TWO gifted students – Hafiz bin Baha from Maktab Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah (MDPMAMB) and Wee Yii Wen from the Jerudong International School (JIS), led by their supervising teacher Kartini binti Ishak from the Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Science College (MSPSBS) – had a memorable experience meeting with Nobel laureates during the 7th International Science Youth Forum (ISYF) in Singapore.
Held from January 18 to 22, the ISYF was jointly organised by Hwa Chong Institute and Institute of Advanced Studies (Nanyang Technological University) and saw the participation of 109 students and 38 educators from 17 countries.
In line with the theme ‘Becoming a Modern Scientist’, a number of world-renowned Nobel laureates were invited including Professor Aaron Ciechanover (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2004), Sir Andre Geim (Nobel Prize in Physics 2010), Professor Ariel Warshel (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013), Professor Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (Nobel Prize in Physics 1997) and Sir Tim Hunt (Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine 2001).
The forum had set specific programmes for students and educators respectively.
The educators’ programmes provided the teachers with the opportunity to share their pedagogical methods.
When asked how she thought of the forum, supervising teacher Kartini said, “From all these mind blowing and impressive experiences, I learned that despite how intelligent you are, it is also important to be humble as what I have observed from my interactions with the Nobel Laureates. I also learned that to be a good science educator it is essential to be fun and try to spark interest in learning for the students by letting them think and do more investigative learning rather than just confining them with exam-based syllabus.”
Meanwhile, one of the programmes set for students was a poster competition. Four groups were allocated with each group comprising seven to eight students for the first round.
Two students were then selected from each group to further compete in the second round. This went on until the last two students were chosen for the final round.
Wee Yii Wen, who managed to go as far as the second round, said, “This is the first time I’ve conducted a research on my very own and I’m proud to feel the ownership during my presentation. This also allowed me to think critically when the judges raise questions.
The students were also given the opportunity to explore Singapore.
Hafiz said, “My experience has been marvellous. I got to explore Singapore and made friends with future scientists from around the world. They had been great in sharing and exchanging ideas either about culture, interest or knowledge.”