The Inquirer


Vol. 6 Issue 2

TABLEOFCONTENTS DESIGN BYMARLEYGEISLER-AMHOWITZ, REILAND BRUSKOTTERAND MADDYGIDDINGS Basketball and the Quest for Efficiency Max Aronoff-Sher ...............................................................................4

ACutt lefish's Secret Weapon Sadie Gardiner ....................................................................................8

Spending Money to Save Money (And the Planet) ACost-Benefit Analysis of Climate Policy Dani Barret t ......................................................................................12 Improving Diversity in STEM: Weed-Out Classes, Workplace Professionalism, and Counterspaces Ximena Perez ....................................................................................16

From Dust to Dawn: The Origins of the Solar System Ian Norfolk ........................................................................................22

3D Print ing in Medicine Just in Dewig ......................................................................................26

The Future of Prosthet ics Max Staples ......................................................................................30

ADeep Dive into Robot ics in Surgery Steven Cast illo-Troya .......................................................................32


HEAD LINE byauthor Edi t or ?s Not e Welcome to Volume 6, Issue 2 of the Inquirer . In this edit ion, you?ll find wr it ing from both seniors and ninth graders in the Inst itute, and read art icles on biology, biotechnology, diversity in STEM, stat ist ics, and more that reflect the evolut ion of WISRD Publicat ions I?ve witnessed dur ing my t ime as Senior Editor. Over the past two years, WISRD members, wr iters, our Scient ific Wr it ing Coach, Dr. Amielle Moreno, our Editor ial Team, and our Graphic Design Team have worked t irelessly to elevate the quality of The Inquirer and the WISRD Research Journal. From collaborat ing with Dr. Moreno through the WISRD Fellows program to at tending our bi-annual Inquirer wr it ing workshop to working remotely on creat ive designs, these groups and individuals have been instrumental in helping WISRD further develop into a fully-funct ioning Inst itute and solidifying scient ific wr it ing as a pillar of the Inst itute learning model.

As Inst itute members have invested more energy and t ime into developing their scient ific wr it ing skills, I?ve had the pr ivilege of watching their abilit ies to communicate their research and art iculate their thinking benefit every facet of the Inst itute.

We hope you enjoy the first WISRD Publicat ion of 2021, and hope you?ll cont inue to follow WISRD wr it ing and research in the year to come.

As always, I?d like to thank our Assistant Editor, Nnenna Brown, Publisher, Scot t Johnson, WISRD COO, Joe Wise, WISRD Fellow and Wr it ing Coach Dr. Amielle Moreno, wr iters, and Graphic Design Team ? Mar ley Geisler-Amhowitz, Reiland Bruksot ter, and Maddy Giddings ? and their instructor Pat ter Hellstrom. As always, please feel free to reach out to me at danib21@wildwood.org if you have any quest ions or would like to contr ibute to a WISRD Publicat ion!

Sincerely, Dani Barret t Senior Editor of WISRD Publicat ions Inst itute Director



Basketball and the Quest For Efficiency By Max Aronoff-Sher

When people talk about basketball they typically do not ment ion the math and physics behind it . Perhaps this is due to the count less movies, shows, and books that show the stereotypical ?jock?who makes fun of the stereotypical ?nerd? solely for being smart . Even when watching the game, it appears to be purely physical. However, this could not be further from the truth. As the availability of complex technology increases, NBA teams are taking full advantage of it and turning a game that is, at first glance, unsophist icated and raw into a sport of fine calculat ions in the ever last ing search for peak efficiency. In the ear ly 1950s, the NBA had a problem. Teams were taking leads in the game and then merely holding on to the ball unt il t ime ran out . This went against everything the newly founded league was built on. Basketball was supposed to be a fast-paced sport that kept spectators on their toes, and teams holding the ball for minutes was quickly bor ing the fanbase. This was an ear ly case of teams using loopholes in the rules to gain advantage over their opponents. Our team isoutmatched. Well, the other team can?t beat us if they can?t even get the ball . This thinking became increasingly popular, and after a game in 1954 where neither team

eclipsed 20 points, the league knew it was t ime for a rule change. Danny Biasone was the owner of a team called the Syracuse Nat ionals, and he was tasked with finding the solut ion and had the idea of implement ing a t imer on each possession. This would limit teams to a certain amount of t ime before they needed to take a shot . Biasone determined that in the most entertaining games, each team took 60 shots, so he came up with the equat ion of 48 (minutes in a game) mult iplied by 60 (seconds in a minute) and then divided that number by 120, which is the ideal number of shots (60) mult iplied by the number of teams (2). This yielded 24 seconds, which became the league?s first shot clock, and was implemented the very next season. It was a major success: in the first game under the new shot-clock, the winning team scored 98 points, a significant increase from the sub-20 scores seen the pr ior season. Although the shot clock was an ear ly math-based decision on the league?s behalf, the real data revolut ion began with individual teams. In 1979, the NBA introduced the three-point line. This was revolut ionary on mult iple fronts. Not only did its introduct ion drum up excitement for a league that needed a


consistent ly in order to be an efficient point-earner. A shot from the corner of the three-point line averages 1.16 points-per-at tempt , and a shot from the top of the three-point line averages 1.05 points-per-at tempt . Teams quickly realized this and the three-point era of basketball skyrocketed. In 1979, the average team

boost in at tent ion, but it also sparked the stat ist ical era of basketball. As teams became acquainted with the three-point line, they began to realize the potent ial it harnessed. Shots at tempted within the three-point line are worth two points, but not every shot is made. Shots at tempted within three feet of the hoop are converted only 60% of the t ime, meaning that the average points-per-shot-at tempt on shots within three feet is 1.2. This number decreases significant ly as the shot moves farther away. Any shot made from further than three feet from the basket , yet within the three-point line, only averages 0.79 points-per-at tempt . However, a shot from outside of the three-point line does not need to be made as

shot 2.8 threes per game. In the 2020-2021 season, Warr iors?guard Steph Curry alone has been shoot ing 11.3 threes per game. It?s not just Steph. In the 2016-2017 season, teams shot an average of 26 threes per game. In 2020-2021, the Cleveland Cavaliers were last in the league in three-point at tempts per game at 26.8 and yet st ill surpassed the 2016 average. The Port land Trailblazers are leading the NBA with near ly 43 at tempts per game, a massive jump from just a few years ago. This movement toward more


point-efficient shots was largely catalyzed by two teams: the Golden State Warr iors and the Houston Rockets. The Warr iors were considered a dynasty for the lat ter half of the 2010s. On the backs of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, two of the league?s best shooters, they won three championships, becoming the first team to win with a game plan that focused on three-point shoot ing. The success of the Warr iors influenced the rest of the league to emulate the Warr iors?barrage of deep shots, and none did it bet ter than the Houston Rockets. With a sharpshooter of their own in James Harden, and a front office headed by two of the most stat ist ically-minded men in sports, Mike D?Antoni and Daryl Morey, the Rockets took the search for efficiency to the extreme. Half of all shots they took in 2019 were from the three-point line or beyond while keeping their other shots within a couple of feet . This raises the quest ion: is this an effect ive strategy? The Rockets had eight years with the tr io of Morey (general manager), D?Antoni (head coach), and Harden. Dur ing this t ime, they were never able to reach the finals, let alone win a championship. The Warr iors, however, won three. What did they do that the Rockets could not replicate?While the Warr iors shot a heavy volume of threes, they also at tempted more mid-range shots than the Rockets did. The Warr iors?shot chart is much more

evenly distr ibuted than the Rockets?. Although it sounds counter intuit ive to shoot more mid-ranges in order to rack up points more efficient ly, the Warr iors factored in one component the Rockets did not : human error. The Rockets? game plans were perfect , an ideal scenar io, but ignored the reality that the people taking these shots were suscept ible to bad games and misses. When the Warr iors had bad shoot ing stretches, they would take shots from closer distances, and although this would yield fewer points, it had a higher chance of garner ing any points at all. All of the Rockets?success at the three-point line would also lead to massive failures on its behalf. The Rockets lived and died by the three. In a playoff game where the Rockets had the chance to beat the Warr iors and advance to the championship, they missed an NBA record, 29 consecut ive three-pointers. The Warr iors went on to win the game and the championship. When data and analyt ics are used to show the most effect ive way to win, the Rockets forgot to plan for when the team was incapable of following those analyt ics, and it led to their demise. The Warr iors were able to use data while balancing it with a level of preparat ion that cannot be achieved through algor ithms.


What does the future look like for data in the NBA?Teams already have begun using all sorts of research to figure out the best training regimen, the best diet , and the best arch on a shot , leaving no stone unturned. The future appears to be that basketball, at least at a professional level, will be broken down by the second, both on the court and off. Players will be put on schedules for when they eat , sleep, and exercise in order to maximize potent ial. Teams? rotat ions will be predetermined to have each player playing with only the teammates who fit the best together, and only for a set amount of t ime. And teams will be in an endless search for the next big discovery that will give them the edge over the others. This league of extreme precision will beg the quest ion of whether too much analyt ics is taking from the sport more than it is giving. As basketball enters a new era of hyper-analysis, teams are forget t ing the Warr iors owed their edge over the Rockets to a delicate balance of both analyt ics and raw preparat ion, instead of solely the former.

Warriors' Shot Chart

Rockets' Shot Chart


ACutt lefish's Secret Weapon: Chromatophores By Sadie Gardiner


ACuttlefish in ItsNatural AquaticHabitat

Acuttlefish in itsnatural aquatic habitat responsible for maintaining the animal?s buoyancy. This alien animal comes in 100 different species of var ious sizes. One of the smallest var ietes, the flamboyant cut t lefish, measures about 6cm, while one of the largest species, the sepia apama can grow up to 50cm, or 20in. Like most cephalopods, cut t lefish eject ink into the Contrary to their name, cut t lefish are not fish; instead, they belong to the class Cephalopoda, also including octopuses, squid, and naut iluses. They are dist inct ively character ized by a thick internal calcified shell, called a cut t lebone, made of a mineral called aragonite,

Another unique adaptat ion of a cut t lefish is their small skin cells called chromatophores which can change color in an instant . The ability to change the color of its skin allows the cephalopod to hunt amongst the reef bed, almost invisible to its prey. Cut t lefish can also use muscles in their dermis to change their skin texture from smooth to rough, enabling them to hide easily among rocks on the seafloor. A cut t lefish?s survival relies heavily on its quick changing skin, but how can these animals accurately match their surroundings? Surpr isingly, cut t lefish don?t rely on their sight to change color; in fact , as far as researchers know, cut t lefish are

water to defend themselves against predators, mixing mucus to create a potent ial decoy organism.


colorblind. Yet they can change and match the color of their skin to their surroundings almost perfect ly. Scient ists are st ill stumped as to how they know what colors to match, but there are some theor ies. One hypothesis involves the animal's unique ?W?-shaped pupil. Unlike human eyes, the eyes of cut t lefish , and other cephalopods, contain just one kind of color-sensit ive protein restr ict ing them to only black and white vision. It?s theor ized that a cut t lefish can rapidly focus their eyes at different depths, taking advantage of a lensing property called ?chromat ic blur.?Color is perceived in wavelengths, and each color of light has a different wavelength that?s dist inguishable from another. The theory is that cut t lefish eye lenses bend some wavelengths more than others? one color of light shining through a lens can be in focus while another is st ill blurry? so by quickly switching back and forth between depths, a cut t lefish can figure out the color of an object based on when it blurs. In a study published in the Proceedingsof the National Academy of Sciences , scient ists built a computer model of an octopus eye and showed it could determine the object?s color just by changing focus, support ing the stated hypothesis. The second theory has to do with small cells in the skin of the cut t lefish called leucophores. Leucophores are flat tened, elongated, reflect ive cells found in the skin of some cut t lefish. The cells reflect white light? a combinat ion of all colors? appear ing br ighter and whiter while at the surface, closer to the sun, and then darker and more complex as the cut t lefish makes its way down the water

column. In order to change their color, cut t lefish rely on chromatophores, organs within their skin that contain pigment sacs which become more visible as small muscles pull the sac open, making the pigment expand under the skin. The muscles contract ing the pigment sacs are closely linked to electr ical act ivity in the chromatophore nerve. An electr ical impulse causes the radial muscle fibers to pull outward which expands the middle of the pigment sac. An ear ly exper iment done by Ernst Florey in 1969 showed that the increase in frequency of the electr ical nerve act ivity widened the radial muscle, which in turn expanded the pigment sac. Florey believed the radial muscle to have elast ic propert ies which allowed the pigment sac to contract after being opened. Chromatophores are able to open and close quickly because they are neurally controlled. Neural control of the chromatophores allows for cut t lefish to change their appearance almost instant ly, enabling them to generate small pat terns or details on their skin for camouflage. Chromatophores are used to match the br ightness of the background and to produce components that help the animal achieve general resemblance to the substrate or break up the body's out line. Another researcher named Roger Hanlon, theor ized that cut t lefish have three basic camouflage pat terns or ?templates?that the animal cycles through. ?In the laboratory we can test each of these pat tern types and the animal?s magic is looking at a complex visual scene and only picking out one or two visual cues to turn on the r ight camouflage pat tern type,?


Diagram of Taiwan'sNational TsingHua University'sExperiment on Juvenile Cuttlefish.

Hanlon says. Not only can cut t lefish skin shift colors and pat terns in the blink of an eye, it can also change texture just as fast . Even in complete darkness, cut t lefish gather and constr ict bands of muscles beneath their skin to small points on the surface of their skin. Cut t lefish use their complex visual ability for a var iety of things. They are able to flash different sect ions of their body in order to hypnot ize their prey and str ike. They use similar flashes to ?fight?with other cut t lefish for dominance; whichever has the br ightest and most alarming pat tern is the victor. Male cut t lefish ut ilize their unique skin pat tern while mat ing, changing their

backs to mimic female pat terns in order to deter other r ival males. By mimicking another female cut t lefish, it deters suspicion that the male is court ing a female. Cut t lefish, like their close octopus relat ives, are considered highly intelligent , so it?s no surpr ise that cut t lefish exploit their skin?s abilit ies to its full potent ial; cephalopods are somet imes called ?honorary vertebrates,?despite being invertebrates, for their cognit ive ability and potent ial consciousness. A study from Taiwan's Nat ional Tsing Hua University suggested that cut t lefish are even able to comprehend numer ical


quant it ies. In their exper iment , fifty-four juvenile cut t lefish were

exper iment suggests that cut t lefish are able to ?count?and understand small numer ical quant it ies which great ly benefits them in the wild. These unique skills set cut t lefish apart from other cephalopods and aquat ic invertebrates; not only can they ident ify comprehend numer ical value and use their skin pat terns to fend off r ivals. Cut t lefish are one of the most incredible species on Earth and scient ists learn more about them every day. and instant ly adapt to their surroundings, but they can

presented with two separate boxes, one of which had a single shr imp while the other had five. Each t ime the cut t lefish was presented with these two opt ions, it chose the larger quant ity of shr imp. The next exper iment tested whether cut t lefish were able to dist inguish the difference between closer numbers like three versus four, and each t ime the cut t lefish would choose the larger group. The final exper iment ruled out that the cut t lefish chose the more densely populated area of shr imp. The scient ists confined the three shr imp in a smaller enclosure and let four shr imp roam in a larger tank and st ill, every t ime, the cut t lefish were able to choose the tank with the most shr imp. The


Spending Money to Save Money (And the Planet): ACost-Benefit Analysis of Climate Policy

By Dani Barret t

Anthropogenic climate change, or climate change induced by human act ivity, will impact weather pat terns, biodiversity, and global and domest ic economies in the next century. These ramificat ions will be ?significant?and ?increase over t ime,?according to a study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Mult i-billion and -tr illion dollar industr ies such as energy, agr iculture, and real estate that account for much of the United States?economy stand to be severely compromised if the delicate balance of the global climate is disrupted. To halt climate change, the USwould need to reduce CO2 emissions by 80 percent , r ight now. As out lined in the United Nat ions? Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ?urgent?climate act ion is needed immediately to stave off the worst consequences of anthropogenic climate change and warming, and the United States is posit ioned to be a global leader in fight ing climate change. Under the Trump administrat ion, however, we?ve seen very lit t le federally backed movement towards these goals and even regression. In the past four years, former President Trump sponsored the rollbacks of 104 environmental policies, including withdrawal from the 2015 Par is Accord (which President Biden has rejoined). So as President Joe Biden enters his

fourth month in office, the United States? and the wor ld? are watching how the new administrat ion has tackled the climate cr isis. Biden was elected on promises of bold climate act ion including decarbonizat ion, phasing out fracking, natural gas, and fossil fuels, and a shift to 100% clean energy by 2035. These goals are ambit ious and will undoubtedly be expensive, but they?ll save money, industr ies, and lives in the long run. Here?s why. Aggressive climate act ion comes with a hefty pr ice tag, making it unpopular amongst conservat ives who avoid big federal spending bills and tax increases in certain tax brackets. They claim that climate policy and investment in green energy will cut jobs and waste funds that could be spent ?cleaning up after ? climate change. One problem with this logic is that studies show that by wait ing to see the worst of climate change, we?ll Consider asset depreciat ion of a car. The longer you wait to sell it , the less return you?ll get on your investment . The longer we wait to address climate change, the slimmer the chances that we?ll be able to salvage our economy, our industr ies, and ourselves. Just four consequences of climate change? property damage from hurr icanes, losses in real estate, and lose money, but we can save that money if we get out ahead of it .


water and energy costs? would siphon $1.9 tr illion from the nat ion?s GDP by 2100. These project ions from the Nat ional Resources Defense Council (NRDC) are based on an adapted version of a model employed by Nicholas Stern, author of 2006 report The Economicsof Climate Change . The 2008 NRDC report uses the model to assess the costs of climate change across the four high-r isk key indicators ment ioned above. Without running any of the numbers, we know this: every Amer ican will be impacted by the consequences of climate change, from pr ivate cit izens to lawmakers to public inst itut ions to corporat ions. In 2025, hurr icane damages are expected to pull $10 billion dollars from the economy, with that number increasing four-fold by 2050 and r ising to $422 billion by 2100. Rising temperatures on the surface of the At lant ic Ocean create opt imal condit ions for hurr icanes, intensifying storms, and flooding, which results in erosion. These trends have played out in recent years with storms like Hurr icane Dor ian which ravaged states border ing the At lant ic in 2019, leaving 29,500 people without homes or jobs, and result ing in more than 69 confirmed casualt ies and upwards of 282 people missing. By 2100, the annual death toll as a result of climate change is forecast to reach 760, not unlikely consider ing just one event in 2019 killed at least 11% of that annual project ion. At lant ic and Gulf Coast states will bear the brunt of these disasters, which can create significant

loss of life, property damage, and disrupt crucial sectors of the economy. Most ly target ing the same region, real estate losses are projected to account for a $34 billion decrease in USGDP by 2025, increasing to $80 billion in 2050 and $360 billion by the end of the century. Along with a 13 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase (by some est imates), NRDC researchers expect to see a 23 inch sea level r ise by 2050, which is on track to r ise to 45 inches by 2100, threatening resident ial, commercial, and industr ial real estate in coastal areas and inland as oceans expand in surface area. In 2020, it can be argued that real estate losses due to climate disasters extend well beyond that region and into the Western United States, with devastat ing losses due to wildfires in California and Colorado, which are increasing in magnitude and frequency each year. In the energy sector, costs are expected to reach $28 billion by 2025, $47 billion in 2050, and $141 billion by 2021, impact ing most ly the Southeast and Southwest United States. If weather pat terns become more extreme in the coming decades, air condit ioning, heat ing, and refr igerat ion costs will skyrocket to match demand. Not only will this demand require addit ional heat ing, air condit ioning, and vent ilat ion infrastructure, electr icity use will increase. This will impact resident ial structures as well as commercial, because many industr ies rely on refr igerat ion systems to funct ion. Account ing for the greatest loss of annual GDP, water costs will likely reach $200 billion by 2025, $336 billion by 2050, and swell to $950 billion by 2100, affect ing most ly Western states prone to drought 13

lose over $1,870 billion in GDP as a result of anthropogenic climate change? and that?s just account ing for these four factors. Combined, the economic losses from these four factors alone are projected to account for a $1.9 tr illion economic loss annually, with that number topping $3.8 tr illion per year by 2100 when health r isks and wildlife damages are included. These stat ist ics present a daunt ing future if anthropogenic climate change cont inues without intervent ion. Luckily, though, markets, investments, and consumer habits are shift ing towards sustainability in the United States and abroad. And under the Biden administrat ion, it?s clear that climate change policy is a pr ior ity in a way it never has been before. Biden?s climate plan has an est imated cost of $1.7 tr illion and focuses on invest ing in clean energy, green jobs, updat ing infrastructure, offer ing tax incent ives for using renewable energy sources and electr ic vehicles, and creat ing 10 million new jobs in green industr ies. This focus on building a br idge to sustainable energy rather than an abrupt switch would ease economic pain and job losses and make decarbonizat ion a feasible opt ion. While new green jobs, less fossil fuels, and more clean energy and transportat ion will cost us $1.7 tr illion over the next four years, wait ing to address climate change will cost us over $15 tr illion in the same amount of t ime. If we want a livable future, healthy planet , and flour ishing economy, the choice is clear. We don?t have to choose

condit ions. Increasing temperatures and more severe weather pat terns like droughts and heat waves indicate significant ly less rainfall dur ing the remainder of the twenty-first century. The impacts of this decreased rainfall have been felt in California dur ing the longest drought in state history, which spanned from 2011 through 2019. Dur ing 2015, California?s agr icultural industry alone lost $1.8 billion in direct costs and 10,100 in jobs and was forced to idle 78,800 acres of farmland. The agr icultural industry?s troubles didn?t end there: decreased rainfall required farmers to truck in irr igat ion water, the pr ice of which could soar to more than $1,000 per acre-foot . Consequent ly, in many areas where crops did manage to survive, they were rendered unprofitable by the cost of product ion. The catastrophic impacts are inextr icably linked to anthropogenic climate change, as confirmed by Stanford University researchers in a 2014 study. With the help of computer modeling and data, researchers uncovered a link between emissions and California?s drought : the increased presence of greenhouse gases as a result of human emissions tr iggered the format ion of a high atmospher ic pressure system that repelled water-r ich storms from California, leading to an intense per iod of drought condit ions. The study found that the increased likelihood of this pressure system?s format ion is direct ly correlated with r ising CO2 levels. By the end of the century, the United States is on track to


between economic progress and environmental progress. In reality, a climate-focused, sustainable future is the only way to achieve an economically stable future.


Improving Diversity in STEM: Weed-Out Classes, Workplace Professionalism, and Counterspaces By Ximena Perez

Histor ically, STEM fields display the same lack of diversity observed in many other facets of Amer ican culture. Apart from a few female and racial minor ity scient ists, most people would find it difficult to name histor ically significant non-white, STEM researchers. This is not to say that they don?t exist , but the norm is white males. In almost every field of STEM, men outnumber women, part icular ly in physics and engineer ing. And in the fields in which men and women are equally represented, women face drast ic under-representat ion at a faculty level as well as income inequality. The dispar ity is even more astounding when examining the rates of members of racial and ethnic minor ity groups in STEM. Based on proport ion of the populat ion, an overrepresentat ion of white individuals exist in STEM fields with 67.4% in the general STEM field and 74.5% in the science and engineer ing workforce (Dou, n.d.). A 2011 study by the Nat ional Research Council found that the number of people from underrepresented minor ity groups part icipat ing in STEM fields proport ionately represented about a third of the total minor ity populat ion in the country (Dou, n.d.). Two factors that contr ibute to the scarcity of diversity are weed-out classes in undergraduate inst itut ions and grappling with

professionalism later in the workforce. One of the root causes of this inequity is academic tracking and weed-out classes. Weed-out classes were introduced in the 19th century to separate students that were likely to excel in STEM fields due to the limited slots available in those classes. Weed-out classes are part icular ly common in science and mathemat ics fields at Amer ican universit ies. As the name suggests, they?re designed to ?weed out?students who may be unlikely to do well and succeed in these fields. These classes are often lecture based and have high D, F, Withdrawal, Incomplete (DFWI) rates. Weed-out classes come to define student career paths and end up pushing some out of STEM fields ent irely. Those who excel in these introductory weed-out courses often go on to complete a major in the field. Those who do poor ly are discouraged and made to feel as if they don?t belong in STEM. Undergraduate students?exper iences in introductory STEM classes correlate with the student retent ion and persistence in STEM majors and careers. According to a study published in the Journal for STEM Educat ion Research, half of college students who intend to graduate with STEM degrees fail to do so within six years of start ing college. The major ity of students who leave STEM majors drop


out after the first year of their program. Students cite course factors including their percept ions of classroom climate and faculty behavior as reasons to leave STEM majors. Weed-out classes also disproport ionately affect histor ically underserved groups such as women and Black, Nat ive Amer ican, and Hispanic people, pushing them out of the STEM field. Doing well in these introductory courses has more to do with social relat ionships, connect ions to teachers, tutors, collaborat ion, rather than the r igor. Weed-out classes are part of systemic racism which contr ibutes to the diversity challenges the STEM field faces, and they can be traced back to ear ly educat ion. Students from marginalized groups are more likely to have at tended high schools where advanced math and science classes aren?t offered. A study by the Gardner Inst itute of introductory chemistry courses at 31 inst itut ions, including community colleges and public and pr ivate 4-year colleges and universit ies, found an average DFWI (including incompletes) rate of 29.4%. The DFWI rates for Black and Lat inx students in introductory chemistry at the 31 inst itut ions were above 40% (Arnaud, 2020,). Angela Kelly, a physics educat ion researcher at Stony Brook University says, ?If students hadn?t taken chemistry and physics in high school, they really

access at the precollege level is a part icular issue that is just not get t ing the at tent ion that it needs.?Research on the rates of part icipat ion and persistence of underrepresented groups in higher educat ion in general, and women of color in STEM in part icular, demonstrate the histor ical prevalence of white males in STEM and underrepresentat ion of women of color. This is especially noted in physics, astronomy, engineer ing, and computer science. Nat ional data consistent ly illustrate that women who self-ident ify as Asian Amer ican, Black, Lat ina, Nat ive Amer ican, or mixed race/ethnicity are severely underrepresented in receiving science and engineer ing (S&E) degrees relat ive to their populat ion in the United States. In a 2014 dataset from the Nat ional Science Foundat ion, at the bachelor 's level, women of color collect ively represented 13.3% of S&E degree recipients, while their representat ion (age 18?24) in the U.S. populat ion was 21.9%. Similar ly, at the doctoral level, women of color represented 10.0% of S&Edegree recipients, while their representat ion (age 25?64) in the U.S. populat ion was 18.8%. Research is cont inuously demonstrat ing that women of color and other underrepresented groups do not persist in STEM at the same rates as their white male counterparts due to social or interpersonal factors. They often struggle and leave because they do not exper ience a sense of social belonging. Even if students survive a weed out

come to the university with a disadvantage in terms of their

likelihood to choose a STEM major and to persist in STEM majors. The lack of


class, they then have to contend with professionalism in the workplace, cont inuously fight ing to be taken ser iously and seen as equal. Professionalism is important in unifying pr inciples in medicine and have been histor ically descr ibed as ?the basis of medicine?s contract with society.? Professionalism is a histor ical construct which gained recognit ion in the 1990s, when members of the medical field agreed to uphold a set of ?ethical values and competency standards?that ?the public and individual pat ients can and should expect from medical professionals.?Afterwards, medical professionalism was made a core competency taught at an undergraduate and graduate medical educat ion to govern how members should conduct themselves in public, with pat ients, and with each other. However, professionalism is a fluid and contextual not ion that is often overused and misused. Professionalism is often used to descr ibe the behavior, dress code, language, and hierarchies that are deemed appropr iate in medicine. Histor ically, medical inst itut ions didn?t have women or minor ity groups in leadership and author ity posit ions, which led to professionalism being defined by the heterosexeual, white male ident ity and cultural norms associated with whiteness. That concept of what is deemed professional and unprofessional doesn?t include diverse groups and therefore can be noninclusive and discr iminatory. Thus, the way certain groups dress, eat , and

wear their hair or speak may be deemed unprofessional. With an increase in diversity of the healthcare workforce, it is important to reevaluate and redefine professionalism standards to be applicable to more diverse populat ions and cultures. In a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, they found that underrepresented minor it ies place more importance on professionalism, yet they exper ience it different ly within their organizat ions. It?s believed that the high value these groups place on professionalism stems from feeling like they?re lacking in their work environment and the gap between inst itut ional values and personal exper iences. Part icipants of the study who ident ified themselves as members of marginalized groups expressed violat ions of their professional boundar ies ranging from microaggressions to blatant racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and other forms of harassment . These violat ions of professional boundar ies disproport ionately impacted women and gender, sexual, and racial/ethnic minor ity groups. Furthermore, studies show that women in the STEM workforce are significant ly more likely to leave their occupat ion than women with other occupat ions. Researchers at the University of Texas-Aust in sought to find the reason behind this and compared womens? employment trajector ies to those of a


man in STEM fields to explain the disproport ionate loss of women in STEM over t ime. They found that the women perceive a less posit ive and support ive climate, greater workplace demands, and fewer accommodat ions. This suggests that STEM employment is less conducive to family building than other professions. Along with gender expectat ions that differ from those of their male counterparts, these limitat ions often push women out for part icular ly notable in S&E jobs. Men are typically assessed by employers as being more capable, worthy of career mentor ing, and deserving of higher salar ies than women with object ively ident ical performance. Addit ionally, men are more likely to be promoted quickly and enter higher supervisory roles than similar women. So, not only are women?s expectat ions likely to be lower than men?s, many STEM workplaces are designed to st imulate men?s product ivity but not women?s. This is especially true for women with family responsibilit ies. These dispar it ies have contr ibuted to the lack of diversity in the workplace, and these systems have been histor ically maintained; minor it ies are st ill alienated and their voices cont inue to be suppressed. Unfortunately, most intervent ion efforts implemented to increase persistence in STEM among students from underrepresented groups are rooted in a deficit model lack of support and flexibility. Percept ion of gender ability is

and only aim to ?fix?students, offer ing tutor ing sessions, teaching them self-confidence, or socializing them into S&E (Ong et al., 2017). Unt il we address these dispar it ies at a classroom, departmental, and inst itut ional level, examining social and cultural reform at these levels, it won?t be enough. We need to ensure minor it ies are supported and set up to succeed. Counterpaces offer a method for providing the support to succeed. A study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison indicated that inst itut ions and departments may enhance persistence by offer ing opportunit ies for formal and informal counterspaces. They found that underrepresented students?persistence in STEM could improve if students had key academic exper iences, such as strong peer support . In this study, counterspaces are defined as academic and social safe spaces that allow underrepresented students to: promote their own learning wherein their exper iences are validated and viewed as cr it ical knowledge; vent frustrat ions discr iminat ion; and challenge deficit not ions of people of color (and other marginalized groups) and establish and maintain a posit ive collegiate racial climate for themselves (Char leston et al., 2014). Counterspaces may contain more heterogeneity, such as women from mult iple racial or ethnic groups, by shar ing stor ies of isolat ion, microaggressions, and/or overt


allowing for broader connect ions to be made. Though not explored in this study, the benefits of potent ial for one-on-one relat ionships with senior colleagues to be a part of counterspaces seems promising. Exist ing counterspaces, in educat ional inst itut ions and the workplace, such as peer relat ionships, mentor ing relat ionships, and STEM diversity conferences have enabled br idge-building across levels of different ial power as they involved part icipat ion by members at mult iple stages, such as undergraduate, graduate, and faculty. Similar ly, there's already been success and progress seen in campus cultural organizat ions, such women's centers which help facilitate students?social integrat ion by providing a sense of cultural connect ion, a space to develop and express their racial/ethnic or gender ident it ies, and give back to their communit ies by support ing other students like themselves. In the workplace, counterspaces may manifest as mentor ing relat ionships between underrepresented groups and diversity conferences. When establishing new counterspaces, it?s imperat ive that they?re close to STEM's center, because that?s where more stakeholders and members with power can publicly address bias, exclusion and microaggressions, and advocate for underrepresented members. Ult imately, the goal should be to

operate in fully inclusive ways that there is no opportunity for microaggressions and the result ing isolat ion that commonly affect minor it ies at a departmental and inst itut ional level. By reducing reliance on weed-out classes to select scient ists ear ly on, creat ing more inclusive professional norms once researchers enter a field,

and providing and encouraging counterspaces for histor ically

marginalized groups at all inst itut ional levels, diversity in STEM fields can be improved.



From Dust Till Dawn: The Origins of the Solar System

By Ian Norfolk

The Solar System is humanity?s home in the universe. We are blessed with a bount iful star system, including asteroids, comets, gas giants, moons, and most important ly Earth. But how did it all get here and what are the or igins of the Solar System?This is a complicated quest ion that humankind has struggled to answer for centur ies. But if you look in its name you can find a big clue: Solar.

and helium eventually coalesce, due to gravity, into large balls of gas. Which once a certain mass is reached, will collapse into a true, nuclear-fusion-powered, star.

Depiction of Solar System Today The history of the Sun is closely knit with the Solar System?s history. So let 's look back to where it all began roughly, 13.8 billion years ago, at the Big Bang. This event populated the universe with mat ter that eventually formed into stars. Over the next 9 billion years, the universe would go through the lives of count less stars. Some of which exploded into supernovae and filled the universe with more and new types of mat ter and clouds of gas and dust . These clouds are called molecular clouds but often in popular science are referred to as a ?star nursery.?These ?nurser ies?are able to form stars because the large amounts of hydrogen

Molecular Clouds in the Eagle Nebula Five billion years ago, where the Solar System is today, there was one of these clouds.With a lit t le help from t ime and gravity, 400 million years later, the Sun formed from a collapsed port ion of this cloud. The newly formed star had a plethora of dust orbit ing it and due to the conservat ion of angular momentum, this rotat ion sped up when the star collapsed and formed. This formed what scient ists call a proto-planetary disk, a large plane of dust rotat ing a star (think of a Solar-System-sized asteroid belt that 's filled with much more mater ial). This dust is the or iginal mater ial that formed our solar system. Eventually as dust


part icles collided, they formed planetesimals which are minor planets that filled the young Solar System. The famous Trans-Neptunian Object (TNO) MU69 that was visited by the New Hor izons probe in 2019 is the only planetesimal visited by humanity. Over t ime these planetesimals clumped together and eventually formed into objects large enough to have their own gravitat ional pull on other bodies, which eventually formed into spher ical planets, moons, and dwarf planets.

objects were thrown across the Solar System which created an extremely unstable environment . On top of this, with the frequent collisions between planets, planetesimals, and other objects, new mat ter was added to the planets. From these collisions, hot magma was lifted from the mant le, creat ing a hellish environment . But dur ing this fiery and fierce t ime in Earth?s history, Earth may have gained its most unique trait : the presence of water. Scient ists believe that a type of meteor called a Carbonaceous Chondr ite, meteors r ich in water and carbon, had many collisions with the developing Earth and gave us the thing that makes this marble blue.

Protoplanetary DiscAS209 But these young celest ial bodies weren?t gonna have it easy. The young Solar System was a place of chaos. For example, the terrestr ial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) faced a per iod of extreme celest ial bombardment . These planets were struck by tens of thousands of, if not more, meteors causing massive geological change. From these events,

Depiction of Asteroid BombardingEarth The general shape of the Solar System is often character ized as a plane or a plate shape. While this holds ground for



most astronomers, the t ilt within the orbits of some bodies, mainly the Gas Giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) all have semi-t ilted and highly eccentr ic orbits. Saturn and the Ice Giants (Uranus and Neptune) all have an inclinat ion, or t ilt , of 2 degrees relat ive to the average plane of the Solar System, and all have eccentr icit ies of at least 5% in their orbits. Scient ists mainly believe this is due to the aforement ioned bombardment of the ear ly system. But rather than r iddle the

Gas Giants with craters, the bombardment , overt ime, warped their orbits into the not so perfect shape they have today. There are many theor ies as to how the Gas Giants formed but one of the best supported theor ies is that an or iginal rocky core formed, much like the planetesimals ment ioned before, although, dur ing their format ion these bodies that would soon become gaseous, were surrounded by gases, such as Hydrogen, Helium, Methane, and more. Eventually these gases

Diagram of Orbital Panes for Planetsand Dwarf Planets


became at tached to the rocky core by gravity and, hence, formed the Gas Giants. All of this leads up to the Solar System today consist ing of an init ial lineup of terrestr ial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars), a comfortable gap with the asteroid belt followed by the lovely gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune), a beaut iful Kuiper belt , and its dwarf planet buddies (including Pluto), and, finally, a gargantuan Oort cloud stretching a

lightyear in every direct ion. Since the Solar System?s creat ion all the way back in the molecular cloud, it has been moving through the universe. Current ly, its trajectory is taking us toward the star Vega in the constellat ion Lyra, but unt il we reach there it is nice to know a lit t le more about our so-called ?Cosmic Neighborhood.?

Image of Vega


3D Prit ing in Medicine By Just in Dewig

Developed in the 1980s, addit ive manufactur ing? bet ter known as 3D pr int ing? is the process of adding and pr int ing layers onto an already established two-dimensional design, transforming that two-dimensional design to a three-dimensional object . 3D pr int ing technology is st ill growing at a rapid rate, with new applicat ions constant ly being pioneered. Current applicat ions of 3D pr int ing can range from educat ional technology to automot ive equipment to the aerospace industry. All of these are large and complex industr ies, which have been improved in efficiency by the use of 3D pr int ing. However, there is one important field that ut ilizes this technology, but does not get as much at tent ion since it is st ill in its ear ly stages of development : the medical field. The medical field has an unbelievable amount of potent ial if 3D pr int ing software and development are applied and mastered. Since most medical procedures are performed in a clinical set t ing and on real pat ients, there?s less room for error. Therefore, tr ials and development of 3D pr int ing technology is at a disadvantage when compared to other industr ies, but that does not mean it doesn?t have potent ial. There are present ly four main applicat ions of computer-aided design and 3D pr int ing in the medical industry. This technology

could be used to replace human organs in transplants, manufacture cheaper versions of surgical instruments, produce improved prosthet ic limbs, and speed up surgical operat ions. Each of these four applicat ions of 3D pr int ing possesses growing potent ial for research and development , which researchers and surgeons are eager to explore as they str ive to advance surgical medicine. Human Organ Transplants Instead of dealing with the tradit ional r isks of an organ transplant from one individual to another, 3D pr int ing technology has allowed surgeons to ut ilize a technique called biopr int ing. Unlike the tradit ional 3D pr inters that use both plast ics and metals when creat ing objects, biopr inters employ a computer-guided pipet te to layer living cells on top one another like a tradit ional pr inter would do with plast ic. This substance, referred to as bio-ink, art ificially creates a living t issue inside a laboratory. These art ificially created t issues, known as organoids, can be used in laboratory research since they are miniature replicas of organs. Many organizat ions have been working to master this process and find new ways to apply it to the medical field. For example, the Wake Forest Inst itute in North Carolina announced that their laboratory successfully created a


funct ional blood brain barr ier, completely cell-based, that mimics the organic human anatomy. Having this technology to produce copies of human t issue is a perfect tool for doctors to pract ice on before large surger ies, which in turn can speed up the process of these operat ions. This is just scratching the surface of what 3D pr int ing could br ing the medical field in the future.

and clamps. These are highly sought-after since they can be produced ster ilely and can be engineered to exact specificat ions of a procedure. These are called pat ient-specific devices, and are now produced on a larger scale thanks to the development of 3D design and pr int ing. This method can create tools that allow for more precision while minimizing the damage done to a pat ient 's body dur ing a procedure. Prosthetics Prosthet ics is another increasingly common applicat ion of pat ient-specific devices. 3D pr int ing has allowed medical professionals to create extremely specific designs for each pat ient for half the pr ice and in under half the t ime. It has not only made medical professionals?jobs slight ly easier, but also the pat ients?, since this is a cheaper alternat ive to tradit ional prosthet ic systems. In part icular, children benefit the most from 3D-pr inted prosthet ic devices since they can be produced fair ly quickly to keep up as a child outgrows their old prosthet ic equipment . Not only that , but prosthet ic innovat ions have developed so far that doctors can allow pat ients to design their own prosthet ic that fits their needs exact ly. Even though 3D design and pr int ing in the medical field is st ill in its ear ly stages, there are already count less applicat ions of this technology. Whether it?s speeding up the process of procedures

3D-Printed Organoid 3D Development of Hospital Instruments 3D pr int ing also sparks interest for

engineers in the medical field. The cost of producing 3D pr inted hospital instruments is far lower than the cost of tradit ional, mass-manufactured tools. It also provides a free range of i nstruments for engineers to produce. 3D pr int ing is most applicable to the product ion of surgical instruments like forceps, hemostats, scalpel handles,


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