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Name: Tong Li Year: Fourth-year PhD Major: Learning, Design, and Technology Submission:Quantum Teleportation and Magic - Video Prize: $500 Commentary: In this video, teacher and magician Tong Li uses the power of illusion to explain rather mysterious and "spooky" quantum concepts. Throughout his presentation, Tong illustrates phenomena like entanglement and teleportation with a series of entertaining sleight of hand tricks, such as making a coin vanish and reappear, atomizing a foam ball, and moving another ball without touching it. As is the case with many good ideas, Tong's novel approach seems so simple and obvious in hindsight. In Quantum Teleportation and Magic, Tong makes learning fun and, like any good magician, makes his craft look easy. Written by contest judge Chandler Christoffel
Name: Cassidy Lord Year: First-year Masters Major: Forest Resources Submission:Where’s My Creek? - Educational Guide Prize: $250 Commentary: Cassidy Lord gets straight to the point: Athens has a water quality problem, and Athens residents need to know about it. Where’s My Creek? is a 3-tiered educational plan that teaches residents about their local watersheds in the hope of fostering environmental responsibility for watershed conservation in Athens. First, residents find their home watershed on a large map, then they are given a card (“watershed snapshot”) with data about their home watershed, and finally, residents receive a magnet that will remind them what their watershed is. Meticulously researched, each snapshot is concise, with facts related to a specific watershed: Which watersheds have high levels of fecal pollution? Which is the most pristine waterway? Where is Brooklyn Creek anyway? Additionally, Where’s My Creek? explicitly considers the feelings of residents, so that facts are portrayed in a way that both accurately reflect water degradation in the area without making the residents feel helpless to act. In fact, each snapshot offers manageable changes that individuals can make to be more environmentally responsible, such as picking up pet waste and reducing fertilizer application. For its clarity, attention to detail, and compassionate consideration to the emotional complexities of learners, we award Where’s My Creek? 2nd place prize in the Graduate category. Written by contest judge Ariel Ackerly
Name:Kathryn Koopman Year: First-year Masters Major: Music Composition Submission: gamma rhythm - Video Art Prize: $100 Commentary: Kathryn Koopman’s music and video art piece, inspired by groundbreaking Alzheimer’s research at MIT, is an intimate, conceptual portrait of a mind afflicted by memory loss. Recent studies by Li-Huei Tsai, director of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT, show that the noninvasive treatment of optogenetics (i.e. using flashing lights to control neurons) can encourage memory retrieval in mice. Koopman’s video is a sensual interpretation of this research, a brief imagining of what it might be like to lose one’s memory and then have it re-emerge by flashing lights. While it’s not necessary to know STEM concepts like optogenetics or microglia to receive her work, having this background only adds to the narrative richness of it: archival footage and voice become memories, sparks become optogenetics, a series of words become the confidence of a renewed human personality. Part homage, part interpretation, and part meditation on important STEM research, Koopman’s video engages our senses and encourages cross-disciplinary, narrative thinking of scientific concepts. Written by contest judge Ariel Ackerly