All posts by gerardhinsley

Reflections on the trip

After the study tour finished on the Wednesday, some of us decided to stay together at a backpackers in Little India before going home. It was a good time to relax, and get to know each other a bit better, after being busy looking at all the research facilities. While there we went out and explored some areas of Singapore that I hadn’t been to before.

Going to Singapore was a great experience. Although already been there before, I wasn’t able to look around and explore and learn about it like I did this time. I learnt more about the future applications of the material I am currently learning through the Nanotechnology course. It wasn’t just centred around one area either; we got to see a range of different areas. Singapore’s culture was interesting to learn. The food over there is a big part of their culture. It shows with how nice, and cheap it was. Everywhere we went to eat had chopsticks to use if we wanted so I’ve basically become an expert at using them now.

The last day of the study tour

Today was our last day of the study tour. The first visit of the day was to the Institute of Medical Biology. We got a tour of some of their labs, where we were shown some super resolution microscopes they use. They had picture comparisons of rat kidneys, and other things, to show us how much better the resolution is on the new microscopes. Next, one of the people working there, who is Australian, talked about his research. He was working on the regeneration of bone using certain sugars, instead of using bone growth factor. Which was fairly Interesting


Next we went and had some lunch back at NUS, before heading over to the NUS surface science labs. While at the labs, Paul was helpful in explain to us some of the machines they had there, while the other researchers also talked about what they were working on.

After that  we had a quick look at the synchrotron, as we were running out of time to get to IMRE, and talked to people who were doing there research there. I find it amazing how small the synchrotron is, compared to the one in Melbourne.


Lastly, to end the trip we went back to IMRE, where we had a talk about the places we had visited and reflected on the experiences a little bit. One of the guys we talked to also told us about some of the research they had done there.

Fusionopolis and zoo visit

This morning we went to Fusionopolis. They had a range of cool, new technologies there. For example, one of them was looking at brain activity to measure concentration; this made a character move forwards in a game. They tested it on kids with ADHD to see how it affected them, and the results showed they were more attentive after  playing the game. Another technology they had there was using laser pointers on a board where it could be picked up, this enabled the projected screen to act like a touch screen but with a laser pointer instead.

Rooftop garden at Fusionopolis

Once we had finished looking at Fusionopolis, we had a little bit of free time to go back to our rooms, and get changed into something more comfortable before heading to our next destination.

The next place we went to was the zoo, where we went with the biodiversity students again. Looking at the facilities they had there was interesting, as we got to learn how they went about looking after the animals. After that we had free time to look at the animals if we wanted to. Some of the animals weren’t too interesting to look at as they weren’t doing much. The lemurs were the best that I saw as they weren’t scared of interacting with humans, so we were able to pet them without them caring.



In the morning, because the place we were planning on going to didn’t work, we instead split up into our nano and pico groups so we could organise ourselves with the group assignment and presentation that we need to do. During that time we were able to get some work done as we had until 2:00 to get work done. 2:00 is the planned time when we were to meet back up together to head to our next destination.

In the afternoon we went to the SMART CREATE which is located at university town, a two minute walk from our rooms, so we didn’t really travel anywhere far today. It was a nice change from walking around everywhere and standing looking at labs all day. CREATE is a biotechnology research centre. They talked to us about advanced integrated micro-fluidics, among other interesting things before showing us their labs.


We weren’t there for long before the activities for the day were finished, so some of us went and had a game of basketball on the courts. Which with the humidity and temperature there, made it harder to play compared to back in Australia.







Today we visited two more NTU schools. The first visit was to ERI@N, which stands for the Energy Research institute at NTU.



We started with 6 presentations, which is a similar format to yesterday. The topics they talked about were Perovskite solar cells, materials for high efficiency, Role of electronic properties of Pt and Pt alloys, Electrical properties of Gadolinium doped Ceria structure, V2O5 cathodes for lithium ion batteries, and Carbon based electrodes for Vanadium Redox flow.

Afterwards we went around and looked at some of the research things people were doing. They showed us about some turbines, new roof panels, and these little sensor things which they had in most if not every room which gave you data about the room.

The next visit was to the School of Physical and Mathematical sciences, which was one of my favourite places to visit so far, due to this being an area I’ve thought about going into. They talked about Manipulation of light and heat with metamaterials, laser cooling in semiconductors, and millikelvin systems for cold atoms and superconductors. Then we got shown the labs for the research they were talking about. I enjoyed learning about cold atoms and how you can cool things with lasers.


SIMTech and the school of Materials science

The first stop of the day was to SIMTech, which stands for the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology. The speaker there was really good as he went into a lot of detail about basically everything they do there. Giving us lots of information to help us with our reports, if we choose to write about them which is helpful.

Next we visited the School of Materials science and engineering for NTU (Nanyang Technological University). They had chicken and tuna sandwiches already waiting for us for lunch, which was nice, before being taught about their school and how things work. One of the more interesting things I found was It being the worlds biggest Engineering college.

Afterwards we  had 6 presentations from research students. The topics they talked about were: Nanomedicine for the eye, Biomimicry, Tissue engineering and Translational medicine, Synthesis of Nanoparticles, Nanosheets of Graphene, and Crystal growth of charge transfer compounds. The one I enjoyed most was about Tissue engineering, because as that technology gets better, no more animal testing will be required. We’ll be able to identify how a drug will affect humans without using anyone as a test subject.

After all of the presentations had finished, we were shown around the labs before heading back for the day.



RP plus fish

Today’s start was the earliest of the tour so far, meeting up at 7:15. Trey was able to join us for the trip today, however eli was unable to stay with us the entire time today.

The first visit for today, and the reason we had to get up so early being so far away, was to the republic Polytechnic. While there, we learnt more about how their school system works. To teach the students they use a problem based learning approach, while also giveng them hands on experience. While there, we also saw, and got toured by some of the students who had visited La Trobe earlier in the year. One of the places they took us to their aircraft workshop area, where we got to see some different types of aircraft.


In the afternoon we went to the S.E.A. Aquarium, which is located on Sentosa island. Met students doing a biodiversity summer program, who are from different places around the world and who we’ll also meet when going to the zoo later on. For the aquarium visit all of us had to be split up into   groups of no more than 10, this gave us a good opportunity to get to know the other students a bit better. The tour was Interesting as it is the world’s largest aquarium and they were able to teach us things that some of us hadn’t previously known about some of the fish/ animals  they had there.



Meeting NUS students

This morning we all met up at 8 am, like we did yesterday. Although this time one of our group members, Trey, got a blister on his foot and couldn’t go with us for today’s activities. The first visit was to see some students from NUS who study similar subjects to what we do back at Latrobe. As an icebreaker, to get to know a few of the students joining us on today’s activities, we split our group into the nano, and pico groups.

After becoming acquainted with the students, we headed off to CIBA as our first lab visit.


The next two labs we saw was a graphene lab, which was a clean room so we couldn’t actually enter however we still learnt a bit about what was going on inside. Next was the centre for quantum technologies, in which they showed us some work they’re doing with cold atoms.


After all of these visits we went to lunch with the NUS students before visiting a room where NUS had organised a science demonstration class. Once the deonstration was finished, It was time to say goodbye to the NUS students before going back to U-town.

Visiting the Australian high commission and IMRE

The day started with us all meeting at 8 am, in our usual spot besides Starbucks, to visit the Australian high commission. Once we got there, we were greeted by Jennifer Burdick, who is the third secretary,  and Tracy Harris, who is in charge of Austrade. They talked about how politics works in Singapore, which shares a similar structure as Australia’s. They also talked about Singapore’s economy, and different parts of their culture, which was interesting to learn. We were also meant to talk to the deputy high commissioner, but she has been sick and couldn’t make it.

After the trip to the Australian high commission, we traveled back to the residences to get some lunch and change before going to IMRE. IMRE is the institute of materials research and engineering. While there, we were taught a little bit about Research and development sector in Singapore, which by the sounds of it is better than what we have currently in Australia. After that we went and visited some labs there and learnt about the research that goes on there, which was interesting as they are potential places that we could end up researching at.


Today’s start was one that was unexpected. As everyone met up to start the day, the weather decided it was a good time for a thunderstorm. By the time we got to the merlion however, which was our first stop, the thunderstorm had stopped. Which was nice as we had a bit of walking to do. After the visit to the merlion, we walked across helix bridge to look at the marina bay sands plaza. In the mall, they offered a small gondola trip through a section of the mall, which I found interesting.


The next stop was the gardens by the bay. We went into two biospheres. One was  called cloud forest which is a big tower with plants growing on the outside with a waterfall going from the top to the bottom of the tower.


The other was called Flower dome, it had lots of different plants from the different climates of the world. The biospheres were also kept at a constant, cool temperature, which was nice when you were in there as you forget about the humidity outside. IMAG0415