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.
This morning we set off at the entirely appropriate time of 7:15 am to Republic Polytechnic, where we were hosted by students from the Diploma of Materials Science. After the initial briefing on the nature of polytechnics, their place in Singaporean education and the courses offered by RP, George and Nisha gave us their own take on Singaporean culture, with a few tips (including the three key aspects of life in Singapore- Makan (to eat), Shiok (expression of ‘awesome’, usually relating to food) and Byuan Tahan (expression of being overwhelmed, usually by spicy food).
During our tour through the labs and classrooms at RP, I noticed an unusual number of high end scientific instruments including an SEM, no less than four thin-film deposition machines (sputterers) and an NMR unit. Seeing a few classes in action, I appreciated just how appropriate the problem-based learning environment at RP is for fostering university-ready and industry-ready students.
The last item on the agenda for RP’s facilities tour was the aeronautical engineering building, which contained a number of aeroplane components, inspection equipment and tooling, as well as a 150 simulator view of the Changi airport (with which students study the principles of air traffic control across the full gamut of airfield conditions).
After a brief stopover at UTown to change into casual attire, we headed over to the NUS foodcourt to meet up with a group of NUS exchange biodiversity students hailing from U.Utrecht, UCal(San Diego), UCal(Santa Barbara), Canada, UofPerth and South America and departed for an afternoon at the aquarium on Sentosa Island. While the briefing on the specifics of filter technology was not terribly relevant to us as physics students (our lack of background or use for this knowledge made it difficult to absorb), we were reminded of the relevance of our field of study to the marine biology undertaken at the aquarium by the iridescent skin of some of the fish on display which rely on an array of optical nanostructures, as opposed to pigments.
Today we’re going to Republic Polytechnic and then the aquarium. I had to get up at 6am, which is way too early to meet with the rest of the group by 7.15. I cooked bacon for breakfast this morning, which was yum.
We arrived at Republic Polytechnic and we were greeted by the Republic poly students that we hosted when they came to La Trobe University. We had a tour around their campus, they have pretty amazing facilities, including an aircraft hanger with a private jet, two smaller planes inside it, and a control tower simulator of the Changi airport.
We then had to quickly rush back to our accommodation to get changed and then caught the shuttle bus back to the science department. Once there, I was pretty hungry so I quickly ran over to the food court and brought some spring rolls and chicken curry puffs. We met with some other students, some from California, Hong Kong and Western Australia.
We went with the other students to Santosa island to the aquarium, where we had a backstage tour of the aquarium, which was pretty interesting, I even got to feed some fish! They also have the second largest viewing tank in the world which spans 36 metres and is 8 metres high.