About the Scholar: Nabo Yu attended The Webb Schools in Claremont, California, in the United States.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the accuracy of tests was so variable that some countries chose not to use tests at all, but instead isolate symptomatic individuals. Pioneer scholar Nabo thought computer simulations could shed light on the effects of testing accuracy on the spread of the disease. His SIR model computational calculations confirm that higher testing accuracy can result in reduced disease spread, and show that even lower accuracy testing is useful in slowing the transmission rate. According to Nabo, the model “has possibly offered a basic method of determining acceptable levels of testing accuracy based on the level of social isolation.”
About the scholar: Sarah Liu grew up in China and attended Kent School in Kent, Connecticut, USA.
The well-known figures of the Scientific Revolution of the 15th to 18th centuries were men such as Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler. However, although women could not receive formal education in science and were limited in their activities to the domestic sphere, they employed the growing understanding of the nature of the world in their own writings: “recipe books” that covered cookery, domestic medicine, and cosmetics. Pioneer scholar Sarah analyzes the recipes for the least studied of these, cosmetics, in three popular works from the period, and finds the authors had a surprisingly deep experimental knowledge of botany, chemistry and biology.
About the scholar: Sumin Yoon grew up in South Korea and attended The School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.
“Although the biological mechanisms of opioid overdose and dependence are thoroughly researched, our understanding of why Americans turn toward opioids in the first place is rarely discussed.” This clear discrepancy led Pioneer scholar Sumin to investigate the causes of addiction through a review of previous studies and his own personal interviews. He concluded that the opioid crisis is driven by “a complex network of socioeconomic factors, medicalization of addiction, social pain, and stress.” Attempts to address the crisis by limiting the availability of opioids and criminalizing abusers without considering the root causes of addition are bound to fail.
About the Scholar: Guankai Zhai grew up in China and attended Jining Confucius International School in Jining and YK Pao School in Shanghai, China.
Beginning with the great increase in commercial aviation following World War II, the interaction of cockpit crew members with one another and their increasingly automated aviation systems began to be studied with the goal of preventing accidents. In this paper, Pioneer scholar Guankai traces the history of both the development of cockpit instruments and the attempts to facilitate pilot/crew/instrument interactions through Cockpit Resource Management (CRM) Training Programs. Guankai analyzes six stages of CRM training development from 1981 through the beginning of the 21st century, and concludes that similar kinds of training could benefit such increasingly automated fields as medical surgery.
About the Scholar: Cheng Xu grew up in China and attended WHBC of Wuhan Foreign Languages School in Wuhan, China.
At least one in ten Chinese adults suffers from diabetes, accounting for 13% of national healthcare expenditure. Computer apps can provide reminders and monitor conditions to help people with diabetes make the lifestyle changes that are necessary to control the disease, but Cheng found only 40 Chinese apps, compared with 260 available on iTunes for the iPhone. She concludes that “the Chinese diabetes apps market is immature and needs improvement,” and recommends the creation of apps that would help provide patients with access to the entire range of services, potentially creating a 120-billion-yuan industry and saving countless lives.
About the Scholar: Xiangyu Zheng grew up in China and attended the International Department of the Affiliated High School of South China Normal University in Guangzhou, China.
More than five million Syrian refugees have fled the country since 2011. Lebanon, with a pre-conflict population of four million people, hosts one million refugees, and China, with the world’s second-largest economy and a population of 1.3 billion, has accepted fewer than 30. To analyze whether China has a responsibility to do more, Xiangyu analyzes the issue from the perspective of the UN Refugee Convention and three theoretical positions: cosmopolitanism, utilitarianism, and communitarianism. Based on his own “pragmatic cosmopolitanism,” he concludes that China could realistically offer strong support and a high quality of life to two million Syrian refugees.
About the scholar: Kehui Guo grew up in China and attended Beijing World Youth Academy in Beijing, China.
Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy claims to prove the existence of a perfect God and the immortality of the human soul. It relies in large part on the “dream argument,” which notes the difficulty human beings often have in distinguishing between very realistic dreams and being awake. Descartes concludes that one can distinguish between the dreaming experience and the waking experience because of the reliability of one’s memory. Kehui’s paper challenges this assumption with recent scientific information about the unreliability of memory. He concludes that Descartes’ circular reasoning makes his argument unconvincing.
About the Scholar: Ruibing Xu grew up in China and attended Shenzhen Foreign Languages School in Shenzhen, China.
Primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP), the accumulation of gas in the pleural cavity without underlying lung disease, is a common problem. Women and people who are taller and thinner have the highest risk of recurrence. Ruibing’s paper proposes an experiment to determine whether the under expression of certain hormones and/or growth-related proteins might lead to both increased height and decreased weight, and the higher risk for recurrence of PCP. Her results could lead to the development of more precise and effective treatments, both improving the quality of life for many people and reducing health care costs.
About the Scholar: Sahana Prasanna grew up in the United States and attended Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California.
Traditional Western music is mostly based on two-beat or three-beat patterns. Eastern music can be quite different in structure. Pioneer scholar Sahana, who has been studying South Indian Carnatic music, assumed that the five-beat and seven-beat patterns of much of this music must be ingrained in the intuition of people who grew up with it. She wondered how people whose experience is of Western music could develop the intuition, execution and perception necessary to understand and respond to this music. She found that, contrary to her expectations, seven-beat patterns were easier than five-beat patterns for Western listeners to perceive.
About the Scholar: Xinshi Ma grew up in China and Egypt and attended BASIS International School Shenzhen in Shenzhen, China.
For the 30 years of Hosni Mubarak’s presidency, Egypt’s military played a much smaller role in the economy than it had under the two previous leaders, Nasser and Sadat. After the 2011 Revolution, the military became more active again. Pioneer scholar Xinshi wondered if, under military leadership, the country’s economy showed more actual strength than the superficial growth of Mubarak’s days, which was offset by widespread corruption. He concluded that on the whole, the military was protecting its own interests and major concerns still remain: continuing political corruption, stifling of competition, mismanagement of public resources, and inhibition of institutional reform.
About the Scholar: Cheng Qian grew up in China and attended Tsinghua University High School in Beijing, China
Directed graphs are used widely in such real-world situations as flow networks in pipes and abstract representations of computer programs. Tournaments are directed graphs that can represent visually the various players in a game. Each arc of the graph is traditionally unidirectional, but Pioneer scholar Cheng wondered what new applications might evolve if one or more of the arcs was bidirectional.
Using his math skills, Cheng tested his hypotheses about bidirectional arcs on several standard models, including Euler digraphs and Hamiltonian paths. His new theorem could be applied to such problems as the optimal arrangement of one-way and two-way streets.
About the Scholar: Vikhyath Mondreti grew up in India and attended The International School Bangalore in Bangalore, India.
Computational networks are now widely used to analyze the relationships of elements in intricate systems in all fields of study, from pure mathematics to the social sciences. The Erdős-Straus Conjecture, while not fully proven, has been strongly supported by other studies. Pioneer scholar Vikhyath wondered if using the Erdős-Straus Conjecture as the basis for a computational network might help address a particular class of problems pertaining to fixed-length unit fraction splits. His simple directed network model, the Erdős-Straus Conjecture graph, yielded promising results in addressing the problems, and also indicated further support for the accuracy of the Conjecture.
About the Scholar: Baoyan Ye grew up in China and attended the High School Affiliated to Shanghai Jiaotong University in Shanghai, China.
In the summer of 2017, The Rap of China, a reality competition show, brought Chinese hip-hop music from underground to mainstream in just two months. Chinese hip-hop artists followed two main stylistic paths: incorporating western conventions; and trying to create a distinctively Chinese style. Vulgar language and explicit sexual themes led to hip-hop being banned at the beginning of 2018. However, the second season of The Rap of China showcased artists continuing to produce music with a distinctively Chinese character. Baoyan wonders if this new form of music can take its place on the international stage as genuine hip-hop.
About the Scholar: Yutong Huang grew up in China and attended The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University in Guangzhou, China
Sex trafficking is one of the most pervasive forms of slavery in the world today, affecting several million people, mostly children, annually. Southeast Asia is a major hub of sex trafficking, and while the governments of the Southeast Asian countries have signed on to international declarations against sex trafficking, little actual progress has been made.
Yutong proposes adding social media to the tools used to combat sex trafficking, using Facebook and Twitter and techniques including facial recognition, term-frequency analysis, mapping, crowdsourcing, online chat rooms, forums, and signal transmitter to help address the three aspects of prevention, prosecution, and protection.
About the Scholar: Ruochen Jin grew up in Canada and attended The Woodlands High School in The Woodlands, Texas, USA.
Most Native American communities value passing on their traditions to their children, who are mostly immersed in today’s technological American culture. Contest powwows are one way to do this. To examine how these events balance the two cultural influences, Pioneer scholar Ruochen not only consulted previous research on the topic, but also attended a Children’s Powwow in the Greater Houston area and later interviewed a representative sample of the participants. Her observations were that at least at this powwow, the balance is maintained by preserving the sacred aspects of the event, while permitting cultural fusion of other aspects.
About the Scholar: Justine Kum grew up in South Korea and attended Dulwich College Seoul in Seoul, South Korea.
With nearly 60% of the world now connected by the internet, social media is becoming “more dominant and essential in modern life.” Pioneer scholar Justine wondered how social media might be used to promote cultural competence and language skills among university students. Her paper explores the social media models available for language study, the drawbacks of social media’s “shorthand” language, and the effectiveness of social media in teaching language skills and cultural diversity. Justine’s conclusion is that social media learning is most useful for students who already have some grasp of the language and are ready for deeper cultural understanding.
About the Scholar: Irene Chen grew up in the United States and attended Leland High School in San Jose, California
Since transistors, the foundation of modern electronic devices, became commercially available in the 1960s, “Moore’s Law,” which states that the number of transistors that can fit into an integrated circuit doubles every two years, has applied. In the last couple of years, however, progress has slowed considerably. Nanotechnology is emerging as a new way to enhance transistor speed. Pioneer scholar Irene explores the possibilities of this new technology by creating a simulation of a single-electron transistor. She develops an algorithm for one particular single-electron model, demonstrating that such a transistor is possible, and describes promising paths for further research.
About the Scholar: Hui Lan grew up in China and attended the International School of Beijing in Beijing, China
Acne is not only a skin disease but also a social liability that can lead adolescents to social withdrawal and thoughts of suicide. Expensive and possibly ineffective topical or medical treatments can be a financial burden for families. Pioneer scholar Hui Lan wondered if there might be a connection between severe cases of acne and the gut microbiome, but found that this possible connection had not yet been studied. Her paper proposes a mouse experiment to try to determine if there is an interrelationship between adolescent hormones, the composition of the gut microbiome, and the expression of acne.
About the Scholar: Elis Sõõrd grew up in Estonia and attended Pearson College UWC in Victoria, Canada
The widespread use of antibiotics in farming and food animal production has led to a significant increase in antimicrobial-resistant bacteria (ARB), accompanied by an increase in life-threatening diseases that can no longer be treated with the antibiotics now available. Pioneer scholar Elis realized that this general observation lacks precise details, and set out to determine how frequent such illnesses were, the most likely behavioral causes, and the most cost-efficient ways governments could address the issues. One small-sample study suggested that people who consume a vegan diet are much less likely to contract a food-borne zoonotic disease than omnivores or vegetarians.
About the Scholar: Dihan Mashroor Nihoy grew up in Canada and Bangladesh and attended the DPS STS School in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Rene Descartes declared that the purpose of his Meditations on First Philosophy was to prove the existence of God and distinguish between the human body and the human soul. In this paper, Pioneer scholar Dihan challenges both Descartes’ methodology and his conclusions. By extending Descartes’ thought experiment of the “evil demon” that can confuse the evidence of our senses to include the possibility that it could confuse our rational thoughts as well, Dihan argues that there is no certain knowledge, the opposite of Descartes’ claim that intuition and deduction are valid sources of knowledge.
About the Scholar: Zijun Zhang grew up in China and attended The Experimental High School Attached to Beijing Normal University
Tissue engineering encourages the body to replace damaged tissues or organs with tissues grown in the body from laboratory-generated cells. Three-dimensional scaffolds guide cellular growth and support new tissue formation. Scaffolds made from chitosan, derived from the exoskeletons of crustaceans, work best, but require the addition of PVA and sometimes other additives for strength and durability. The experiment Zijun proposes in this paper is designed to determine if a particular molecular weight of chitosan, combined with PVA at a 1:1 ratio, can produce optimal results, identifying molecular weights that are most suitable for use as scaffolds without additional additives.
About the Scholar: Yumeng Li grew up in China and attended Beijing National Day School in Beijing, China
The influence of fate and the gods in The Iliad has led scholars to claim that the actions of the characters were essentially pointless if the perception of their fate deprives the story’s heroes of full autonomy. “Characters who can think, talk, act, and react should be more than puppets.” Heroism in the ancient Greek mythology involves “the pursuit of eternal fame and glory through brave death.” Yimeng examines the actions of three of the main characters and concludes that they do exercise agency in how they either choose to face their fated deaths or to try to avoid them.
About the Scholar: Banban Tan grew up in China and attended The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University in Guangzhou, China
In the US, children with Down syndrome are typically educated in public school classrooms with their age peers. In China, they are educated as a group in full-time special training programs. Banban’s original research, described in this paper, is based on her interviews with randomly selected students at a Chinese special school, compared with studies of adolescents with Down syndrome in the US and the Netherlands. The Chinese children had good communication skills, but the American model was likely to produce better all-around skills. Neither model could prepare students with Down syndrome for a fully independent adult life.
About the scholar: Sean Hu grew up in Taiwan and attended Pacific American School in Hsinchu City, Taiwan, China
Sean’s paper analyzes the causes of Greece’s sovereign debt crisis. He suggests that EU institutions were partially responsible. The Single European Market drove up the price of labor, preventing a balance of trade. The Economic Monetary Union encouraged borrowing at low interest rates, and had no effective way to monitor Greece’s excessive borrowing for deficit spending. When the global recession hit, the EU structure had no way to help Greece’s collapse except through bailouts “at the cost of the Greek people,” resulting in a backlash against integration from other countries whose people feared they might suffer in the same way.
About the Scholar: Kevin Li grew up in the United States and attended Naperville North High School in Naperville, Illinois
The “efficient market theory” hypothesizes that professional investors at major financial institutions are less prone to make trades influenced by emotion than individual “noise traders” and retail investors. Kevin observes that the collapse of the tech bubble showed that this theory “became null and void during the bubble.” His paper identifies two major factors that hampered professionals from doing their job: the consistent overvaluation of potential earnings, failing to value stocks fairly; and the failure to rein in the volatility of trading. The conclusion is that market professionals acted from emotion, despite guidelines meant to prevent such behavior.
About the Scholar: Joshua E. Roth grew up in the United States and attended Northside College Preparatory High School in Chicago, Illinois
Pain is a universal experience, but the perception of pain varies. Ritual practices that would be intolerably painful to outsiders seem to be painless to members of the cultures. Joshua’s proposed experiment would use naloxone, a drug that keeps the endorphins that block pain from reaching the pain receptors in the brain. Test groups would include outsiders and members of the cultures, some receiving the drug, some not. The reported experience of pain should reveal whether the cultural significance of the rituals causes the production of endorphins in members of the culture, providing insight into the physiology of pain.
About the Scholar: Xi Yue (Kelly) grew up in China and attended The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University in Guangzhou, China
Kelly’s architectural “thought experiment” proposes a new building to add to a cluster of four “eminent structures” on the Pearl River in Guangzhou, China. She would realize her theme of “organicity” in several ways. First, the building would match one across the river in height. Second, its bamboo theme would echo the “rock” theme of another structure. An art museum, and traditional Chinese elements in the principal entrance, pick up themes from the other two buildings. Finally, a morning tea restaurant would encourage families to enjoy a part of the building, mitigating the separation between office and home.
About the Scholar: Annalise Selden grew up in the United States and attended Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
In 1130, Roger II was crowned king of Sicily, succeeding to a position his father had invented after nearly 150 years of Muslim rule through “a myth of the resurgence of a king of Sicily who had never existed.” Inheriting a diverse population with no history of hereditary rule, Roger II turned to art to support his claim. Annalise analyzes and illustrates how Roger’s new royal chapel incorporated Byzantine, Arab, Muslim, Spanish, Romanesque, and Fatima Egyptian art forms. Her conclusion is that through the use of artistic elements, “Roger emphasizes the diversity of his kingdom to legitimize his authority.”
About the Scholar: Aditya Waddodagi grew up in the United States and India and attended Greenwood High International School in Bangalore, India
Pioneer scholar Aditya prepared this risk assessment for a tour company contemplating expansion into Sri Lanka in mid-2019 by analyzing open source information to evaluate the risks in the area, concluding that this is not a good time.
Politics are chronically unstable, with elections scheduled for the end of 2019. 2019’s Easter Sunday attacks worsened tensions between majority Buddhist extremist groups and Muslim and Tamil minorities. Slow economic growth, high income inequality, and weak government standards discourage foreign investment.
Since these factors would be particularly troubling to foreign tourists, Aditya recommends the company postpone its decision until late 2020.
About the Scholar: Alesha Wong Yun Ying grew up in Malaysia and attended Tenby International School in Setia Eco Park, Malaysia
When Singapore and Malaysia became separate countries in 1965, Singapore was tiny and underdeveloped, had no natural resources, and was populated by recent immigrants. However, although both Singapore and Malaysia have flourished over the subsequent 50 years, Singapore is now one of the world’s wealthiest nations. Alesha tracks four key economic indicators and analyzes some of the factors that led to Singapore outperforming Malaysia. She concludes that Singapore’s leaders made some wise decisions regarding infrastructure, sound government, and the environment, while Malaysia has been held back by government corruption, policies that create inequality, and a higher birth rate.