quiet between the four familiar walls.” (1.2) Though Gregor is familiar with the room, he feels uncomfortable about it, as emphasized by the phrase “regular human room”.

Despite Gregor’s literal transformation, there are more, symbolically, transformations about his entire family. His father most directly shows the outrage toward Gregor, and as he returns to his job, wearing up the clothes, he regains the authority of supporting family and controlling Gregor’s will. His mother, being stunned by the moment as she sees the vermin, feels desperate about her son’s mishap but later turns in to suppress her anxiety. What’s more is about Greta’s transformation: “She had in fact noticed that Gregor needed plenty of room to crawl around in; and on the other hand, as best she could tell, he never used the furniture at all” (2.22). As Greta notices her brother’s needs, she comes to be more decisive in taking care of Gregor, accompanying the decrease of Gregor’s agency. This is even testified later when Gregor scares the boarders away, it is Greta who makes the ultimate decision to get rid of Gregor as the family is dealing with a kitchen bug.

Summing up all the points about the why, how, and what about his transformation, Gregor is unhappy about his situations, living with a verminous lifestyle. The transformation makes him lose respect and the ability to support family, but also changes the entire family’s roles, as exemplified by Greta’s increasing agency of making decisions.


Works Cited

“The Metamorphosis.” by Franz Kafka. Trans. David Wyllie. Sweden: Wisehouse Classics, 2015. Print.

Minded Statistics Mind Map

Mind Map

Recently, we had gone through all the materials covered by AP Statistics. As our teacher announced so far, we students, as separate groups, built mind maps to generalize the entire knowledge system inside the statistics class. I saw a lot of great mind maps from other groups that not only included the necessary things we have to know, but also demonstrated these things with innovative themes, like using some objects to allude to the processes of studying statistics.

The ideals and philosophy behind our groups’ construction were also clear. We separated the learned knowledge into four parts: Collecting Data, Exploring Data, Anticipating Patterns, and Making Inferences, with each part accompanied by certain structure of the plant body, while the plant itself is similar to we students, who are going to make our way to develop understanding about statistics.

The “root” – Collecting Data – is the basis of the entire plant. It is necessary to have good research methods in order to collect, analyze, and use the data we accessed, as root needs to absorb water and minerals from the soil so that the plant can grow taller.

The “stem and leaves” – Exploring Data and Anticipating Patterns – act as support for the plant. We have to harness statistical theories and methods to describe the overall data and predict the trends. Similarly, the stem structurally maintains the plant’s overall shape, where as leaves are required to make nutrients (sugars) through photosynthesis and transport them to the whole organism.

The “flower” – Making Inferences – could be regarded as a beautiful illustration of the plant’s characteristics. We need to infer from the accessed data to get evidence so that we could make conclusions. Like the determinate growth pattern of the apical meristem to floral part should be triggered by biochemical signals and environmental stimuli.

In fact, the plant we drew is a pea plant. It was used by Mendel to conduct research about genetics. Mendel utilized a series of statistical methods, like direct control of the variables, measuring the traits of pea plants, anticipating the probability of phenotypes, and checking his hypothesis using goodness-of-fit test. It was such these statistical methods that aided his generalization of the laws of inheritance. This event, on the other hand, enlightened us to sensibly harness our understanding of statistics and thus make contribution to the development of science, technology and society.

Hope all of you could finally get the “fruits” from statistics!

Image

Project of Albert Camus’ The Plague

Above is our masterpiece!

(We received the project assignment at the right beginning of the new semester. This project instructed students to interpret one of the four levels operated in Albert Camus’ The Plague: Literal, political, metaphysical, and existential. We chose metaphysical. Through a week’s work for it, we accomplished an artwork. Here’s our project reflection, and two corresponding quotes that help us create our painting.)

Part 1: Reflection of The Plague Abstraction Project

Literary ideas could be simply expressed using abstract objects, such as the different levels of thoughts made in The Plague. This book operates on four lens: literal, political, metaphysical, and existential, each of which could be interpreted using different viewpoints. We selected metaphysical level to create our abstract work through the project.

This process took us about half a day to accomplish our goals. First, we brainstormed about the structure of this artwork and its corresponding properties, like colors, shapes, and some highlighted objects. Then we bought the required materials: a piece of A3 paper, pigments, water, and a paint brush. While three other students of our group have done the purchasing or explaining the ideas behind our creation, Blake worked for painting and finished it before school.

The artwork we created so far was revolved around the metaphysical lens that generally emphasizes the presence of evilness and people’s reactions toward it. Therefore, through this understanding, we attempted to create a scene that there was a red bloody background – symbolizing the deaths in The Plague – and a bar that represents Oran’s isolation. Within the bar exists a black solid circle, which is the plague itself, accompanied by various things that stretch out of the circle symbolizing different people’s reactions.

In my opinion, our portrait of this lens was successful in capturing the metaphysical lens through the coloring, shaping, and highlighting of this artwork. We could envision many different reactions in respect to the plague simply through the objects themselves. Besides the red background and the bars, the gloomy color tone also makes the audience aware that the plague puts the entire town into distress. However, since most of our objects that are attached to the black circle were based upon the main characters, our work could also be misinterpreted as portraying literal lens of the novel.

Nevertheless, I gained deeper understanding about different ways to view the novel The Plague. Instead of focusing on the written texts, I tried to convert the main ideas expressed in this novel into a simpler, abstract painting. Through the project, therefore, I knew to make what seemed complex into a vivid imagery. Moreover, I got to appreciate other groups’ works, and understood that there were other lens successfully portrayed in their paintings. Their works gave me insights about expressing different levels of meanings through abstraction.

Part 2: Analysis of quotes from The Plague in metaphysical level

Quote: Generally speaking, they did not lack courage, bandied more jokes than lamentations, and made a show of accepting cheerfully unpleasantnesses that obviously could be only passing. In short, they kept up appearances. (Part 2, Chapter 10)

Analysis: While the plague is expected to put the whole town into silence and fear, there are certain citizens who, surprisingly, would express their feelings in an extreme way. Instead of focusing on the plague, they seem to be indifferent toward its existence, pretend to continue normal lifestyles, and even accept the truth. This absurdity of actions makes us aware that different people conceptualize the world in different aspects, and thus behave distinctively to the society they perceive. They surely are the observers of this entire catastrophe, but they have different perspectives about it.

Quote: Rambert said he’d thought it over very carefully, and his views hadn’t changed, but if he went away, he would feel ashamed of himself, and that would embarrass his relations with the woman he loved. Showing more animation, Rieux told him that was sheer nonsense; there was nothing shameful in preferring happiness. (Part 4, Chapter 20)

Analysis: Confronting this plague, people may differ in their reactions throughout the passage of time. Rambert, though occasionally attempts to escape the town to seek his wife, changes his decisions through the impact of Rieux. The dynamism of his changing actions imply the transformation of his original viewpoints about the plague and the isolation of Oran. The interaction between the two characters also illustrates that in the face of evilness, they both decide to fight against the plague, though Rieux regards it as a necessary duty, while Rambert does this job through a moral conflict between rightness and wrongness.