MidTerm Exam

Author: Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

Write an abstract discussing your project.

The abstract should be succinct, proofed, and between 200-300 words. Post your abstract here so other students may read it to prepare questions for your oral exam on January 22nd.Your exam grade will be based on:

1.) your written abstract
2.) your responses to student questions
3.) questions you ask other students

Use the following links and samples to assist in producing a high-quality abstract.

Writing an abstract. Click here

Practical Tips for Science Writing. Click here


Heavy Metal Bioaccumulation in Long Island Sound’s Great Meadows Marsh

Bioaccumulation of heavy metals is amplified with increased trophic levels. A variety of species from Long Island Sound’s Great Meadows Marsh were sampled for heavy metals through a metallothionine quantification protocol. Metallothionine is a universally heavy metal binding enzyme that catalyzes with heavy metals found in the organism. A mathematical model was developed to predict expected levels of heavy metals in higher trophic levels.

The Effects of MTBE on Well Water in Stamford

This project involved testing Stamford-area artesian wells for Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether, or MTBE. MTBE is a substance added to gasoline in order to reduce tailpipe emissions and to increase gasoline octane ratings. MTBE gets into well water supplies by way of gasoline spills, gas-line leaks in the ground and by means of the natural emission of MTBE into the environment through automobile tailpipes.Samples were collected directly from faucets in homes mostly located in the 06903 and 06902 zip codes. The water samples were assayed for water hardness, alkalinity, pH and conductivity. In addition, samples were tested for traces of MTBE using GC-MS. Next, the sites were mapped using G.I.S software, and attempts were made to find correlation between the location of the sites and the human impact on the area surrounding the sites.

Effects of Room Acoustics on the Generated Sounds of Percussion

This project is aimed towards the effects of various environments on percussion instruments’ sound and performance. Each environment exhibits reverb capabilities with various generated sounds of percussion. Each type of percussion instrument will display different decibel levels when played at various distances from a central location within the environment. Through the use of a Sound Level Meter and various analysis programs, both the decibel levels and effects of reverb of the marching snare drum, tenor drums, bass drums, and crash cymbals, will be tested and analyzed to determine which instrument creates the greatest levels for both reverb and decibel readings, as well as which environment is most conducive to high volumes and sound resonance.The results will be compared to existing data concerning the effects of decibel levels and reverb on the human ear. Hearing loss can result from extended exposure to high decibel levels, and through the comparison, determining the safest environment for playing percussion instruments will be possible.

19 Responses to “MidTerm Exam”

  1. drew t. Says:

    Metamaterials are artificial structures that give the substance properties which are not found in nature. Two characteristics are needed in order to obtain these properties; a negative permittivity (ε) and a negative permeability (μ). When both of these are obtained, the material will have a negative index of refraction over a small frequency range. The two methods have been used in order to achieve a negative refraction index are metamaterials and photonic crystals. Metamaterials use metallic structures to provide a negative permittivity and resonant structures (LC-oscilators) that are smaller than the wavelength to induce a negative permeability. Photonic crystals have a negative index of refraction due to band-folding effects. Both of these have been fabricated and studied extensively in the microwave frequency, but only recently has testing been done in the infrared frequency due to the fact that most metals have poor optical properties at this size. In this experiment, a three dimensional metamaterial was simulated in the infrared frequency using Multi-purpose Electromagnetic Field Simulation Tools (MEFiSTo). Multiple tests were run in the simulation to predict how the EM waves would be affected if a circular shape was placed in the middle of a point source and a probe, and then if the rings of metamaterials were placed around the cylinder.
    Next, the metamaterial was fabricated by first spinning a thick layer of anti-reflection coating and negative photo-resist onto a glass substrate. Interferometric lithography is used to define a 2D array of holes (360nm in diameter and 838nm apart) in the photo-resist. Titanium is then deposited on the wafer by e-beam evaporation, followed by a lift-off process to remove the photo-resist and leave an array of titanium dots on top of the anti-reflection coating. Reactive ion etching with oxygen gas is used to etch through the anti-reflection coating later using the titanium dots as a selective etch mask. Next there are three evaporations: 30nm of Au, 60nm of Al2O3, and 30 nm of Au. Lastly, another lift-off process is performed to remove the remaining anti-reflection coating forming the final structure. The metamaterials were then tested to indicate whether it could bend infrared light around a protected area and reorient them back to their original paths.

  2. Alex Albritton Says:

    The bottleneck effect plays a very big role in population genetics and micro evolution. Bottlenecks have occurred in many species including our own and are believed to have been the cause of many evolutionary changes and even the speciation of some species.
    In nature disasters such as earthquakes, floods, or fires can reduce the size of a population drastically killing victims unselectively. These disasters result in a small surviving population that does not represent the genetic makeup of the original population. This situation is known as a bottleneck. A bottleneck prevents most genotypes from participating in preceding generations. Since the surviving population does not represent the genetic variability of the original population some alleles or traits will be overrepresented while others will be underrepresented and some alleles will not be represented at all. The purpose of this project is to look at the effects of an evolutionary bottleneck on gene frequencies in Drosophila melanogaster. This is done by first making crosses of flies with wild, sepia, vestigial and normal traits. The crosses are Wild Normal RRNN Dominate X Sepia Normal rrNN Recessive/ Dominate, Wild Vestigial RRnn Dominate/Recessive X Wild Normal RRNN Dominat, Wild Vestigial RRnn Dominate/ Recessive X Sepia Normal rrNN Recessive/ Dominate. After these crosses have made in the offspring generations certain traits will be taken out of the populations to simulate the bottleneck event. An example would be in the offspring generations of the wild normal X sepia normal flies with the sepia trait will be taken out of the population. The genetic variability of all populations will be monitored by observing there allele frequencies. This will allow the severity of the bottleneck and its effects to be quantified.

  3. scott r Says:

    Native brook trout (salvelinus fontinalis) are a good benchmark for the ecosystem of a stream. A healthy population can tell you that there are few non-native species interrupting their habitat and water quality is good. If salvelinus fontinalis populations are suffering in Newtown then environmental steps should be taken. There are a few things to test to see if you have a healthy population. First is Macro invertebrates sampling. These aquatic insects make up the majority of salvelinus fontinalis food. They also play a big role in filtering and cleaning up dead animals in the streams. So far I have researched and collected a healthy population of macro invertebrates. With the finding of 2 peltoperlidae (roach-like stone fly). This has a 0 tolerance towards water pollution and in order to survive in the streams conditions most be good. I had collected the macros using a universal technique. Next for testing to see if there is a healthy population of salvelinus fontinalis is water sampling for dissolved oxygen and soil testing for salt and oil. Lastly is DNA testing to see if the native species of salvelinus fontinalis have been cross breeding with stocked brook trout. The best way to go about this will be to do a Starch gel electrophoresis and examine the protein found eyes, liver, or skeletal muscle. Stocked local brook trout will be the benchmark of this part of my project. If the natives have the same genes then they are not native; they just are stream born from their stocked parents. This is what the state wants to happen but in doing so it has critically damage native salvelinus fontinalis. If the trout have some of the genes of local stocked brook trout then it is clear that they are a hybrid of native and non-native trout. If almost none of the genes are similar then they are true natives of Newtown.

  4. jason h Says:

    The test is whether or not one-way glass is a plausible headlight, reflecting windshield. One-way glass is glass with a thin reflective coating on one side, which allows some light to get through, and some light to get reflected away. The intensity of the light that gets through the reflective and non-reflective sides of the one-way glass will be measured using a light intensity meter. Light intensity is measured in a unit called lumens. The intensity of the light that gets through the one-way glass will be compared to the intensity of the light that gets through a normal piece of glass. In order for this to work the amount of lumens getting through the reflective side of the one-way glass would have to be low enough so that the headlights are not blinding but high enough so that you could still see out okay at night. If the amount of lumens is to low you could add a thinner reflective coating to the glass so more light gets through, if the amount is to high then you could add a thicker coating. Based on the results of this test, it can be determined if one-way glass is a viable option for windshields.

  5. Wesley H. Says:

    Hydrogen gas (H2) is a promising new fuel because it stores just as much energy as gasoline and it burns cleanly, however the current sources for hydrogen gas aren’t efficient enough to make H2 reasonable. An electrochemically assisted microbial fuel cell or EAMCF can efficiently produce hydrogen gas at a fraction of the energy cost of Hydrolysis. The fuel cell consists of two anaerobic chambers that are separated by a proton exchange membrane (PEM). The membrane’s function is to allow hydrogen ions to pass through but not water, gas or even electrons. In each side of the fuel cell there is an electrode, the cathode (negative), and the anode (positive). The microbe, Geobacter sulfurreducens, is located in the chamber with the anode where it reduces organic materials and deposits the produced electrons onto the anode. The electrons then flow through a circuit to the cathode. The reduction of the organic material also produces Carbon dioxide, which floats to the top of the fuel cell, and more importantly the hydrogen ions, which pass through the proton exchange membrane to the cathode where they accept electrons and form with each other into Hydrogen gas. Unassisted the microbes can only break down the organic matter in the substrate until its acetate (C2H4O2) which still has four hydrogen atoms. However by running an additional voltage of 250 mV or greater through the fuel cell you can augment the electrochemical potential achieved by the microbes, allowing them to break the acetate down into more hydrogen ions and Carbon dioxide. This process effectively strips all of the hydrogen atoms from the organic matter in the substrate producing more hydrogen then fermentation alone and at a cheaper energy cost then that of hydrolysis.

  6. maricate c Says:

    Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are man-made compounds characterized by two phenyl groups and 1-10 chlorine atoms. PCBs are non-flammable, chemically stable, have low water solubility and high boiling points. PCBs function in electrical equipment and were released for decades into aquatic environments by companies such as General Electric Plant (GE), which contaminated the Housatonic River in Western Massachusetts and Connecticut. There are 209 chlorinated compounds of PCBs, but production of the compound was halted in 1977 due to the harmful environmental and health effects. PCBs can be readily degraded with thermal, chemical, biochemical, and in this experiment, with bacterial processes. Psuedomona, a gram negative, aerobic, and rod shaped bacterium, is proven to be highly effective in the bacterial PCB degrading process. Samples of contaminated soil were taken from sites along the Housatonic River, from upstream and downstream Derby Dam, in Derby Connecticut, Unkamet Brook in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and from wastewater next to the GE Plant in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The samples were plated to culture naturally occurring strains of Pseudomonas. A novel delivery strategy for Pseudomonas was designed using BioSep Beads, highly porous 3-4 mm diameter spheres. The beads were inoculated with varied media and inserted into soil samples of known PCB concentrations in order to stimulate the Pseudomonas and initiate the bacterial degradation of PCBs. Soil samples were tested before and after insertion of the beads using the HACH H2O PCB assay.

  7. Grant Kurtz Says:

    Enhancing Facial Recognition Software and Implementing into Everyday Cameras

    Using cameras to capture the picture of someone’s eye, and then systematically comparing to previous pictures for identification is the basic idea. Taking this a step further, Java, a programming language used to code games, coffeemakers, computers, anything electronic, will be used to create this program from scratch or from a previously made program and improving it to be able to quickly, and accurately compare two pictures. For the program to over come problems such as resolution deficiency or color depth loss, the program will be altered to identify how a camera takes pictures different from other cameras, and then adjust the original picture accordingly to compensate for the loss. The actual programming that will be used to do this will have to first be learned. For example, I will create code that will alter the previous picture that was taken by blurring the image, or even re-rendering the picture, to satisfy the comparison process of the eye’s iris dilator, the part of the eye that will have the most attention in the comparison. The iris dilator of every human eye is different, which is similar to a thumbprint, which is the driving force of the research and makes it possible.

  8. allison c. Says:

    Invasive organisms are economically and environmentally expensive. These organisms overwhelm an ecosystem and greatly reduce the bio-diversity and productivity of the environment. Prior research has investigated patterns in phenotypes of these organisms to distinguish them from lesser aggressive species. Phragmites australis is a recently invasive wetland reed that will be used to study possible genetic links attributing to its invasive tendencies. Two strains of this plant, one native (normal) and the other non-native (invasive), allow this variable to be tested against a control.

    Several samples from different locations will be obtained. DNA from rhizomes will be used, as these roots can lie dormant and avoid frost or weather damage. This project will consist of series of PCR and gel electrophoresis tests to investigate possible patterns that induce an inclination to invade. Results will conclude either invasion has no pattern and certain organisms have an advantage in non-native environments, or there is a gene coding for the more obvious phenotypes which make this plant problematic. Positive results for a pattern can help concentrate on the specific gene that encourages invasion and possibly be identified on other plants or organisms as well.

  9. Ivan Says:

    Cancer is the name of a disease that is characterized by uncontrolled growth and reproduction of any kind of cell, and may be dangerous or not. Most cancers can invade other body structures and spread through blood, thus quickly causing extensive damage to an organism. They are currently being treated in many ways, the most common one(Excluding surgery, which is done with most cancers that can be physically accessed)involving the use of cytotoxic drugs that target quickly reproducing cells and, with some drugs, causing them to destroy themselves by triggering apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Another way to trigger this programmed cell death has recently began to be researched, and involves exposing the cells to ultrafast high voltage pulses that capacitively couple themselves through the cell instead of puncturing the cell membrane and being conducted through this. Although this effect has not yet been explained, it is showing conclusive results. To provide this ultrafast pulse, some sort of pulse forming transmission line must be used, most commonly a Blumlein pulse transmission line that allows pulses in the 5 ns range and lower to be easily attained with proper design. The blumlein transmission line will charge through the impedance of the cell, then pulse a voltage of 40 KV through it over the duration of decay of approximately 3 nanoseconds, demonstrating the effect that has been studied and showing some insight into the functioning behind it.

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  19. Vitaly Says:

    fish the oceans water from off the rocks use anievochs or swimbaits that look like anievochs. Grubs will work for white ones you can make a black stripe on the top (front to back) with a marks-o-lot marking pen (or even a blue one) and make it look like a baby anchovy. I would use a leadhead rather than a hook and weight combination (in any way) for the purity of casting exactly where you want it to land. I also would try larger grubs and even plastic worms, I have had excellent success with the larger red shad worms in shallow salt waters from Ensenada to Morrow Bay as well. Not knowing where in Mexico you are going to or talking about I can’t guess what fish is there, but, if it’s baja there are spotted bay bass, halibut, perch, cabezon, sculpin, corbina, sand dabs, sand bass and calico bass. Maybe even white sea bass, yellow tail, mackerel, bonito and barracuda off the rocks and into deeper water.

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