Manuscripts for 2022 Spring and 2022 Fall

A Brief Introduction to Wormhole Research

Published in August 2022

Luanna Veroneze Quinalha

Colégio Marista Anjo da Guarda, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil

vol 2022(2) 31 - 54

Wormholes have been an enduring fascination of the science fiction community despite being marginalized by the physics community since their inception. Wormhole research, however, has seen an increase in attention from theoretical physicists following recent results which suggest that traversable wormhole geometries sourced by massless charged fermion fields could be embedded in the Standard Model at length scales below the electroweak scale. This article reviews the simplest wormhole solution, the Ellis-Bronnikov-Morris- Thorne wormhole, in a manner accessible to students who have studied general relativity at the advanced undergraduate level. The energy requirements and physical plausibility for such a solution are discussed. Some recent progress in wormhole research, numerical and analytic, is briefly reviewed. Despite intriguing theoretical advancements, the results presented here do not suggest that traversable wormholes will become technologically viable in the foreseeable future.

The Effects of Culture and Education on the Formation of Body Image and
Exercising Behaviors: Focusing on Korean Female High School Students 

Who Attend an International School

Published in July 2022

Srine K. Shin

Chadwick International School, Incheon, South Korea

vol 2022(2) 30 - 40

The study investigates the effects of culture and education on the body image formation and exercising behaviors of Korean female high school students who attend an international school in South Korea. The study focuses on the concept of body image to examine how respondents perceive actual and desired self-images compared to Korean and U.S. female college students. The primary methodologies are chi-square test and difference in mean t-test. A self-administered survey was conducted, and the responses were compared to the survey results of the study of Lee and Moon (2018). The findings revealed that Chadwick International (CI) students have similar way of thinking with U.S. female college students except for how others perceive their appearance. As a result, CI students showed similar exercising behaviors with U.S. female college students. This study emphasizes that education, as a sub-concept of culture, has a prominent effect on the formation of the body image and resultant exercising behavior of female students. Therefore, we urge the introduction of school education programs that help improve student's physical and psychological well-being.  

The Addicted Brain: The Neurological Implications of Addiction 
in Adults Versus Adolescents

Published in July 2022

Ambica Sharma

Washington-Liberty High School, Arlington, VA, USA

vol 2022(2) 24 - 29

Addiction is a growing concern among the healthcare community as harmful addictive behaviors stemming from various stimuli, such as alcohol and drugs, continue to heighten amongst adults as well as adolescents. In addition to the negative neurological implications of addiction, it is essential to recognize that this addiction has a contrasting effect on an underdeveloped brain compared to a fully developed one. Multiple articles on addiction to stimuli, written by experts in the neuroscience and neuropsychology field, were examined to determine how addiction affects brain function, including long-term and short-term effects, neurotransmission and neuronal circuits, adaptation, regrowth, etc., and treatment of adults versus adolescents. While most of the negative neurological implications of addiction are identified and analyzed, it is also concluded that most of the effects of addiction which commonly occur in adults also take place in the adolescent brain. Additionally, adolescents are susceptible to a greater degree of risk due to the brain’s underdeveloped state, leading to an increasingly grueling road to recovery in all aspects.

How Does COVID-19 Impact the Relative Bargaining Power of the Workers?

Published in July 2022

Shruti Sheorey

DDMS P.Obul Reddy Public School, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

vol 2022(2) 18 - 23

This paper takes a new look at the impact of COVID-19 on worker relative bargaining power over wages in the USA more than a year after the onset of the pandemic in early 2020. The empirical analysis uses a Differences-in-Differences technique and the equilibrium of the Nash Bargaining model to estimate the treatment effect on the relative bargaining power of workers. The average weekly wages data is from the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics, the median gross profit data from Ready ratios and the COVID-19 restrictions data from an American daily, USA Today. There is no indication of a statistically significant average treatment effect of COVID-19 restrictions on bargaining power, suggesting that the effect of COVID-19 and restrictions varies widely across industries.

Understanding Parkinson’s Disease from the Inside Out

Published in July 2022

Mira Srinivasa

The Westminster School, Atlanta, GA USA

vol 2022(2) 9 - 17

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a relatively common neurodegenerative disorder caused by dopamine deficiency and characterized by tremor and motile difficulties. Activities of the neurotransmitter dopamine contribute to the high energy demands of neurons in the substantia nigra (which are lost in the disease), which the mitochondria of these cells work to meet. Mutations in the genes SNCA, PINK1, and LRRK2 can disrupt mitochondrial function in susceptible neurons through over- or underactivity. Like the gene mutants, pesticides and MPTP also impair mitochondrial activity, unlike smoking, which protects vulnerable neurons. L-DOPA, often in combination with other drugs, is the most frequent medical prescription for PD, but surgical procedures may be used for younger patients. Drugs protecting mitochondrial components of neural cells may especially help with PD. In this review, we aim to study the biological mechanisms through which these genetic and environmental risks lead to PD and how various treatments may combat pathogenesis.

Stress is a Good Thing: Understanding Stress and
the Development of Resilience Through Athletes

Published in July 2022

Brandon Shintani

Ridgewood High School, Ridgewood, NJ USA

vol 2022(2) 1 - 8

Stress is experienced by all individuals throughout life to varying degrees. One of the benefits of stress, when experienced at manageable levels, is the development of resilience. Resilience is the ability to cope successfully in the face of negative situations and it has been correlated with positive mental well-being and greater satisfaction in life. Athletes are a distinct group of individuals who regularly experience stress due to the nature of competition. An athlete’s ability to function in demanding circumstances increases these factors and the development of resilience, providing a framework for understanding how to build resilience. Several studies have pointed to the factors underlying the development of resilience and have shown that resilience can be strengthened in the same manner as the training of physical muscles. This paper aims to examine and evaluate the research that identifies the key factors in developing resilience, specifically high self-esteem, an internal locus of control, and strong social support. Programs that have been implemented to enhance resilience among athletes and various populations are also examined. In addition, this paper identifies the drawback and limitations of research findings to date and makes suggestions for the application of the research knowledge in the future. 

Huntington’s Disease - A Breakthrough in Treatment using CRISPR/Cas9

Published in June 2022

Sanika Sharma

Irvington High School, Fremont, CA USA

vol 2022(1) 104 - 108

Huntington’s disease is classified as a rare neurodegenerative disease that affects patients’ motor skills. The disease is passed on from generation to generation due to it being a dominant genetic disease. Some symptoms of Huntington’s disease include chorea and cognitive decline. Although there is no current cure, scientists believe that gene editing methods such as CRISPR/Cas9 could be a possible way to combat Huntington’s. A couple of methods scientists used to research treatments for Huntington’s, include using hiPSCs with CRISPR/Cas9 and personalizing the CRISPR/Cas9 treatment using specific PAM sites. These methods have not been tested clinically yet, and there is still more research to be done on whether this is entirely safe, however, there is still hope that this technique could become a cure in the future.

Screening P2P Loans Beyond Loan Grade:
An Application on Machine learning Algorithm XGBoost

Published in June 2022

Selina Sun

Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA USA

vol 2022(1) 84 - 103

The credit risks of P2P loans fall onto the investors rather than the platforms, which provides a motivation for investors to screen loans beyond the suggestive loan grade provided by the platforms. This is made possible by P2P platforms sharing with the public the same information they use in screening. This paper studies whether screening models can be developed using machine learning algorithms to better screen P2P loans than loan grade. Based on the loans listed by one of the largest P2P platforms in the world, Lending Club, we find that machine learning algorithm XGBoost can improve default rank ordering by 10.3% in sample and 4.4% out of sample, as compared with loan grade. XGBoost also outperforms the conventional parametric Logistic regression model with a performance gain of 4.4% in sample and 1.1% out of sample.

The Effect of Retinal Scan Image Resolution on the Performance 
and Accuracy of Deep Learning Model

Published in May 2022

Saaketh Madabhushi

Mission San Jose High School, Fremont, CA USA

vol 2022(1) 86 - 93

Deep learning approaches have increasingly been used in the diagnosis of disease and other image recognition problems. Training a neural network requires a high amount of computational power. An assessment of the performance of neural networks on less than optimal image sets and hardware is desirable for these less developed nations. This research seeks to test the performance of neural networks under non-ideal conditions. Examples include fewer resources and training data for the neural network to utilize or outdated hardware. A dataset of images of diabetic retinopathy, with five different levels of severity, was procured. These images were split into four different test resolutions, none of which were the highest possible resolution images of the retinal scans available in the dataset, before being trained across three different neural network architectures: LeNet, AlexNet, and Encoder-Decoder. Images of diabetic retinopathy were utilized specifically as these are more complex images and would allow for the discovery of the limitations of deep learning across different resolutions. Furthermore, after conducting research, it was observed that AlexNet performed the best overall and achieved the highest accuracy of 57.2%. Encoder-Decoder was able to achieve 50.2% and LeNet was able to achieve 51.3%. In addition, the time until convergence for all three neural networks varied depending on the amount of layers and depth of each neural network, as well as the image resolution inputted. In general, neural networks trained with higher resolution images had higher accuracy, but still did not reach optimal performance.

The Meme Stock Phenomenon: Exploring the Correlations and
Growth Patterns of Seven Meme Stocks in 2021

Published in May 2022

Jordan Lee

Chadwick School, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA USA

vol 2022(1) 77 - 85

The meme stock phenomenon, which began in January of 2021, saw several different stocks of companies like GameStop, AMC, and BlackBerry surge in growth exponentially. Many of the questions that arose from this fascinating event have already been addressed, but there is one that has yet to be answered: To what extent did the growth of meme stocks correlate? Data from historical quotes of seven different meme stocks were used in order to perform a regression analysis, thereby providing the adequate resources to find the extent to which the growth of the seven meme stocks correlated. SPSS was used in order to perform the regression analysis, and significant figures that resulted from said analysis were noted. With such a new area of study, it is difficult to encapsulate all elements of the phenomenon, but using the available data, these findings show that the growth of meme stocks is indeed correlated, but there are some exceptions that are indeed notable.

Versatile PDMS Microfluidic Biosensing Platform for Rapid Detection of Viruses

Published in May 2022

Hersh Nanda

BASIS Chandler, Chandler, AZ USA

vol 2022(1) 72 - 76

This project entailed the fabrication of a versatile PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane) microfluidic device to detect viruses and small molecules. Specifically, this device implements surface detection to detect virus secreted glycoproteins and small molecules using a gold biosensor which is integrated into a PDMS mold. The fabrication procedure for this device is innovative, as it significantly simplifies the traditional process of PDMS mold making, and it is versatile in that it can be adapted to fabricate different microfluidic devices that enable several other detection methods. The novel and simplified approach to PDMS mold fabrication developed as a part of this research resulted in 55% reduction in lead time and eliminated the need for a plasma cleaner, decreasing the cost of production by at least $6000. This device can theoretically be used to detect any virus provided that the virus secretes a glycoprotein, and there is a commercially available compound that can be applied to bond that glycoprotein to the gold biosensor. This lab-on-a-chip (LOC) device offers several benefits - versatility in detection of diverse analytes, small sample size requirement, increased efficiency (less time to fabricate the device and quickly scale production to large volumes), lower production cost, device portability in the field, and ease of use for healthcare professionals. 

Investigation of Vulnerability of Gwinnett County to Floods

Published in April 2022

Haelin Lee

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Lawrenceville, GA USA

vol 2022(1) 66 - 71

This research paper studies flooding dangers in Gwinnett County to discover the most susceptible areas to significant flood damage. Three different flood year recurrence interval flood scenarios (i.e., 100 year, 200 year, 500 year) in Gwinnett County were analyzed using HAZUS, outlining the floodplains and calculated flood depths of each scenario. These three different year recurrence intervals resulted in different flood depths for each scenario. This study also investigates the vulnerability of essential facilities, such as electric power facilities and water treatment plants. The vulnerable essential facilities in Gwinnett County were found with geological information provided by HAZUS. This investigation can be used as an initiative to develop a more resilient and safer Gwinnett County by developing greater preparedness and creating more organized responses to flood events and natural disasters.

​​Breakthroughs in Honey Bee Health: Continuous-Release Mist Diffusion of
Thymol-Based Essential Oils

Published in April 2022

Kaitlyn N. Culbert

Toms River High School North, Toms River, NJ USA

vol 2022(1) 59 - 65

Honey bee (Apis mellifera) pollination is responsible for approximately 80% of all cultivated crops. Unfortunately, reports suggest losses of 30-50% of all bee colonies in the US. The greatest single contributor to the decline of bee health is the Varroa mite. Synthetic chemicals are currently used to control Varroa, but the mites are developing methods of resistance. Essential oils (EOs) may be a viable alternative. EOs are cheaper, environmentally-friendly, and pose fewer health risks to bees and consumers. Furthermore, Varroa have not yet developed resistance to EOs. EOs’ shortcoming is the limitation of exposure. Humidity and temperature affect the rate of evaporation and the mites’ exposure to the EOs. Thymol-based essential oils dispersed via a battery-operated mist diffuser would provide effective miticide efficacy without causing harm to honey bees due to the natural miticide properties of the EOs and the ability of the mist diffuser to maintain a constant temperature and humidity. Utilizing a gel capsule system to rear larvae/pupae/Varroa, thymol-based EOs were found to be effective against Varroa without harming bees. Miticide activity was as follows: thyme>oregano>rosemary>spearmint> control (vegetable glycerin). Currently, all commercially available thymol-centered systems are gel-based and work by direct contact with the mite. The use of mist diffusers effectively eliminates fluctuations in temperature and humidity and was more cost-effective than commercially available thymol-based systems (US$3.20 versus US$15-$18 per application). Continuous-release mist diffusion permits the disbursement of EOs throughout the entire hive, perhaps including the brood cell where natural miticides do not reach and where Varroa reproduction occurs.

​​The Neglected Equine Agency in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”

Published in March 2022

Yuheng Wang

Beijing No. 101 High School, Beijing, China

vol 2022(1) 55 - 58

This article explores Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” from the posthumanist perspective of equine agency and argues that the narrator’s actions represent man’s belief in anthropocentric superiority. The horse, through his exquisite kinetic senses, perceives the impending danger that awaits in the freezing woods and advises the narrator to reverse course. The narrator, however, obtusely misinterprets the message, believing the horse to be incapable of comprehending aesthetics and promises, reaffirming human superiority over the equine species. Under closer scrutiny, however, this anthropocentric vanity crumbles. First, human beings, while privileged to observe the world through a keen sense of vision, are led astray in their professed ability to recognize beauty. For example, the narrator remarks on the beauty of the “dark, deep” woods, but in doing so his visual penetration is blocked and confined within a superficial level. Then the speaker’s lofty promises to travel miles before stopping to rest acquire an ironic touch. Instead of exploring an uncharted territory, the speaker embarks upon the same trips within a familiar region. Given his frequent travels on well-traveled paths, if the narrator still has a long way to go after evening, he has poorly planned his trip. Rather than acknowledging his blunder, however, the narrator boastfully promises, “And miles to go before I sleep,” and the repetition of the last line reveals his underlying anthropocentric vanity.

​​The Environmental and Economic Impacts of tan Invasive Species in South Florida

Published in March 2022

Yardena Rubin

NSU University School, Davie, FL USA

vol 2022(1) 48 - 54

For decades, invasive species have continued to enter our environment, causing multiple issues. In order to effectively prevent these effects from getting worse, a closer look needs to be taken at both the economic and environmental issues caused by invasive species. This paper aims to bring awareness to the public and to policymakers of the harmful impacts that invasive species have on our planet. With specific research on the chosen species of iguanas (Iguana iguana) in South Florida, this project highlights the damage iguanas are doing not only to the environment and economy, but also to the infrastructure. Recent research and experimentation have brought to light the issues that iguanas cause by eating away at the surrounding areas of foundations of different buildings, roads, and bridges, which causes them to become less structurally safe. There have been some advances in the right direction with newly proposed regarding infrastructure. However it is still a long way from directly targeting the problem. This review paper calls attention to these issues currently faced as the threat of these invasive species is expected to continue.

Using a Combination of Electroencephalographic and Acoustic Features
to Accurately Predict Emotional Responses to Music

Published in March 2022

Devon Krish

Los Gatos High School, Los Gatos, CA USA

vol 2022(1) 37 - 47

Music has the ability to evoke a wide variety of emotions in human listeners. Research has shown that treatment for depression and mental health disorders is significantly more effective when it is complemented by music therapy. However, because each human experiences music-induced emotions differently, there is no systematic way to accurately predict how people will respond to different types of music at an individual level. In this experiment, a model is created to predict humans’ emotional responses to music from both their electroencephalographic data (EEG) and the acoustic features of the music. By using recursive feature elimination (RFE) to extract the most relevant and performing features from the EEG and music, a regression model is fit and accurately correlates the patient’s actual music-induced emotional responses and model’s predicted responses. By reaching a mean correlation of r = 0.788, this model is significantly more accurate than previous works attempting to predict music-induced emotions. The results of this regression fit suggest that accurately predicting how people respond to music from brain activity is possible. Furthermore, by testing this model on specific features extracted from any musical clip, music that is most likely to evoke a happier and pleasant emotional state in an individual can be determined. This may allow music therapy practitioners, as well as music-listeners more broadly, to select music that will improve mood and mental health.

Chemical and Biological Approach using Mixed Oxidants
for the Disinfection of Drinking Water Supplies

Published in March 2022

Keilah Om

Dominican Academy NYC, New York, NY USA

vol 2022(1) 30 - 36

The use of mixed oxidants for disinfection as a public health measure reduces the spread of countless diseases and is the future of public safety. Mixed oxidant solutions, which have typically formed electrochemically through the electrolysis of brine, have emerged as an effective and potentially significant method of disinfection of drinking water supplies. Many solutions have been tested and documented regarding inactivation rates relating to mixed oxidant solutions, including chlorine, ozone, hypochlorite, and several others. Advanced technologies are interesting, however many are still in the research state, while conventional technologies are the most used and far along. However, although some of the conventional technologies are not fully verified, a vast majority of them are very significant and vital methods when it comes to disinfection. Some of the many benefits of mixed oxidant solutions include a decreased generation of potentially harmful disinfection byproducts (DBPs), inhibition of biofilm formation within distribution systems, improved residual power, safer operating environments, and lower operating costs. Disinfection byproducts (DBPs) are chemical, organic, and/or inorganic substances that are commonly found in drinking water supplies and can form during chemical reactions of a disinfectant and drinking water. The use of mixed oxidant solutions in public safety provides a safer working environment and a safer supply of drinking water, while also providing a cheaper and more effective solution to promote public health and safety.

Impact of Demographics on Shifts in the Electorate since 2000

Published in February 2022

Andrew Wang

Panther Creek High School, Cary, NC USA

vol 2022(1) 20 - 29

Political analysts have long studied demographic shifts and their relation to the electoral change in the United States. This study conducts a qualitative analysis of 19 case-study counties to determine the limitations and accuracy of using race and age as indicators of presidential election margin shift from 2000 to 2020. Post analysis, four types were created to explain the overarching shift themes: normal, urban, Rust Belt, and group status. The normal type followed initial assumptions on age and race, that older populations voted more Republican and more diverse populations voted more Democratic. The urban-type highlighted the larger magnitude of Democratic shift seen in diverse urban areas. The Rust Belt type characterized the majority-white and aging populations of the Rust Belt undergoing Republican shifts. Finally, the group status type showed the limitation of racial diversification being positive for Democratic candidates. The social psychology concept of group status is applied to show a backlash effect of diversifying counties, whereby counties undergoing significant racial shifts become more Republican.

Future Possibilities for the use of CRISPR on Mutations in Three Eye Disorders

Published in February 2022

Anika Ranjan

Novi High School, Novi, MI USA

vol 2022(1) 14 - 19

CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) technology is a useful tool to insert, delete, and substitute DNA in the genome. This is done by separating DNA via double-stranded breaks and can be performed through two different mechanisms: Homology-directed Repair (HDR) and Non-Homologous End Jointing (NHEJ). Double strand breaks would be used for a tracrRNA:crRNA to guide the enzyme cas9 to insert, delete, or substitute the desired DNA. CRISPR has limitations on which DNA sequences it can work with. Other concerns include ethical questions and base-pair limitations. X-linked Congenital Night Blindness, Snowflake Vitreoretinal Degeneration, and Cataract Microcornea syndrome are three genetic diseases caused by mutations in the genes CACNA1F, KCNJ13, and ABCA3 respectively. This research paper will discuss the possibilities of CRISPR and decipher specific substitutions for all three eye disorders.

Utilization of Thermoacoustics in Developing Energy-Efficient Cooling Technology

Published in February 2022

Andrew Kim, Caroline Sheffet

Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ USA

vol 2022(1) 7 - 13

The considerable amount of energy required to run modern-day air conditioning systems results in the emission of potent greenhouse gases, which poses various potential environmental and health risks. To provide a solution to the disadvantages of standard air conditioning, this paper observes the harmful effects standard air conditioning has on the global environment and describes the development of a possible solution, thermoacoustic technology, which would provide a cleaner method of cooling. It was determined that thermoacoustic cooling technology utilizes the motion of sound waves in a contained environment to allow for the transfer of heat within the device. This paper provides a thorough description of the design and development of thermoacoustic cooling technology, including an explanation of what would physically occur within the system as it operates by analyzing the sound waves and heat transfer; the materials needed to build the structure; and how the materials would be incorporated to create this environmentally clean technology.

Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Multifactorial Analysis of Genetics, 
Early Diagnosis and Treatment to Achieve the Optimal Outcome

Published in January 2022

Jayashree Balaraman

East Brunswick High School, East Brunswick, NJ USA

vol 2022(1) 1 - 6

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disease that impacts 1 in 54 children in the United States. Generally, the associated symptoms of ASD include social and communication impairment, intellectual disability, and repeated rigid movements. ASD encompasses many different characteristics and different standards of diagnosis. It is complicated because it is characterized as a spectrum disorder - it could range from very severe cases to mild cases of this disorder. Along with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ASD is ranked as the most common neurodevelopmental disorder. What complicates this disorder even further is that there are over 100 genes associated with ASD, although these genes differ for each patient. Moreover, because of genetic variability, there is a lack of standardized diagnosing protocol for ASD. The life-long symptoms of ASD makes those with this disorder suffer greatly because in most cases the symptoms do not get reduced and ASD patients do not “grow out of it”. However, there is a primary goal for those with ASD to have reduced symptoms or no symptoms at all which is known as optimal outcome - the ultimate goal for those with ASD. This phenomenon is directly linked to earlier intervention, because of the greater plasticity of the brain at a younger age, which is linked to diagnosis. There are two primary routes of diagnosis - quantitative and qualitative measures. The Social Response Scale (SRS) is a commonly used and validated quantitative test to diagnose ASD. The qualitative measure is from the perspective of a parent or a physician where they assess the symptoms associated with ASD - lack of communication skills, lower intellectual ability, and repeated rigid movements. Although the genetic component of ASD is very complex, finding a genetic mechanism would make early diagnosis easier and the subsequent initiation of early specific intervention could lead to optimal outcome for ASD patients.