Summer Study '97: What Did the Phase II Scholars Do?

Picture of scholars reclining on floor
Phase I Scholars find the best positions for observing the laser demonstration at the Pacific Science Center.

Phase II Scholars returned to the University of Washington campus for a second summer study. They met the Phase I Scholars, learned about college life and career preparation, and participated in a one-week workshop with a team of postsecondary instructors. Phase II Scholars who were unable to attend wrote articles about things of interest to them.The articles below summarize some of their experiences.

The Game of Life and Image Processing

by DO-IT Scholars, Cheri, Daniel, Michael, Rebecca

Everybody knows that the 21st century is going to be based primarily on computers. We believe that it's just as important to know what's going on inside the program as it is to know what's happening on it. We had a chance to write a program using the computer language "C," and create some interesting results. Among other things, Cheri had a "cat chasing a mouse," Daniel created several forms of fill programs, Rebecca did an experiment with dot matrix, and Michael made a melting program using his portrait. We enjoyed ourselves and learned some new concepts in the process. We would like to thank Dr. Richard Ladner, Jim Fixx, CJ, and DO-IT.

The Genetics Workshop

by DO-IT Scholars, David, Lucas, Zachary, Jodi

First of all, the doctor who found the cure for the common cold was stolen by an intruder, but the intruder dropped the test tube and left it there. We are able to find the intruder because there was E-coli on the test tube that the intruder dropped and left. We went through different stages of creating DNA. The result was that Dr. D.S. Honest (David) was behind all of this because of the e-coli he was using. We were surprised that David was behind all off this according to the result. We learned new stuff like how to figure out who did what and what equipment is used and stuff like that. It was great activity to do!

Black Holes

By DO-IT Scholar, Kevin

A "Black Hole" is described as a hole in outer space into which energy and stars and other space matter collapse and disappear. The term "Black Hole" was coined by John Wheeler in 1969. A black hole is a singularity, which is when the general theory of relativity breaks down and the density of matter and the curvature of space-time is infinite. A singularity is contained in a region of space-time with zero volume.

Black holes are created when a star collapses in on itself to an infinitesimal point or, in the case of a primoral black hole, can have as little mass as a mountain, and it is believed to have been created by intense pressures under conditions just after the big bang. A star is basically formed by a large amount of hydrogen molecules that contract because of gravity and as they get closer, their velocity speeds up and at some point they merge to form helium under the intense pressure formed by the gravitational pull and the intense speed and heat of the hydrogen molecules when colliding with each other.

Then the gravity continues to pull on the helium molecules, however, the heat allows them to expand thus keeping gravity at bay. Eventually, it burns its energy out and gravity contracts the star to make a white dwarf, which is what our Sun will eventually be, a neutron star, which has about the radius of 10 miles and is formed by a star of greater mass than a white dwarf, or a black hole which is formed by a star that is greater than the Chun Driskaw limit which states what a star will become when it contracts according to its mass.

Although gravity is the weakest of the four forces (the other three being electromagnetic, weak nuclear force, strong nuclear force), it acts over a long range and is always attractive in nature. So with enough matter, gravity can dominate over the other three forces such as a star collapsing in on itself forming a black hole.

Light moves at a finite speed (186232 miles per second), and it was once believed that light was made solely of waves or solely of particles. If made of waves, light should not be affected by gravity. If made of particles, gravity should affect light the same as any other particles. Light is known now to be made of wave particle duality, which means that gravity can affect light even if light touches the event horizon (the boundary of a black hole in which is it said nothing escapes). Light gets trapped in the black hole circling around in the event horizon.

Some black holes are believed to reside in the centers of certain galaxies, such as Sigmas XI, the Magnellic Clouds and even our own galaxy. It is believed that there are many more, possibly more black holes in actual stars which would account for the rate of expansion of the universe. At this time, the amount of matter recorded is not enough to explain this rate of expansion.

Wheelchair Accessible Gardening

by DO-IT Scholar, Joshua

Many people enjoy gardening as a hobby, or even as a profession. When most people think of gardening, they usually think of someone down on their hands and knees on the ground. This doesn't have to be the case, though. People who have a disability can enjoy gardening just as much as everyone else. Raised gardens can bring the plants up to people who use wheelchairs. There are a few things that need to be considered when making a wheelchair accessible garden.

The first thing to consider, is the construction of the raised garden. It should be a comfortable height to work at. Twenty-eight to thirty inches high is usually good. Second, it should not be too wide. If it is too wide, it will be hard to reach the center of the garden. Generally, it should be no more than two feet to the center, so a bed accessible from all sides could be about four feet across. Length doesn't really matter. It can be as long or as short as you like. The garden can be built with pressure treated two by eight's with four by four posts in each corner. An easy alternative to building a raised bed is to use large pots. You can grow anything in pots, even cucumbers and tomatoes! An advantage to using pots is that they are portable, and can be easily moved. Once the raised bed is built it should be filled with good top soil or compost.

Next, you need to decide what type of paths to have between and around the raised beds. It can be left as grass, but it may be hard to maneuver a lawnmower down narrow paths. It can also be made of wood chips or mulch. A four to six inch layer will keep the weeds down, but it needs to be replaced every year or two. Wood chips may also be hard for wheelchairs to run on. Another option is pea gravel. This will also keep weeds down, but doesn't have to be replaced as often a wood chips. Once the gravel is compacted, wheelchairs should have no problem getting around on it. A more permanent alternative is a brick or stone patio built around the raised beds. This keeps weeds down, doesn't need to be replaced, and wheelchairs can easily get around on it. A disadvantage to this is that it is more labor intensive and expensive to install.

Once you have the raised garden built and easily accessible, you need to decide what to put in the garden. A good, foolproof choice is annuals. Annuals provide instant color and come in many shapes and sizes in a wide range of colors. Some good choices are petunias, marigolds, snap dragons, pansies, impatiens (if you have shade), and annual salvia. Put the tall plants in the center or back of the bed, and work your way down to the shortest plants in the front. Plants that drape over the side of the bed, such as lobelia and petunias, are good for the edge. Hardy perennials can also be grown in raised beds. Some good choices are black-eyed-Susan's, ornamental grasses, hostas (if you have shade), daisies, dwarf iris, and creeping dianthus for the edges. It will take the perennials a year or two to get established, but after that they require very little care, and don't need to be replaced every year like annuals.

When your garden is planted, it will require very little care. When it is dry, or very hot out, give it a good soaking in the morning or evening, never during the hottest part of the day. About once a month it is a good idea to fertilize your garden so it will keep growing strong and provide lots of flowers and vegetables. Once in a while it is a good idea to dead-head your flowers. This means to take off the old, dead flowers so the plants will continue to make new ones. That's about all there is to maintaining your raised garden.

My Summer Camp Work Experience

by DO-IT Scholar, Dana

My summer camp experience as a leadership trainer was quite possibly the best and worst experience of my life. It reminded me of a clown that juggled too many balls at one time and dropped all of them because of inability to hold onto all of the balls. It was a very stressful job, but I had a lot of fun doing it.

My main job was taking care of the cabin while the staff members were away. My cabin consisted of 21 boys from the ages of 14 to 15. They were a pain to control because they loved to annoy me. Unfortunately for them I brought I wide variety of equally annoying music to wake up to. I also was in charge of several classes. I was in charge of organizing bands and MIDI production. I was also in charge of the MTC soccer team. I learned a great deal about people as well as the activities.