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Volume 4 Issue 10 Jul-Dec 2011

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Special Issue : Origin of Life
Young Scientists Journal
This magazine web-based Young Scientists J ournal is online journal open access journal (www.ysjournal.com). It has been
in existence since J une 06 and contains articles written by young scientists for young scientists. It is where young scientists
get their research and review articles published.
Published by
MEDKNOW PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA PVT. LTD.
B5-12, Kanara Business Center, Off Link Road,
Ghatkopar (E), Mumbai - 400075, INDIA.
Phone: 91-22-6649 1818
Web: www.medknow.com
Editorial Board
Chief Editor: Pamela Barraza Flores, Mexico
Editorial Team Members Louis Sharrock
Team Leader: Cleodie Swire, UK David Hewett
Phoebe Leung Arthur Harris
Nicola King Mei Yin Wong
Hannah Todd Chloe Chalmers
Rosie Ffoulkes Alex Lancaster
Isobel Wingrad Matt Harrison
Harriet Cousins Joseph Keel
Fiona Paterson Matthew Brady
Chidera Ota Ben Lawrence
Elizabeth Morcom Tim Wood
Eleanor Powell Robert Aylward
Jacob Shepherd-Barron Technical Team
Fiona Jenkinson Team Leader: Malcolm Morgan, UK
Chris Cundy Mark Orders, UK
Louis Wilson Jacob Hamblin-Pyke
Harriet Dunn
Young Advisory Board
Jonathan Rogers, UK
Malcolm Morgan, UK
International Advisory Board
Team Leader: Christina Astin, UK
Ghazwan Butrous, UK Mark Orders, UK
Joanne Manaster, USA Paul Soderberg, USA
Andreia Azevedo-Soares, UK Lee Riley, USA
Paul Soderberg, USA Corky Valenti, USA
Anna Grigoryan, USA / Armenia Vince Bennett, USA
Don Eliseo Lucero-Prisno, UK Mike Bennett, USA
Linda Crouch, UK Tony Grady, USA
Steven Chambers, UK Ian Yorston, UK
Thijs Kouwenhoven, China Charlie Barclay, UK
Volume 4 | Issue 10 | Jul - Dec 2011
Volume 4 | Issue 10 | Jul - Dec 2011
Young Scientists Journal
Contents...
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Published by
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MEDIA PVT. LTD.
B5-12, Kanara Business Center,
Off Link Rd, Ghatkopar (E),
Mumbai - 400075, INDIA.
Phone: 91-22-6649 1818
Web: www.medknow.com
Editorials
Pamela Barraza Flores .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .43
Cleodie Swire .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .44
Origin of Life
From hominids to humans: An overview of the evolution of man
Emma Greaves. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .46
Are we alone after all?
Ana Pavlova .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .48
The life-cycle of stars
Cleodie Swire .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .52
The role of supernovae in the origins of life
Ben Maybee .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .56
The Endosymbiotic Theory
Cleodie Swire .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .61
A review of 10 of the best Origin of Life books
Fiona Jenkinson .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .65
Interviews
Interview with Dr. Luis Delaye
Liliana Corona Martínez .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .68
Interview with Dr. Gabriela Olmedo
Liliana Corona Martínez .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .71
Review Articles
A dual nature of light
Maciej Bąk .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .73
Melanomas and their effect on the grey horse
Katherine Burden. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .75
Research Article
Knowledge of HPV and cervical cancer among women in Little Haiti
Paula-Suzanne Lapciuc, Nadia Willy .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .82
Author Index, 2011 87
Title Index, 2011 88
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 43
Editorial
Where do we come from? Where are we going? Who or what made life? These questions have kept us awake
at night. They have for centuries intrigued the minds of the greatest scientists. From the Greeks to modern
times, we have still not discovered with certainty the origin of life. It is indeed one of the most promising,
intriguing, and perhaps least understood questions of the humanities and sciences. How close are we to
discovering the truth? How are our lives going to change when we do? Will it set the time for a new generation
of science? It is us, the new generation of scientists, who will uncover the truth. Can you, young scientist,
imagine yourself discovering the biggest secret of life?
In this special edition about The Origin of Life, we will travel through the ancient discoveries, modern science
and beyond to find how close we are to unraveling the true meaning of this mystery. Many important theories
have been conceived in human history. In this issue, we bring you a score of information in the form of articles
and interviews with experts in the field. These include the best articles from our latest aptly-themed competition.
The winner is entitled “Are we alone after all?”; it is a very interesting article about life on other planets. Other
articles from the competition discuss the quantum world, complex cells, evolution, supernovae, and more that
will bring you even closer to the origin of life. There is also a review of ten of the best books on this subject.
This issue also contains articles on a wide range of other topics from coronary heart disease to questioning
the compatibility of science and religion.
On another subject, this is going to be my last issue as Chief Editor. I would like to thank all the editors involved
and give special recognition to Professor Butrous, founder of the Young Scientists Journal, who has allowed
my voice as a young scientist to be heard. Christina Astin and the Young Scientists team are an amazing
group of young science communicators that are always open to collaboration from all around the world. I
invite all young readers to join the team and to recruit other enthusiasts; this is a life changing experience.
Cleodie Swire is already doing excellent work leading the editorial team, and will now take on the role of Chief
Editor. I am sure that she will take the journal to even greater heights.
Pamela Barraza Flores
Chief Editor
DOI: 10.4103/0974-6102.92191
44 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
Editorial
The Young Scientists Journal is going to run a competition with the theme, ‘The Dark Ages’. We are looking
for articles about many scientific advances occurring in the East during the so-called Dark Ages, which were
actually a very fruitful time in the Muslim world. This theme is based on The 1001 Inventions Exhibition, and
some ideas for topics are detailed below.
The 1001 Inventions Exhibition, which acts to educate people about the advances in all types of technology
by the Muslim communities that were going on during the so-called ‘Dark Ages’, was started by a group
called FSTC, which is based in Manchester. It,initially,wasa smaller exhibition in 2006, funded by a range of
sponsors, which travelled the UK and had great success. Due to this, a decision was made to develop the
exhibition even further, and tour internationally. Scholars and scientists from all over the world have verified
the information collected for the exhibition, which was in The Science Museum from the 21
st
January until the
30
th
June 2010, and proved to be the most successful temporary exhibition there ever. Around 10,000 people
visited the exhibition per week, which is now going to Turkey, and then America.
The exhibition comprises of various stations with information on advances on a diverse selection of subjects.
It puts a lot of emphasis on the idea that the objects we use now only exist due to the discoveries made by
the Muslim civilizations during the ‘black hole in history’ between 700 and 1700 AD.
The exhibition is divided into about six sections, each dealing with a different topic:
• There is one dedicated to mechanical technology, which featured the famous elephant clock and the
Banu Musa brothers’ trick flask.
• Another focused on education, explaining about the libraries full of handwritten books, and universities
– one of which (Al-Qarawiyin in Morocco) still functions today.
• Industries such as glassmaking, papermaking, and distillation are described – all paid for in early
currencies, such as cowry shells in the Maldives.
• Many medical methods and tools that we still rely were used in these societies, such as scalpels,
drills, and forceps. Although William Harvey is credited with the discovery of the blood circulatory
system, he was only elaborating on the recently-translated works of Ibn Nafis, who lived in Syria in the
13
th
century.
• Architecture since the Dark Ages has been greatly influenced by the designs and fashions of the Middle
East.
• The study of the starswas something that greatly interested the Muslims, and many of the constellations
still studied today were identified and named by these civilizations.
One of the highlights of the exhibit is a short video featuring Sir Ben Kingsley, which demonstrates the aim
of the exhibition: To educate people about the Arabic world and its heritage, which is publically ignored in
comparison to Ancient Egyptian or Roman life. The video introduces some of the main characters featured
in the exhibition, such as ‘Abbas Ibn Firnas, the first person to attempt to construct a flying machine, and
Abul al-Zahrawi, one of the most famous Muslim surgeons of his time.
There are many interactive elements to the exhibition, such as a room where you can place the constellations
in the sky by pointing your hand, as well as many interactive boards.These include an exhibit to link up words
in our language that are derived from Arabic sources, such as the word ‘giraffe’ which came from the Arabic
‘Zarafa’, and ‘sofa’ which stems from the word ‘suffah’, meaning ‘long bench’.
Although nearly every conceivable aspect of modern life has been directly influenced by the discoveries and
inventions made by the Muslims in these times, only a limited number of examples could be presented in
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 45
the exhibition, but the book, Muslim Heritage in Our World, gives full justice to the scale of the research that
has gone into the project.
Cleodie Swire
Head of the Editorial Team
DOI: 10.4103/0974-6102.92192
46 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
Emma Gr eaves
Haybridge High School. E-mail: emmagreaves94-xo@hotmail.co.uk
DOI: 10.4103/0974-6102.92193
In the last few million years or so, our earliest ancestors
evolved. These ancestors were very human-like and
are now known as hominids. Scientists are always
discovering new fossils and links to earlier species,
and the family tree is forever growing.
Hominids are all different making it difficult to identify
fossils and some species [Figure 1]. But where did
hominids come from? And how do we know about
them? Like modern humans, these hominids used
stone tools, had a human-like tooth structure, and
also walked similarly to us; although, unlike modern
humans, the brain case was smaller.
So as the hominid family diversified from apes, what
happened next?
Australopithecines happened next. Now we don’t
have much of record of how they behaved, but we do
have records of the change of the shape of the head
to a more modern man-like shape. This species was
a small species, with three distinct sub-species; they
existed between three and five million years ago. It
was thought that this species moved from the jungle
into the open land; however, since they were not
suitably adapted to this environment, they retreated
back to jungle.
Australopithecus afarensis and
‘southern ape from afar’
There are not a lot of records about the southern
ape from afar; however, we do know it was slender
built with smaller canines and molars and a
relatively small brain size. This was getting closer
and closer to human kind and existed about four
million years ago.
Australopithecus africanus was also an early hominid,
which was supposedly alive two to three million years
ago and very similar to the ‘southern ape from afar’,
thought to be a direct ancestor of modern humans
of today. It had many similar features such as slightly
larger legs than arms and human-like cranium
features.
Around 1.5-two million years ago, following on from
the development of the hominids, the ‘homo’ species
was evolved. A very obvious change in the size of
the brain was present. The change in the overall
species structure meant that taxonomists gave an
entirely new name to this evolved species. The homo
Figure 1: Main stature of hominid evolutonary stages [available from
htp://www.edupics.com/image-human-evoluton-i10176.html]
From hominids to humans:
An overview of the evolution of man
Origin of Life
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 47
species is a more recent link to the modern day
man. The first signs of intelligence were present in
the ‘homo’ species; for example, they carved small
stones to catch prey or cut branches off trees. This
new-found intelligence gave them the chance to go
back into the open land, much like the ambitions
of their earlier ancestors. This huge advantage was
natural selection in its prime, and a critical stage in
the development of man.
Homo sapiens, meaning wise man, were moving
even closer to modern man. It exhibited a larger
head and heightened intelligence. The tools they
used were sophisticated and the species found new
ways of adapting to its environment. It has also been
found that they used wooden tools such as spears.
They arrived on earth about a quarter of a million
years ago. The Neanderthals were widespread
around Europe and Asia during that time; they were
slowly disappearing as this new intelligent species
were developing, giving opportunity to develop and
adapt.
Homo sapiens from 30,000 years ago to modern
day, have won many battles and environmental
challenges. At this point, human history is being
made.
So in conclusion, the human race has evolved and
adapted to inhabit open land, originating from the
jungle. We have developed longer legs and arms so
we can walk vertically rather than horizontally, and
we have also increased in intelligence along with
head size.
About the Author
Emma Greaves is 16 years old. She is in year 11 at Haybridge High School. She is going to study Chemistry, Biology,
Maths and P.E. at A Level. She would love to be a veterinary surgeon and is working really hard to achieve this ambition.
She is a competitive swimmer and loves the sport!
Please note that not all the institutions may get mapped due to non-availability of the requisite information in the Google Map. For AIM of other
issues, please check the Archives/Back Issues page on the journal’s website.
Author Institution Mapping (AIM)
48 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
Ana Pavl ova
British School of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania.
E-mail: pavlova_ani@hotmail.com
DOI: 10.4103/0974-6102.92196
Who to believe?
Is it possible that intelligent life in outer space exists?
Could it be that Earth has already been visited by
aliens? Are there traces left for us to find? Is it up
to us to make the first step? These thoughts have
captivated mankind for centuries, and still inspire the
quest to reach out, find out, and discover; despite
the fact that scientists are fundamentally split on the
question of whether or not life outside the Earth exists.
Some believe that there are simply so many planets
out there that it would be impossible for us not to find
intelligent life someday. Others believe that due to the
lack of evidence, we cannot accept this prospect until
presented with proof. So which scientists should we
agree with? Those for or those against?
Throughout history, our predecessors have shown
remarkable resistance to accepting ground-breaking
concepts, greeting new ideas with denial, sometimes
even persecution, only to be proven wrong eventually.
There are many examples of this happening: over
2,000 years ago, Aristarchus of Samos wrote about
the Earth being just one of many objects moving
around the Sun, even though the modern idea
of planetary orbits did not exist. His work shows
geometrical calculations based on observations,
showing the Sun to be much bigger than the Earth
and the Moon. Even though these calculations
supported his ideas, they were not accepted as true
until the 17
th
century. And so throughout the dark
ages and beyond, people continued to believe that
the Earth was the centre of the universe – to say
otherwise was heresy. Indeed even Copernicus and
Galileo, who we celebrate today as great visionaries
and seekers of truth, were severely punished for
challenging the Roman Catholic Church’s view that
the Earth was the center of the universe.
[1]
So should we rule out the possibility of extraterrestrial
life just because of insufficient evidence?
Interestingly, some scientists believe that it is our
loneliness in the universe that causes us to imagine
that extraterrestrial life is possible. The universe is
vast and never-ending; there are billions of trillions of
stars, planets, meteors, and comets. To think of this
seemingly infinite space with no intelligent life other
than our own is not a comforting thought to say the
least. In fact, it is positively terrifying when one really
thinks about it. It has been suggested that to calm
these fears, we invent stories to fill up the void beyond
our solar system, in order to imbue a lifeless universe
with intelligent life and thus to make it seem a more
habitable and friendly place to live.
On the other hand, scientists such as Carl Sagan and
Stephen Hawking argue that it is exactly because the
universe is so vast that it would be improbable for life
not to exist somewhere other than Earth. Hundreds
of planets are being discovered every year.
In six weeks alone, the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA), found 700 possible
planets and 5 new solar systems.
[2]
Scientists
Are we alone after all?
Origin of Life
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 49
believe that a small group of these may be capable
of supporting life. Many such planets, nicknamed
‘Goldilocks planets’ (not too cold, not too warm – the
conditions are ‘just right’ to support life) have been
found already; including Gliese 581 c, Gliese 581 d
and OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb, all of which have Earth-
like qualities.
[3]
Recently, on September 29
th
, 2010, a new Goldilocks
planet was discovered by scientists using one of
the most powerful telescopes on Earth - the Keck
telescope in Hawaii. Gliese 581 g lies 20 light-years
away from Earth in its star’s Goldilocks zone – an
area where temperatures are favourable and planets
may be capable of containing water, and therefore
also life [Figure 1].
This planet might be the most similar Goldilocks
planet to Earth yet discovered. “The fact that we
were able to detect this planet so quickly and so
nearby tells us that planets like this must be really
common,” commented Steven Vogt, an astronomer
at the University of California Santa Cruz.
[3]
The planet’s average temperature is thought to be
between −31°C and −12°C, and we know for a
fact that there are many intelligent animals living in
these types of conditions on Earth, such as polar
bears, whales, and even humans (for instance
the Inuit people). Dr. Vogt goes on to state that,
“The number of systems with potentially habitable
planets is probably in the order of 10% or 20%,
and when you multiply that by the hundreds of
billions of stars in the Milky Way, that’s a large
number. There could be tens of billions of these
systems in our galaxy”.
[3]
Tens of billions of planets
is a huge number. Surely we cannot be so naïve
to think that we are the only intelligent life in such
a vast universe?
This problem has been drawing attention since the
conception of the Drake equation
1
in 1960. Yet, some
scientists argue that if the chance of finding life were so
huge, we should have found it by now. Frank Tipler, for
example, has proved that, if using pessimistic numbers,
the chances of finding a civilization in the galaxy is lower
than one. Even Frank Drake (the inventor of the Drake
equation) has stated that the Drake equation is just a
way of “organizing our ignorance” on the subject.
[4]
On
the other hand, Dr. Carl Sagan used optimistic numbers
to conclude that there might be millions of civilizations
in the Milky Way alone.
[5]
Arsenic Based Life
One reason for which we have not yet found any
traces of intelligent life might be because we have
no idea what to look for. The key to actually finding
intelligent life is to fully understand what the term
means. But how do we define intelligent? Some
think that any form of life that can survive should
be classified as intelligent, whereas others state
that even Homo sapiens cannot be placed in this
category.
[6]
Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
(SETI) believes that intelligent life must be able to
transmit and receive signals,
[7]
whereas a more
general definition is perhaps that intelligent life must
be able to learn.
Furthermore, just because we Earthlings need certain
elements and compounds to survive (for example
oxygen and water) it does not necessarily mean that
any other intelligent life form would as well. Recently,
as a matter of fact, a microorganism has been found
2

which uses arsenic instead of phosphorus in its cell
components. Phosphorus is essential to both DNA
and RNA, which carry genetic information for life, and
was until recently considered absolutely essential
for all living cells. Arsenic on the other hand, despite
1
The Drake equation is used to estimate the number of extra-terrestrial
civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy with which communication might
be possible.
2
A microorganism called Strain GFAJ-1 was found on 2
nd
December,
2010, by NASA researchers in Mono Lake in California [Figure 2].
Strain GFAJ-1 belongs to the class Gammaproteobacteria. The
researchers began by giving the microbe both phosphorus and
arsenic and eventually removed the phosphorus. The microorganism
continued to grow, living only on arsenic. The location was chosen
because of its high alkalinity and levels of arsenic, which are partly a
result of Mono Lake’s 50-year isolation from a source of fresh water.
Figure 1: ESO. (unknown) “The star Gliese 581”. ESO. htp://www.eso.
org/public/images/eso0722c/ on 29-12-10. Used with permission under
the Creatve Commons Atributon 3.0 Unported license. htp://www.
eso.org/public/outreach/copyright.html
50 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
being chemically similar to phosphorus, is poisonous
to most life on Earth.
[8]
According to NASA, this finding will dramatically
expand the search for intelligent life, as it affirms
the possibility of life which does not need the same
conditions as most other organisms in order to
survive.
“The idea of alternative biochemistries for life is
common in science fiction,” said Carl Pilcher, director
of the NASA Astrobiology Institute in California. “Until
now, a life form using arsenic as a building block was
only theoretical, but now we know such life exists in
Mono Lake.”
[8]
This discovery also leads us to the revelation that we
might not as easily recognize intelligent life forms
in outer space – they could be completely different
from our expectations. As Felisa Wolfe-Simone, a
NASA Astrobiology Research Fellow in California
and the research team’s lead scientist, stated: “We
know that some microbes can breathe arsenic, but
what we’ve found is a microbe doing something
new – building parts of itself out of arsenic. If
something here on Earth can do something so
unexpected, what else can life do that we haven’t
seen yet?”
[8]
This shows us that so far, we might have been
looking for the wrong thing. “The definition of
life has just expanded,” said Ed Weiler, NASA’s
associate administrator for the Science Mission
Di rectorate at the agency’s Headquarters i n
Washington. “As we pursue our efforts to seek
signs of life in the Solar system, we have to think
more broadly, more diversely and consider life as
we do not know it.”
[8]
Public Reaction
This change of mindset presents a new question: If
we were to discover intelligent life, what would the
result be for us? A reaction similar to the War of the
Worlds radio panic
3
in 1938 could be the outcome
of such news. Awe is another option. Is terror or
amazement the more likely response from our side?
There is also a lot of speculation as to what the
intelligent life forms if found would do. Would they
be friendly and wish to establish contact with us?
Or is it more likely for them to be hostile and angry
for having been discovered? It is impossible to tell
at this point. However, to avoid a worldwide panic,
agencies and organizations are trying to prepare
us, the people of Earth, for the possibility of finding
intelligent life.
The Search
Reassured that public relations on the E.T. topic
are well taken care of; scientists are free to pursue
the quest to find extraterrestrial intelligent life. New
projects are constantly cropping up to try and discover
any trace of other-worldly intelligence. Organisations
such as SETI, for example, are searching the skies
for radio wave activity – if found such evidence would
settle the matter and thus prove that intelligent life
exists. An associated idea is that intelligent life might
send laser signals into outer space.
This is one of the best ways to discover other
possible intelligent life forms in the galaxy – by
looking for evidence of technology developed by
that life. Scientists conducting the High Resolution
Microwave Survey in 1992 scanned the whole sky
for strong microwave signals; their logic being that
at some point intelligent beings on other worlds
might eventually develop radio technology capable
of sending these signals. In 1993, however, the
United States Congress advised NASA to end the
project.
[9]
Nevertheless, in 1998, NASA astronomers began
to search for pulses of laser light. They thought that
possible intelligent creatures in outer space might
have developed powerful lasers. They then may have
transmitted short laser light pulses into the universe
for observers, such as us, to detect.
[10]
Figure 2: Blum, J. (unknown) “GFAJ-1 grown on arsenic”. Available from:
htp://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/astrobiology_toxic_
chemical.html on 20-12-10
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 51
The only drawback with such space communication
is that light signals must travel for thousands of light
years in order to reach their destination, and it would
take just as long for any reply or laser pulse to reach
us. So, if we were to receive any kind of signal from
outer space, it would be from the distant past, and
there would be no guarantee that the life forms would
be still alive.
Have we reached a setback in our quest to find
intelligent life in outer space? Yes. Does this mean
we are going to stop searching? Definitely not. As
Mark Twain put it, ‘There can’t be rainbows without
rain,’ meaning that until you reach the end result,
there are inevitably going to be obstacles along
the way.
References
1. Finnochiaro M. “Sentence (22 June 1633)”. Available from:
http://web.archi ve.org/web/20070930013053/http://
astro.wcupa.edu/mgagne/ess362/resources/finocchiaro.
html#sentence on 12-01-11 [Last cited on 1989].
2. QMI Agency. “700 new planets discovered by NASA”.
Avai l abl e f r om: ht t p: / / www. t or ont osun. com/ news/
world/2010/07/25/14822461.html on 11-01-11 [Last cited
on 2010].
3. Moskvitch K. “Goldilocks planet just right for life”. Available from:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11444022
on 17-12-10 [Last cited on 2010].
4. Gowdy R. “SETI: Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence”.
Available from: http://www.courses.vcu.edu/PHY-rhg/astron/
html/mod/019/s5.html on 11-01-11 [Last cited on 2008].
5. Sagan C. “Carl Sagan – Cosmos – Drake Equation”. Available
from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlikCebQSlY on 26-
01-11 [Last cited on 1980].
6. Watson D. (1997) – Kindly provide complete information
7. Morrison D. “What is the definition of Intelligent Life? Is it the
ability to analyze situations and react in the correct way, or
is the complexity the primary issue”. Available from: http://
astrobiology.nasa.gov/ask-an-astrobiologist/question/?id=918
on 19-12-10 [Last cited on 2004].
8. Brown D, Weselby C. “NASA-Funded Research Discovers Life
Built With Toxic Chemical”. Available from: http://www.nasa.
gov/topics/universe/features/astrobiology_toxic_chemical.html
on 20-12-10 [Last cited on 2010].
9. New York Times reprint. Available from: http://www.war-of-the-
worlds.org/Radio/Newspapers/Oct31/NYT.html on 12-01-11.
10. Klein MJ. “Extraterrestrial intelligence.” World Book Online
Reference Center. World Book, Inc. Available from: http://www.
worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar189230. on 17-12-10
[Last cited on 2005].
About the Author
Ana Pavlova was born in 1997 and lives in Romania. Her favourite subjects are Science, French and History. In her
free time she enjoys playing tennis, reading, learning new things and spending time with her family; she particularly
enjoys a heated debate! She hopes to study law or politics at University; however, she is still unsure as to what career
path she would like to follow.
Information for Students
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(aged 12-20). More than that, the journal is run entirely by teenagers. It is the only peer review science
journal for this age group, the perfect journal for aspiring scientists like you to publish research.
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52 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
Stellar Nebula
A nebula consists of dust and gas, and there are
places where gravity causes these to clump together.
This means their gravitational attraction to other atoms
increases, pulling more atoms into the clump. The
process where atoms fall into the clump and become
part of the protostar is called accretion. To become
a star, the protostar will need to achieve hydrostatic
equilibrium by balancing the gravity, pulling atoms in, and
the radiation pressure pushing heat and light out. When
equilibrium is achieved, if a specific mass is not reached
(around 0.08 times the mass of the Sun), the protostar
will become a brown dwarf, but if this critical mass is
reached, then nuclear fusion is able to begin, and the
star is born, entering the main sequence [Figure 1].
Main Sequence
The majority of a star’s lifetime is spent during the main
sequence, although the duration of this stage varies
dramatically, depending on the mass of the star; our
Sun is in the main sequence at the moment. This stage
is spent fusing hydrogen into helium in the core of the
star. When the hydrogen supply begins to run out in
the core, the core becomes unstable and contracts.
The outer shell, which is still mostly hydrogen, starts
to expand, cooling and glowing red [Figure 2].
High Mass Stars
The most massive stars can have masses 100 times
that of the Sun and emit millions of times more light,
but they only live for a few million years.
Low Mass Starsand Brown Dwarfs
Stars which have just too little mass to become
full stars are known as brown dwarfs. Although the
boundary between what is a high-mass planet and
what is a brown dwarf is fuzzy, if an object has more
than 13 times Jupiter’s mass, it is called a brown
dwarf, and if it has less mass, it is called a giant
planet. Although some fusion can take place in a
brown dwarf of fewer than 80 Jupiter masses, it is only
fusion of deuterium and lithium-not enough to supply
the brown dwarf with enough energy to counterract
Cl eodi e Sw i r e
The King’s School, Canterbury, E-mail: 07CCS@kings-school.co.uk
DOI: 10.4103/0974-6102.92198
Figure 1: Stellar Nursery in the Rosete Nebula [available from htp://
www.nasa.gov/multmedia/imagegallery/image_feature_1653.html]
The life-cycle of stars
Origin of Life
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 53
gravity’s inward pressure. It is only at around 80
Jupiter masses that the brown dwarf has enough
mass to fuse hydrogen, and be a fully-fledged star.
Bizzarely, a 2006 article suggests that it may rain
liquid iron on a brown dwarf

[Figure 3].
[1]
Red Supergiants
Stars with more than 10 solar masses become red
supergiants, after burning all their hydrogen,during
the stage when they fuse helium into carbon. These
supergiants have relatively cool surface temperatures
(3500-4500 K) and radii between 200 and 800 times the
Sun’s radius. As the helium turns into carbon, the core
temperature increases, gravity continues to pull carbon
atoms together and fusion creates all the elements
up to iron. When the core contains mainly iron, fusion
stops, as no energy is released by fusing iron nuclei
together; indeed, energy must be put in to fuse iron.
[2]
Supernovae
Since energy is no longer being radiated from the
core, the star collapses, causing the temperature to
rise as the atoms are crushed together. The repulsive
force between the nuclei overcomes gravity and the
core recoils out in what we see as a supernova. As the
shock wave hits material in the star’s outer layers the
material is heated, fusing to form further elements. All
heavy elements, including uranium and plutonium, are
formed in supernovae. The material blasted into space
by this explosion is known as the supernova remnant.
This is the most common type of supernova (called a
core-collapse supernova), but there are other, more
exotic supernovae that may happen when extremely
large stars collapse [Figure 4].
Black Hole
If the remnant of a red supergiant core is more than
three times the size of the Sun after a supernova, gravity
overcomes the nuclear forces holding the protons and
neutrons in the atoms apart. The core is then swallowed
by its own gravity, eventually becoming a black hole. The
black hole theoretically contains a ‘singularity’, a point of
infinite density with a region of space around it, called an
‘event horizon’, beyond which it is impossible to escape
from the black hole’s gravitational pull [Figure 5].
Neutron Star/Pulsar
When a supernova explodes, if the remaining core is
Figure 3: V838 Monocerots (red supergiant) [available from htp://
www.nasa.gov/multmedia/imagegallery/image_feature_784.html]
Figure 4: Supernova 1994D in the outskirts of the galaxy NGC 4526
[available from htp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SN1994D.jpg]
Figure 2: The Sun [available from htp://www.nasa.gov/multmedia/
imagegallery/image_feature_21.html]
54 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
relatively small, the protons and neutrons combine
to form neutrons. Neutron stars are very dense
(10
17
times denser than water), having diameters of
just 20 kilometers, yet masses three times that of the
Sun [Figure 6].
[3]
Some neutron stars emit radio waves. These neutron
stars are called pulsars. The waves seem to flash on
and off, but this is only the case due to the beam of
radio waves rotating around the poles of the stars,
while the Earth remains relatively fixed relative to the
rotating beams

[Figure 7].
[4]
Red Giant
These are formed when low mass stars run out of
hydrogen; they are very bright due to their large
diameters, but they have lower surface temperatures
than the Sun (2300-3300 K). Like the red supergiants,
they fuse helium into carbon in this phase. When all
the helium in the core is used the core collapses
again [Figure 8].
[5]
Planetary Nebula
These are the outer layers of a star that are lost when
a star of around the Sun’s mass changes from a red
giant to a white dwarf. The hot core of the star drives the
outer half away in a stellar wind that lasts a thousand
years. The remaining core is left, which heats the gases
it has pushed away, causing them to glow

[Figure 9].
[6]
Blue/White Dwarf
This is a very small, hot star with a similar mass to
the Sun, but the same diameter as the Earth, that is
Figure 5: Simulated view of a black hole in front of the Large Magellanic
cloud [available from htp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BH_LMC.png]
Figure 6: The white dot in the centre of the image is the neutron
star [available from htp://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/
multmedia/photos07-080.html]
Figure 7: Stll from an animaton of a pulsar [available from htp://
www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST/multmedia/pulsar_stlls.html]
Figure 8: The red giant Arcturus in comparison with The Sun [available
from htp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Arcturus-star.jpg]
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 55
formed from the core of a red giant when it collapses.
They are not very bright despite having temperatures
of more than 8000°C. They cool and fade over billions
of years [Figure 10].
[3]
Black Dwarf
Black dwarfs are hypothetically what would remain
once a white dwarf has cooled to around temperatures
where they are not hot enough to emit light. However,
none are expected to exist simply because the universe
has not existed long enough to allow any white dwarfs
to cool down enough to become black dwarfs.
References
1. Jeanna B. Wild Weather: Iron Rain on Failed Stars. Space.Com,
July 3, 2006. Available from: http://www.space.com/2576-
wild-weather-iron-rain-failed-stars.html. [Last accessed on 2011
Dec 30].
2. Available from: http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_
supergiant. [Last accessed on 2011 Dec 30].
3. Available from: http://www.telescope.org/pparc/res8.html.
[Last accessed on 2011 Dec 30].
4. Available from: http://www.eclipse.net/~cmmiller/BH/blkns.
html. [Last accessed on 2011 Dec 30]
5. Available from: http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/R/
redgiant.html. [Last accessed on 2011 Dec 30]
6. Available from: http://www.noao.edu/jacoby/. [Last accessed
on 2011 Dec 30].
Figure 9: Helix nebula [available from http://www.nasa.gov/
multmedia/imagegallery/image_feature_77.html]
Figure 10: Sirius A (white dwarf) [available from htp://www.nasa.gov/
multmedia/imagegallery/image_feature_468.html]
About the Author
Cleodie Swire is doing Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Further Maths and Spanish at AS Level, and has already taken
French. She is currently at The King's School, Canterbury, and hopes to do Medicine at University. She enjoys doing
sport - especially hockey - and travelling.
56 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
Figure 1: Crab Nebula [Available from htp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:
Crab_Nebula.jpg]
Ben Maybee
Haybridge High School and Sixth Form, Worcestershire, UK.
E-mail: maybeebw08@haybridge.worcs.sch.uk
DOI: 10.4103/0974-6102.92199
This [Figure 1] is the Crab Nebula, the remnant of a
supernova explosion that was observed in 1074 by
Chinese astronomers. It is 6500 light years away from
Earth. While being far away from the Earth, supernovae
explosions are an essential part of the formation of
life. This is because they have played a part in the
formation and distribution of virtually every element that
exists in the universe. Only hydrogen, some helium,
and some lithium, formed 13.7 billion years ago in the
Big Bang, were created independently of supernovae.
So what are supernovae and how do they form large
elements? The full answer is very complicated, but the
simple one is through nuclear fusion.
Nuclear Fusion
The sun is the closest star to Earth. All stars are driven
through the process of nuclear fusion, a process by
which atoms fuse together to produce new elements.
An atom is mostly empty space; in the centre is the
nucleus, which occupies a tiny proportion of the
atom’s space yet constitutes 99.9% of its mass.
Electrons occupy specific energy levels around the
nucleus and determine the chemical properties of
an element. However nuclear fusion, as its name
suggests, is a nuclear, not chemical, reaction. The
nucleus is composed of two different subatomic
particles, the proton and the neutron. The number of
protons in the nucleus of an atom is what defines what
element the atom is. In nuclear fusion, the protons
and neutrons of two different nuclei combine to form
a single nucleus.
[1]
Fusion, however, is not quite so simple, for while
neutrons are electrically neutral, protons have
a relative charge of +1. Electrostatic repulsion
between protons is a barrier called the coulomb
barrier, which protons must overcome in order to
fuse. This is achieved by the strong nuclear force.
The strong nuclear force is 1032 times stronger than
gravity, while electromagnetism is only 1018 times
stronger. However, we rarely feel the strength of the
strong force, because it only acts over a distance of
1-1.5 × 10
−15
m. If two particles come close enough
together, the strong force will influence the particles
and the electromagnetic Coulomb barrier is broken.
But for this to take place, the particles require very
high energies, in order to achieve the requisite
velocity to come so close together.
[2]
The role of supernovae in
the origins of life
Origin of Life
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 57
Fusion in Stars
In stars, there are two main different ‘cycles’ of
nuclear fusion. These are called the proton-proton
chain reaction (PP) and the Carbon-Nitrogen-Oxygen
Cycle (CNO Cycle).
[3]
The PP chain is the reaction
by which stars up to 1.3 times the mass of the sun
fuse; its net results are the fusion of four protons to
one alpha particle (a helium nucleus). Supernovae
explosions can only result from stars that use the
CNO Cycle
[4]
of fusion. The CNO cycle can only
take place at temperatures of at least 13 × 10
6
K,
hence its prominence in larger stars. In the CNO
Cycle, four protons fuse, using carbon, nitrogen,
and oxygen isotopes as a catalyst (the nuclei give
fusion a platform on which to fuse and so lower the
Coulomb barrier), to form an alpha particle, two
positrons, and two electron neutrinos. The formation
of another element by nuclear fusion is called nuclear
synthesis.
[5]
Positrons are a form of antimatter
(they are electrons with a positive charge), and so
further energy is produced in the form of gamma
rays when the positrons annihilate with electrons in
the vicinity. The isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, and
oxygen are essentially one single nucleus that is
constantly recycled through the process. The nuclei
either originate from the cosmic dust that the star
formed from or a very small amount of fusing helium
in a star’s core. The cycle is shown in Figure 2; the
equations for the stages are:
612C+11H → 713N+γ+1.95 MeV
713N→613C+e++υe+2.22 MeV
613C+11H →714N+γ+7.54 MeV
714N+815O →713N+γ+7.35 MeV
715N+11H →612N+24He+4.96 MeV
815O→715N+e++υe+2.75 MeV
The energy produced by the cycle’s fusion heats the
star allowing fusion to carry on occurring until the
star uses all of its hydrogen fuel. When a star has
this equilibrium, it is said to be a ‘main sequence
star’. All stars eventually reach the stage at which
their hydrogen fuel runs out and their main sequence
ends. Practically all stars have a brief stage at the
end of their lives during which the helium that has
been produced by hydrogen fusion begins to fuse,
because the force of gravity (which is now larger
than the radiation pressure) induces such immense
pressures on the helium nuclei that three can fuse,
by a process called triple alpha burning, into a
carbon nucleus, or sometimes an oxygen nucleus.
The increased fusion in the star’s core causes an
Figure 2: CNO Cycle [available from htp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:
CNO_Cycle.svg]
Figure 3: S-process [available from htp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:
S-process-elem-Ag-to-Sb.svg]
expansion into an Asymptotic Giant Branch star,
virtually always a red giant.
Red giants play a role in producing new elements.
During their lives a slow neutron capture system called
the S-process [Figure 3] increases the mass of the
helium and carbon nuclei in the star until about half
of the elements heavier than iron are produced; the
other half are formed in the supernova itself by the
R-process
[6]
(see end of section on supernovae). The
nuclei of atoms can capture neutrons, increasing their
mass whilst doing so. Neutrons in neutron-heavy nuclei
undergo beta-minus decay, in which, through the weak
force, a neutron decays into a proton, electron and
an anti-neutrino. The S-process is the combination of
these processes over thousands of years to form new
elements. Normally the heavy elements are only formed
in stars large enough to go supernova; they are only
released into space during the actual explosion.
Supernovae
There are two types of supernova; type I and type II.
[7]

58 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
Ninety seven percent of all stars in the universe will
collapse to form white dwarf stars at the end of their
lives; most of the other 3% form type II supernova
explosions.
[8]
As has been shown, a star’s helium will
typically fuse to form carbon at the end of its life, and
then collapse into a white dwarf. Whereas, if a star
has a mass more than nine times than that of our sun,
then when the star collapses after the helium fusion,
the force of gravity is so immense that the pressures
produced are high enough for the carbon produced
by helium fusion to also fuse. Because of the reignited
fusion, the radiation pressure is once again high
enough to make the star expand, and so the cycle
of expansion-contraction is repeated [Figure 4]. The
main products of the carbon fusion are neon, sodium,
and magnesium. When the gravitational contraction
occurs the neon nuclei begin to fuse, so that the
cycle is repeated until a nickel ion is formed.
[9]
The
cycle goes through this order [Figure 5], in which
the element with an arrow coming from it is fusing.
The specific nickel nucleus produced is that of a
nickel-56 ion. The most important thing that now
occurs in relation to the supernova explosion is that
the nickel nucleus undergoes several beta decays
to produce an iron-56 nucleus. Iron has the highest
binding per nucleon of any element. The binding
energy of an element is the energy required to
break the nucleus’s components apart. Because
of this, any fusion afterward is endothermic, not
exothermic (i.e. takes in energy instead of giving it
out). Therefore, an iron and nickel core accumulates
in the centre of the star, with the other fusion products
surrounding it in layers, so that the shown structure
evolves. All of the elements lighter than nickel that
exist in the universe, other than hydrogen, some
helium and some lithium, were produced by this
initial process.
So how do the elements heavier than iron and
nickel get formed? As further fusion is impossible,
the answer is in the actual supernova explosion
itself. The core at the center of the star is under
immense pressure from gravity, and because no
Figure 4: Core collapse [available from htp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
File: Core_collapse_scenario.png, edited by Ben Maybee]
Figure 6: Galaxy NGC 4526 [available from htp://hubblesite.org/
gallery/album/pr1999019i/]
Figure 7: Star layers [available from htp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:
Evolved_star_fusion_shells.svg]
Figure 5: Order through elements - Ben Maybee
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 59
fusion is occurring, the star is only supported by
the degeneracy pressure of electrons in the core’s
atoms. By quantum mechanics, electrons occupy
energy levels, or shells, around their central nucleus,
and there are a finite number of spaces in each shell.
Pauli’s Exclusion Principle prevents two electrons
from occupying the same space in a shell. It is this
quantum exclusion that is the degeneracy pressure.
However, if the iron core accumulates to more than
1.44 solar masses, a point called the Chandrasekhar
Limit, the degeneracy pressure is no longer enough
to repel gravity and the core collapses. The electrons
and protons of atoms, if given enough energy, can
combine to form neutrons, in the process releasing
neutrinos as well. This is what the collapse causes,
and the energy involved is so high that the outer
layers of the core travel at 70000 kms
−1
, almost a
quarter of the speed of light. Because neutrinos
rarely interact with matter they escape from the
collapse, and in doing so, remove energy and further
accelerate the collapse.
Eventual l y, contracti on i s hal ted by neutron
interactions, mediated by the strong force. Because
of the incredibly large gravitational energy that was
held by the collapsing material, the collapsing matter
rebounds, producing a huge shock wave that travels
through the star. The newly produced neutron core
has a temperature of about one hundred billion Kelvin
at this point. Much of the excess thermal energy
is lost by the release of more neutrinos, resulting
in a ten second neutrino burst. These neutrinos
carry a massive 10
46
Joules of energy, but 10
44
J is
reabsorbed by the stalled shock wave, producing a
massive explosion. This reinvigoration of the shock
by interaction with the neutrino burst blasts away
the layers that surrounded the core, leaving behind
a neutron star, or if the star was more than 20 times
larger than the sun, a black hole. The supernovae
release so much energy and radiation that they can
appear brighter than whole galaxies. Figure 6, taken
from the Hubble Space Telescope demonstrates
this; the bright dot in the left corner is one single
supernova, 1994D in Galaxy NGC 4526.
During the explosion, about half of all of the other
elements heavier than nickel are formed, by a
process called the R-process. The R-process is
caused by the massive amount of neutrons that exist
in a supernova after the core collapses. Because
of this, in the explosion, there is an incredibly high
‘neutron flux’, or the amount of neutrons that pass
through an area per second increases; in this case,
it is about 1 × 10
22
per cm
2
per second. This high
neutron flux is combined with a very high temperature.
The R-process is dependent on exactly the same
processes as the S-process, neutron capture and
beta decay. However, due to the high temperature
and neutron flux in a supernova, the R-process is
much, much quicker and the rate of neutron capture
is higher than the rate of beta decay. Because of
this, nuclei produced before the explosion rapidly
capture neutrons until they reach something called
the neutron drip line. At this point, the nuclei are so
neutron-heavy they must undergo beta decay before
more neutrons can be captured. Both the atomic
number and atomic mass of the nuclei increase
very rapidly, as protons are being formed by alpha
decay and the neutrons are then captured. This
process forms very high-mass radioactive elements;
the maximum possible mass is thought to be about
270 nucleons. Most of the high-mass elements then
decay into heavy, but stable, neutron-rich nuclei. This
process all happens very rapidly during the explosion,
which blasts the nuclei into interstellar space along
with those formed by the S-process in the original
red dwarf.
Why are Supernovae Important for Life?
It is at this point that we should now consider the initial
title: Why are supernovae important to life? The simple
answer is that other than hydrogen, some helium, and
some lithium (which were formed in the Big Bang);
every element in the universe was produced by a
star at the end of its life and expelled into space by a
supernova explosion. Supernovae are thought to be
solely responsible for the formation of half of all the
elements heavier than iron, and also the formation
of virtually every element in the mass range between
helium and iron. Through all of this nucleosynthesis,
supernovae are what produce the elements that
not only are fundamental for all known life forms,
such as carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen, but also the
elements that form the planets on which life evolves
and develops. Supernovae are responsible for the
dispersion of heavy elements, produced by both the
R and S-processes, all around the universe. Without
the formation of an iron and nickel core [Figure 7] at
the very end of a massive star’s life, the core of our
own planet could not possibly have formed. Without
this core, our planet [Figure 8] would never have been
able to form from the dust cloud that existed in the
early years of our solar system. In fact, without the
nucleosynthesis inside supernovae, explosions and
the conditions that existed just before, as well as the
dispersion of the heavy elements produced by red
60 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
giants, none of the planets, asteroids, comets, and
heavy mass objects that we observe in the universe
would exist. The universe would be completely
lifeless, containing just stars and giant clouds of
gas. Then, in short, as the old saying goes: “We are
all made of stardust”.
References
1. Nuclear Fusion. Available from: http://www.atomicarchive.com/
Fusion/Fusion1.shtml [Last cited on 2011 25 Jan].
2. Jim al-Kahili, Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed (Phoenix,
2004).
3. CNO Hydrogen Fusion Simulator. Available from: http://www.
astrophysicsspectator.com/topics/stars/FusionHydrogenCNOSim.
html [Last cited on 2011 25 Jan].
4. The CNO Cycle. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
CNO_cycle [Last cited on 2011 25 Jan].
5. Nuclear Synthesis. Available from: http://www.hyperphysics.
phyastr.gsu.edu/hbase/astro/nucsyn.html#c1 [Last cited on
2011 25 Jan].
6. R-process. Available from: http://www.encyclopedia.com/
topic/r-process.aspx [Last cited on 2011 25 Jan].
7. Type II Supernova. Available from: http://www.en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/Type_II_supernova [Last cited on 2011 25 Jan].
8. What are Supernovae? Available from: http://www.spider.ipac.
caltech.edu/staff/vandyk/supernova.html [Last cited on 2011].
9. Supernovae: An Overview. Available from: http://www.
astrophysicsspectator.com/topics/supernovae/ [Last cited on
2011 25 Jan].
Figure 8: The Earth [available from htp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
File:The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17.jpg]
About the Author
Ben Maybee is a 15 year old student at Haybridge High School and Sixth Form, Worcestershire, UK. He finds physics
beyond the standard curriculum really fascinating because of the challenging ideas and way of understanding the
universe that it presents us, and he thus has a particular interest in quantum and particle physics. Nuclear fusion and
how it operates in stars is another area that intrigues Ben, because it incorporates many different fields of physics and
it is the fundamental process by which most of the universe was built.
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Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 61
Cl eodi e Sw i r e
The King's School, Canterbury, E-mail: 07ccs@kings-school.co.uk
DOI: 10.4103/0974-6102.92200
Definitions
Prokaryote – Organism with cells without a true
nucleus or other membrane-bound organelles
Eukaryote – Organism whose cell(s) contain(s) a
distinct, membrane-bound nucleus
Autotroph – An organism that can make its own food
Heterotroph – An organism that must obtain ready-
made food
Endocytosis – A process in which a cell takes in
materials by engulfing them and fusing them with its
membrane, as shown in Figure 1
Aerobic – Organism that requires oxygen for survival
Anaerobic – Organism that can function without oxygen
Symbiosis – Two different organisms benefit from
living and working together
Endosymbiosis – One organism lives inside another
Mitochondrion – Organelle where aerobic respiration
occurs within the cell
Carbohydrate + Oxygen → Carbon dioxide + Water
+ Energy
Chloroplast – Organelle where photosynthesis occurs
in plant cells
Carbon dioxide + Water (with sunlight and chlorophyll)
→ Carbohydrate + Oxygen
Figure 2 shows that mitochondria and chloroplasts are
very similar to prokaryotic cells; these observations
lead to The Endosymbiotic Theory.
Theory
Researchers comparing the structures of prokaryotes
and cell organelles, as shown in Figure 2, came to
the conclusion that organelles such as mitochondria
and chloroplasts had originally been bacteria that
were taken into larger bacteria by endocytosis and not
digested. The cells would have had a mutually beneficial
(symbiotic) relationship. The ingested cells developed
Figure 1: A diagram showing endocytosis

[available from http://
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File: Average_prokaryote_cell-_en.svg]
The Endosymbiotic Theory
Origin of Life
62 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
into organelles, such as mitochondria and chloroplasts,
which now cannot live outside the host cell.
Mitochondria
Aerobic bacteria were taken in by anaerobic bacteria.
The enveloped bacteria would have used the oxygen
from the air (which was useless to its host) to provide
far more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (useful
energy) than the host could produce on its own,
while the host cell would provide materials to respire,
protection, and a steady environment.
Chloroplasts
Autotrophic photosynthetic bacteria cells were taken in
by the heterotrophic prokaryote cells. The ingested cell
would continue to provide glucose and oxygen (which
could be used by the mitochondria as endocytosis
of the photosynthetic prokaryote occurred after the
endocytosis of aerobic cells) by photosynthesis. The
host cell would provide carbon dioxide and nitrogen
for the engulfed cell, as well as protecting it.
Over time, both cells lost their ability to survive without
each other.
Proof
Similarities to bacteria
Figure 2 shows that mitochondria and chloroplasts
have many similarities to prokaryotic bacteria. They are
of a similar size and have 70S ribosomes, as opposed
to the 80S ribosomes found in eukaryotic cells.
These cells all divide by binary fission, as shown in
Figure 3.
DNA
The organelles have their own DNA, separate to the
DNA found in the nucleus of the cell, which they use
to produce enzymes and proteins to aid their function.
This was predicted by the researchers, and was later
proved to be true for mitochondria and chloroplasts.
All of these likenesses suggest that mitochondria and
chloroplasts developed from prokaryotes.
Double outer membranes
Mitochondrion and chloroplasts have double outer
membranes – the inner layer came from the engulfed
cell and the outer membrane from the host cell during
endocytosis.
Replication
Mitochondrion and chloroplasts can only arise from
pre-existing organelles – the DNA that codes for
them is not found in the nucleus of the cell, but in
naked loops of DNA within the organelles themselves.
This suggests that these organelles were originally
separate cells that needed to replicate themselves.
Fossil record [Figure 4]
Fossil evidence shows that bacteria were present
3.8 billion years ago, when there was no oxygen in
the atmosphere and all organisms were anaerobic.
Cell type Eukaryote Prokaryote Mitochondria Chloroplasts
DNA Organized into
chromosomes
Single
loop
Single loop Single loop
Ribosomes 80S 70S 70S 70S
Size/microns 50-500 1-10 1-10 1-10
Cell nucleus? Yes No No No
Membrane-bound organelles? Yes No No No
Replicaton Mitosis Binary fssion Binary fssion Binary fssion
Number of cells One or more Usually one
Example/image Animal cell
[available from htp://
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:
Pinocytosis.svg]
Bacteria
[available from htp://
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:
Animal_cell_structure_
en.svg]
[available from htp://
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:
Animal_mitochondrion_
diagram_en_(edit).svg]
[available from htp://
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:
Animal_cell_structure_
en.svg]
Figure 2: A table comparing various characteristcs of diferent cells and cell types
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 63
Photosynthetic bacteria appeared about 3.2 billion
years ago, producing oxygen. As the oxygen levels
increased, the anaerobic organisms began to die out
as oxygen is toxic to most cells (even ours!).
Organisms that could respire aerobically developed
about 2.5 billion years ago.
This evidence suggests that the ‘ancestors’ to the
mitochondria and chloroplasts developed outside the
cell, and later merged with other larger prokaryotes,
leading to the development of eukaryotes.
Uses
The di scoveri es regardi ng the ori gi ns of the
mitochondria and chloroplasts have led to several
scientific applications.
History of Evolution
The DNA found in mitochondria (mtDNA) is passed
directly from mother to child, and changes much more
slowly than other types of DNA, providing information
about evolutionary history. This can be used to
determine how closely related two species are to one
another and migration patterns as shown in Figure 5.
Astrobiology
Organisms called archaebacteria, which live in the
most extreme habitats on Earth, have been studied
as they are the organism believed to be most like the
bacteria that inhabited the Earth billions of years ago.
They now inhabit salt ponds and boiling hot springs.
As they live in places previously assumed to be
unsuitable for life, they are being studied as they
may provide clues about extra-terrestrial life. There
has been some research done suggesting that
the archaebacteria could survive space travel by
meteorite, so there is potential for life on other planets.
Researcher
The Endosymbiotic Theory of eukaryote evolution was
first suggested by Dr. Lynn Margulis [Figure 6] in the
1960s, and officially in her book, ‘Symbiosis in Cell
Evolution' in 1981. Her ideas were initially ridiculed
by her fellow biologists, but through research and
persistence her theory was eventually accepted and
is now regarded as the most credible explanation of
eukaryote evolution.
She is best known for her theory of symbiogenesis,
Figure 3: A diagram showing binary fssion of a prokaryotc cell

[available
from htp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File: Binary_fssion.svg]
Figure 5: A graph showing human migration patterns, created by
studying mtDNA. The leters denote the diferent groups of mtDNA

[available from htp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File: Migraton_map4.png]
Figure 6: Dr. Lynn Margulis [available from htp://en.wikipedia.org/
wiki/File: Lynn_Margulis.jpg]
Event Years ago
Origin of the Earth 4.5 billion
Prokaryote bacteria dominate 3.5 billion
Oxygen starts to accumulate in the atmosphere 2.5 billion
Eukaryotes appear 1.5 billion
Cambrian explosion of multcellular eukaryote organisms 0.5 billion
Figure 4: Timeline of events afectng The Endosymbiotc Theory
64 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
which expanded on the aspect of The Endosymbiotic
Theory in which the relationship between the
prokaryotic cells becomes so strong that the two
grew to be dependent on one another. Margulis
suggested that this process may have also occurred
at other times during evolution. This theory challenges
Darwin’s idea that mutations occur by genes being
passed down from parents to offspring, rather than
the genetic material of unrelated organisms being
brought together.
About the Author
Cleodie Swire is doing Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Further Maths and Spanish at AS Level, and has already taken
French. She is currently at The King's School Canterbury, and hopes to do Medicine at University. She enjoys doing
sport - especially hockey - and travelling.
Dr. Lynn Margulis at work (Photo: Lynn Margulis at work in a greenhouse, circa
1990. (Nancy R. Schif/Gety Images))
Lynn Margulis (born on the 5
th
March1938,
died on the 22
nd
November 2011), who was
mentioned in the article, sadly died at home
after a stroke, aged 73. Many tributes can be for
her glorious scientific life can be seen in various
obituaries (see the Daily Telegraph Newspaper
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/
science-obituaries/8954456/Lynn-Margulis.
html, the New York Times News Paper - http://
www.nytimes.com/2011/11/25/science/lynn-
margulis-trailblazing-theorist-on-evolution-
dies-at-73, the Nature 22/29 December 2011
issue - http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/
v480/n7378/full/480458a.html, Scientific
American - http://blogs.scientificamerican.
com/cross-check/2011/11/24/r-i -p-l ynn-
margulis-biological-rebel/ and Discovery
News - http://news.discovery.com/earth/lynn-
margulis-pioneer-of-evolutionary-biology-dies-
at-73-111124.html).
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 65
Fi ona Jenk i nson
The King’s School, Canterbury, E-mail: 08flvj@kings-school.co.uk
DOI: 10.4103/0974-6102.92201
As soon as man gained consciousness, it is almost
certain we began to wonder where we and everything
else came from. For a few thousand years now, this
has been a topic for which religion has always found
some sort of explanation, and, for many thousands
of years, this seemed satisfactory. In the most recent
centuries, science has undergone a revolution and it
has been possible to date, trace, and even begin to
envisage our past like never before, forever getting
closer to the origin of life itself.
Of course, this had led to controversy, exaggeration
and plain myth in many different areas. Since the
origin of life is a topic which still mystifies everyone,
it is best to be able to evaluate the many theories
that stand today for oneself. So here is a list of books
which feature the theme of our origins:
The Origin of Life – by Paul Davies. It is simple and
informative, but broad - a great start to thinking
about how life ended up, was created or appeared
on earth. It allows the reader to create their own
hypothesis as to how it all began before presenting
the present-day ideas using evidence from a range
of sciences.
Seven Clues to the Origin of Life – a scientific
detective story by A.G. Cairns-Smith is an enjoyable
read, explaining the different pieces of biological
evidence with regards to the origins of life with a
lot of inspiration from Sherlock Holmes. Although
some interpretation of primitive Earth’s atmosphere
has changed since this was written, it gives you a
complete sensation of the biological enigma – where
did this life come from? Somewhat the extreme
opposite to a murder mystery.
Revolutions that Made the Earth – by Tim Lenton and
Andrew Watson is a detailed and vivid account of
the creation of the Earth and life, according to our
present day scientific knowledge. An interesting
read, which links earth-changing events to the
origin of life, to show how the basic necessities for
life, which we take for granted, all ended up on our
small blue planet.
Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the
Universe - by Peter Ward is easily comprehensible
and describes effectively how the conditions for
complex life that are found on Earth are at least very
scarce in the universe. It gives balanced accounts
on most information and considers the frequency
of simple life forms in the universe, arguing that this
may not at all be a rare occurrence.
The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of
Life - by Richard Dawkins. Starting with the present
day Homo sapiens and ending with the creation of
RNA, each chapter traces back the evolutionary
tree for each species that produced mankind.
This looks at the origin of life from an evolution
perspective.
The Seven Daughters of Eve: the astonishing story
that reveals how each of us can trace our genetic
ancestors by Brian Sykes. This book, focusing on
human origins, begins with the gruesome discovery
of a frozen body in the Alps and ends by finding that
A review of 10 of the best
Origin of Life books
Origin of Life
66 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
almost all Europeans are related to one of seven
women. It is an intriguing story and you soon find
yourself well “informed of what has gone before and
ignorant of what [lies] ahead”, as was the author, on
his own autobiographical adventure. It is written with
humour and in itself can be read for plain leisure.
Although it must be well noted that the depictions
of the European ancestors are fictional, you are left
with a true appreciation of genetic inheritance, time
and the lives of our ancestors.
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 67
Are we alone? – by Gloria Skurzynski explores the
possibility of extra-terrestrial life: as a research team in
the Brazilian jungle await radio signals from other life in
the universe, some are observing moons and planets
which potentially have the ideal conditions for life to exist
and others contemplate the possibility that the origin of
life may be from elsewhere – that we may be the aliens.
Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life's Origins - by
Robert M. Hazen is quite a personal account in which
he considers the value of many of the present day
theories, such as primordial soup and the origin of
life, from thermal vents and highlights others as plain
myths. It mostly considers how the chemical processes
and molecules necessary for life came about.
What is life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell
- by Erwin Schrödinger. Although written before the
discovery of DNA, this book presents the idea of life
from the point of view of a physicist. In broad terms,
it implies how it is necessary to abandon ideas of
interactions on the quantum scale, when dealing with
life on its similarly complex macro scale.
The Origins of Life - Melvyn Bragg and guests
(Richard Dawkins, Richard Corfield, and Linda
Partridge) discuss when and how life on earth
originated. For those who prefer listening to reading,
this 45 minute, informative BBC radio four program
covers many views on the origin of life including the
definition of life itself. It is easy to listen to and explains
almost everything from basic to complex ideas on
this topic. The broadcast is found on this link: http://
www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p004y29f
Bibliography – all images sourced from www.google.
co.uk/books, www.amazon.com and http://www.bbc.
co.uk/iplayer/console/p004y29f
About the Author
Fiona Jenkinson is 16 years old and goes to The King's School Canterbury where she is currently studying for her AS
Levels. She is studying Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths. In her free time she enjoys art, music, photography and
reading. She is unsure of what she wants to do in the future.
68 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
ABSTRACT
Liliana Corona (LC): Hello, today we are with Dr. Luis
Delaye,and we would like to know a bit more about
his work as a researcher of evolution at CINVESTAV.
Dr. Luis Delaye (LD): Hello, thank you very much, it
is a great pleasure to be here.
LC: Let’s start with the essential, how would
you define ‘evolution’?
LD: Well, evolution is a fascinating process and
in my opinion it could be defined on three levels
corresponding to the way in which we study it:
The first is microevolution, which refers to the change of
allele frequencies in populations, where mutations play
a fundamental role in the change between generations.
The intermediate level, where we study the speciation
process, is the part that connects macroevolution
with microevolution, and involves the mechanisms,by
which new species arise, the role of natural selection
and endosymbiosis.
The third is macroevolution, by which large groups
of living things arise, such as molluscs, plants,
eukaryotes, and etc. It is also responsible for order
within the ‘evolutionary tree’ structure. This level
requires large-scale study.
LC: Why is it important to study evolution?
LD: Well, it has a fundamental importance – first
of all because nothing in biology makes sense
or is logical without the light of evolutionary
theory – evolution provides coherence, and most
importantly, allows us to attempt to understand
what the origin of life was.
Secondly, evolutionary theory is useful for practical
applications. It was Pasteur who said: “There are no
such things as applied sciences, only applications
of science”.The scientific study of living beings
allows us to learn how microorganisms adopt new
mechanisms, for example resistance to antibiotics,
which is particularly relevant when it comes to
fighting viruses, where it is necessary to investigate
their mechanisms of defense. Artificial selection is
also important in the improvement of agricultural
produce.
Dr. Luis Delaye works at the Research and Advanced Studies Centre of the National
Polytechnic Institute of Mexico (CINVESTAV). His work takes place in the Evolutionary
Genomics laboratory within the department of Genetic Engineering, and his area of
research is the origin and evolution of new genes, the evolution of reduced genomes,
and horizontal gene transfer. In his early years, his interests were focused on the origin
of organisms, and as a result, he has been devoted to the subject of evolution since his
undergraduate studies in Biology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
In 2009, Dr. Delaye completed his postdoctoral studies in Valencia, Spain.
Li l i ana Cor ona Mar t ínez
Autonomous University of Queretaro, Mexico, E-mail: lilianabroken@hotmail.com
Interview with Dr. Luis Delaye
Interview
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 69
LC: Why did you decide to work in this area?
What was your motivation?
LD: Since I first began studying, the most important
question I had was how life originated. This led me to
venture into the laboratory of Dr. Antonio Lazcano at
UNAM, which was devoted to the study of the origin of
life. In that lab, they studied a number of evolutionary
processes that explain the characteristics of
microorganisms and that was fantastic.
LC: What have been your favourite research
projects in your career so far?
LD: Well, one of them was my thesis for my degree,
since to explain the main subject it relied on two theories
– Horowitz’s theory and the Patchwork theory – and I
found all this material fascinating. I have also worked on
a project on the evolution of polymerases, and although
it was not published, I enjoyed it all the same. When
I worked on the reconstruction of SOPE genome, a
really interesting apparent product of endosymbiosis,
I was fascinated because I really enjoyed discovering
the origin of new genes.
LC: What has been the most interesting result
from your research?
LD: It was when I worked with the issue of the origin
of new genes, because when I made my hypothesis
for the project, my prediction was correct. I had
originally developed a theory; but a few years
ago,it was tested experimentally in the U.S. and
the result was as I had predicted. This was very
exciting for me. Also during my PhD, I worked on a
project about endosymbiosis in which I began to
study genomes, and it was quite challenging for
me to assemble something so complex (which,
by the way, is still incomplete). I was fascinated
by collecting new and interesting data about a
biological system.
LC: What projects are you currently working
on?
LD: I am studying a series of overlapping genes that
have demonstrated their existence experimentally,
and by estimating rates of evolution, I am trying to
infer whether there is a related feature, and also
evidence of natural selection in viral proteins. As
well as this, I am creating a project with the aim
of constructing a database in order to study the
comparative biology of reduced genomes.
LC: What obstacles do you face? What is the
biggest challenge in the study of evolution?
LD: Well, in my case, it has been the mathematics. It
was difficult for me because during my undergraduate
studies, I did not see much Math, and when I began
looking at the theory of evolution, there was a lot of
Math involved.
It gets even more complicated with mathematical
modeling of things such as the inference of past
processes, which allows you to connect events and
find out how they happened. Math is also vital in order
to make correct predictions.
LC: What tool do you use to study evolution?
LD: Well, it depends which area you study – there
are all sorts of areas that you could focus on in
evolution, from archaeology to ecology, but in my
case, I use computers. They are a basic tool, but they
are essential for the creation of databases.
LC: And speaking of computers, what is the
role of bioinformatics in the study of
evolution?
LD: Critical, because it provides the means to
answer the questions we have, for example BLAST
is a program that helps us to find homologous
genes for evolutionary analysis. We also have tools
that allow us to do phylogenetic analysis to study
protein structures or gene databases. There are also
programming languages like Python, which are built
to carry out programs that simulate the evolutionary
processes that we are interested in.
LC: What message would you give to young
people who want to work in this area?
LD: To trust their intuition and skills; evolution is the
most fascinating branch of biology, and there is now
almost no field of biological research that doesn’t
Dr. Luis Delaye Photo courtesy of Liliana Corona Martnez
70 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
require a tool or knowledge provided by evolutionary
biology.
LC: Finally, do you have any advice for readers?
LD: I can recommend reading some authors, such
as Darwin of course, but also Lynn Margulis, Stephen
Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, Ernst Mayr to start with.
Also, if you want to work in bioinformatics, I would
advise studying biology first and then studying
computer science afterwards.
LC: Dr. Delaye thank you very much for this valuable
information about your training and work as a
researcher in the very interesting topic that is evolution.
About the Author
Liliana Corona Martínez is currently studying at the University of Queretaro in Mexico.
Information for Teachers
1. Have you seen examples of STEM work in schools which deserves to be published?
2. Are there projects or coursework out there which will otherwise lie forgotten on a shelf or USB memory
stick?
3. Would you like to encourage a student (or group) to consider publishing it in a science journal for
others to read and for posterity? (…being a published author looks great on their CV!)
The Young Scientists Journal allows students to enter into the world of scientific publishing and journalism
by providing them with the opportunity to research and write their own articles. The articles will then be
processed by student Editors and an International Advisory Board before being sent to the publishers
where they will be made into official articles, each with a unique code.
Many of our authors have conducted scientific research for coursework, competitions, holiday placements
or projects. We are also keen to receive shorter, review articles, and creative material such as videos or
cartoons.
There is also the opportunity for them to discuss scientific issues with students between the ages of 12
and 20 from all over the world. On a weekly basis, the latest international science news is summarised
on the website, providing a simple resource for aspiring scientists.
If you know a student who would be interested in getting more involved, and helping to run the journal,
we are actively recruiting students at the moment to our Young Scientists team in many roles including
editing articles, managing the website, graphic designing and helping with publicity.
You may be interested in becoming an ambassador for Young Scientists by joining our International
Advisory Board. If so, please send an email to Christina Astin, cma@kings-school.co.uk
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 71
ABSTRACT
Dr. Gabriela Olmedo works for the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of National
Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV) Irapuato, Guanajuato where she is the chief of the
Department of Genetic Engineering. She is an expert microbiologist, with her research
focusing on RNA metabolism and bacterial comparative genomics. She is currently working
on a research project studying the biodiversity of Cuatro Cienegas, Coahuila, Mexico. This
place is known for its 300 lakes that have a similar trophic chain to the Jurassic Period.
She received her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
Li l i ana Cor ona Mar t ínez
University of Queretaro, Mexico, E-mail: lilianabroken@hotmail.com
Liliana Corona (LC): Today we are with Dr. Gabriela
Olmedo (GO) to find out about her work as a research
scientist.
LC: Well, let’s start: How could you define
‘evolution’?
GO: I can describe it as a number of changes in
genetic material that result in alterations in the
morphology and metabolism of organisms over many
years, resulting in the diversity that we now see.
LC: Why has Cuatro Cienegas (CC) become a
place to study evolution?
GO: CC has a very special microbial population
and the study of bacteria is a simple model that
allows us to understand how changes occur in the
genetic material in a short time. We analyze changes
in the genomes at a molecular level, and study
their relationship to specific genes that contribute
to metabolic characteristics that we can monitor.
It also demonstrates how the environment affects
organisms to generate diversity.
LC: What makes CC so special?
GO: The geological origin of the lakes at CC makes
it a very special place. Also, the isolation has helped
it remain untainted and has kept the organisms that
live there cut off which makes it an ideal system
to study. Each of the lakes at CC has different
organisms and it is very interesting to compare the
bacteria between them. We also compare them with
bacteria that live outside of CC, making it possible
to ask questions about the biology and evolutionary
Dr. Gabriela Olmedo [available from 1. htp://www.ira.cinvestav.mx/
Investgaci%C3%B3n/DepartamentodeIngenier%C3%ADaGen%C3%A9
tca/ProfesoresInvestgadores/DraOlmedoAlvarezGabriela/tabid/114/
language/es-MX/Default.aspx]
Interview with Dr. Gabriela Olmedo
Interview
72 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
relationships of bacteria. These can be answered
using microbiological and genomic tools.
LC: Which have been the most important
discoveries in CC?
GO: For over 10 years, researchers from different
countries have expressed interest in studying the
valley of CC because they know the diversity and
large number of endemic organisms that it has.
The best known are the fish and snails studied
by a group led by Dr. Minkley. Dr. Valeria Souza
was a pioneer in microbiology research, and she
found that many bacteria that live in the lakes have
genetic characteristics indicative of a marine origin.
Another feature of the lakes is the limited nutrients,
especially phosphorus; it has been interesting trying
to understand what mechanisms the bacteria use to
survive there.
LC: Have any microorganisms with special
characteristics been found in these pounds?
GO: Dr. Souza’s group isolated heat-resistant
bacteria of the genus Bacillus and then sequenced
their DNA to see if this would reveal what metabolic
characteristics made it possible for the bacteria to
survive in a lake with such low phosphorus levels.
Bacillus coahuilensis was the strain chosen for
sequencing. One of the salient features that we found
in its genome was the presence of two genes that give
this bacterium the ability to synthesise sulpholipids.
Most living organisms’ membranes have a high
content of phospholipids, so this is an important
adaptation in an environment absent of phosphorus.
The presence of the sulpholipids was later proved
biochemically. The genes that give this property
are very similar to the genes in cyanobacteria, so
we speculate that they were acquired by horizontal
transfer of genetic material from cyanobacteria (with
which Bacillus coexists).
LC: Why has this microorganism been able to
survive?
GO: Another feature of B. coahuilensis that has
allowed it to survive at CC in the lake Churince is
its ability to absorb nutrients using several transport
proteins in the membrane. Therefore, despite
lacking several metabolic pathways and the ability
to synthesize eight amino acids, it is able to obtain
these nutrients from other bacteria.
LC: What expectations do you have about the
future of this project?
GO: We have a large collection of bacteria of the
genus Bacillus and we are planning to study them
with genomic tools to understand their metabolism
and ecology. A challenge for us is to analyze these
bacteria and bacterial communities to learn about
the exchange of genes, the metabolic characteristics
which allow them to live in a community and other
adaptations that allow them to grow and survive in
this environment.
LC: What message would you give to young
people thinking about a future in the study of
evolution?
GO: Learning about the evolutionary process is
fascinating, with new methods of DNA sequencing
and analysis giving us the possibility to make
comparisons at different levels and to explore how
the microorganisms manage to be so diverse and
to adapt to countless extreme environments. These
range from those deficient in nutrients to those
contaminated with metals to those with very high
temperatures. It is interesting to find out about how
there is a continuous exchange of genetic material
in bacterial populations through plasmids and
bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria). This
DNA is a shared asset that belongs to no individual
bacterium and is continuously exchanged. Therefore,
bacteria have to use mechanisms to defend against
the invasion of DNA and maintain a balance between
defending their genetic identity and exploiting the
adaptive opportunities that the DNA may bring.
LC: Finally, do you have any advice to
readers?
GO: If anyone is thinking of engaging in research
you must expect a fascinating world where there
are surprises every day; science itself evolves
continuously. It takes effort and perseverance to keep
pace and not fall behind in research.
About the Author
Liliana Corona Martínez is currently studying at the University of Queretaro in Mexico.
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 73
Maciej Bąk
Jagiellonian University, E-mail: bakmaciej@wp.pl
DOI: 10.4103/0974-6102.92204
Have You ever Wondered Exactly
What Light is?
No cheating. Have you ever looked at a beam of
light and asked yourself that question? Some say
it is nothing more than a wave, while others insist
that light consists of lots of tiny elementary particles.
However, is it possible that both of these statements
prove to be true? A whole new branch of science,
called quantum mechanics, deals with such issues
and its latest research may shed some light on it. In
physical terminology, a quantum is the minimum unit
of any entity – in this case a quantum of light would be
called a photon. So, are the photons able to behave
like particles and still maintain their wave properties?
For a better understanding of this case, try to imagine
that dualism before moving on.
Particles of Light
Nowadays, most people would describe light as
a wave, probably because it seems more intuitive.
However, do you know that many great scientists of
earlier centuries would not agree with that statement?
One of the most famous physicists - Isaac Newton
- who is well known for his description of universal
gravitation and the three laws of motion also dealt
with the issue of light. He claimed that it is no more
than a cluster of unimaginably small particles, emitting
energy. A simple experiment can prove his theory. The
light (more precisely – the photons) falling on the metal
plate releases electrons. These can then be captured
by the second plate, which means that electric current,
that can be measured, flows between these two
objects. This phenomenon is called the photoelectric
effect
1
[Figure 1] and is widely used in modern devices,
such as photocells, solar batteries, digital cameras,
etc. Light absorbed by these devices is used to
produce electricity and generate an electrical charge.
Of course Newton did not know any of this, or even
the definition of an electron, which was discovered
in 1897 – more than a hundred years after his death.
A Diffracted Wave
From the time of Newton’s postulates, people
1
The person who discovered the photoelectric effect was none other
than Albert Einstein. It was for this experiment that he gained the
Nobel Prize in 1905 not for, what many believe, General relativity
(which describes the influence of gravity on space-time) or Special
relativity (which explains the behavior of physical bodies with a
speed close to speed of light in vacuum).
Figure 1: The photoelectric efect
A dual nature of light
Review Article
74 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
thought light actually consisted of small particles.
However, a breakthrough came in the early 19
th

century. An English polymath, Thomas Young, made
a revolutionary discovery. He made an experiment,
later named The Double-slit Experiment, which
proved that light has the structure of a wave. Young
used a source of a coherent light (waves in phase
with each other) to illuminate a screen. Between
that he placed a thin plate with two parallel slits cut
into it. The wave nature of light causes its waves
passing through both slits to interfere, creating an
interference pattern of bright and dark bands on the
screen.
2
This is very similar to waves which appear
on water when one throws a rock. Similarly, if one
throws two rocks, waves will interfere with each other
and create a characteristic wave system.
The Unification of Theories
Since photons have shown they can behave both
as particles and as waves, scientists had no choice
but to agree on the wave–particle duality of light.
The most common argument for its dual nature is
Compton Scattering [Figure 2]. Put simply, it is all
about the dispersal of a short light wave into free
electrons and a longer wave.
3
Now it is also known
that the shorter the wavelength is, the more energy
is carried by the beam. In fact, colours of visible light
are nothing other than the effect of different energy
values – for example: blue light (short wavelength,
2
In this experiment Young also exploited the phenomenon of wave
diffraction. This means all waves bend around small obstacles, slightly
changing the direction of propagation.
3
In fact, a visible light beam is an electromagnetic wave of a specific
length, possible to see with the naked eye. Shorter waves of the
same structure (also comprised of photons) are, for example, X-rays
or infrared. Compton scattering concerns X-rays of high frequency
and electrons. An electromagnetic wave scatters on free particles,
creating a shorter wave (less energetic) and knocking out the
electron (which just gained the difference of the energies) in a
specific direction. Photons are able to knock out electrons only
because of their particle properties and we are able to measure
their energy only by registering the frequency of the light wave.
Compton scattering is widely used in technology and medicine,
especially in radiology.
high frequency) carries much more energy than a
beam of red light (relatively long wavelength and,
because the speed of light is always the same, lower
frequency). Due to the dualistic nature of light, we
may also say that its “red photon” has less energy
than a “blue one”.
Not many years ago, more scientific research
was carried out at Harvard University in the USA.
Researchers managed to illuminate a container with
an ultra-cold cloud of sodium atoms. When the beam
was switched off, the gas mixture that recorded the
properties of trapped light was pumped into the
second container and exposed to a laser beam.
Seconds later, the container glowed. Scientists say
that this process may be used during manipulation
of information transmission in future quantum
computers, which would have a much greater
computing power than conventional devices. Some
say that the ability to record the properties of a wave
and then regain it in other place may be the very first
step to teleportation.
In summary, the photon’s action can actually depend
on the situation- it can behave as if it were a particle
and as if it were a wave. According to quantum
mechanics, the whole matter is characterized by this
dualism. Each particle and even each object can be
attributed to its characteristic wave function, resulting
from the probabilistic nature of matter. On the other
hand, each wave interaction can be described in
terms of particles.
About the Author
Maciek Bąk is a Polish 19 year old and currently studies Biotechnology at Jagiellonian University. He is very keen on
Genetics, Immunology and Quantum Mechanics. He went to private high school in Kielce.
Figure 2: The Compton scatering
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 75
Kat her i ne Bur den
The King's School, Canterbury, E-mail: 06kb@kings-school.co.uk
DOI: 10.4103/0974-6102.92207
A melanoma is a form of cancer that develops in
the melanin-producing cells of the skin. Melanin is
known to be noticeably abundant in the skin of grey
horses as it is the pigment that makes some skin
darker than others. Melanomas can be hard or soft
and may be found to be solitary or amongst multiple
groups massed in certain areas of the horse. Often
they are located subcutaneously and are not visible
to the naked eye as they are covered by normal
haired skin; however, they may become ulcerated
and infected. Typically, they are dark brown to black
or grey, but some are non-pigmented. Diagnosis of
non-pigmented (amelanotic) melanomas requires
microscopic examination of biopsy specimens.
Equine melanomas are differentiated solely by the
terms of either being benign or malignant. They are
not classified into stages as is the case with human
melanomas. Many human melanoma patients die
merely 12 months after diagnosis, dependent on
the stage to which the melanoma has progressed,
as the usual metastasis of cancer cells is quick and
consistent in the body.
However, in comparison to humans, grey horses
have been said to hold the ‘secret to survival from
melanomas’. Dr. John Powderly, whose expertise on
melanoma in several species including both human
and horses, said melanomas in horses are known
to act very differently from those found in humans.
They are usually only locally invasive and are slow
growing. The round, usually black nodules [Figure 1]
are most commonly found under the tail and around
the vulva or rectum as shown in Figure 1, near the
base of the ears, around the neck and jugular groove
(the indentation on the side of the neck where the
jugular lies between muscle groups) as well as
around the eyes. Although these lumps are generally
smooth and not painful, should the melanomas begin
to metastasize, devastating consequences could
occur. For instance, cancerous lumps which develop
deeper within the internal body system of the horse,
within the abdomen or chest could add pressure and
potentially inhibit the function of vital organs. If the
lump is developed in the abdomen, the first symptom
is often recurrent bouts of colic, with the intervals
between episodes becoming shorter. Alternatively,
horses with massive cancerous lumps that infiltrate
their intestines will slowly become less able to absorb
nutrients from their food. These horses will show slow
but progressive weight loss, despite eating as much
extra feed as you can provide.
Figure 1: Black nodules

[available from htp://www.ride-the-sunshine-
glow.com/equine-melanoma.html]
Melanomas and their effect on
the grey horse
Review Article
76 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
The rapid distortion of the horse's face is common
when melanomas have grown inside the head
region of the horse due to the local invasion of the
cancerous cells. Cancer cells spread quickly as
they are transported around the body through the
bloodstream, should they initially form as a lump
in the spleen. As these small clusters of cells are
deposited around the body, they will continue to
grow to form yet more cancerous lumps. Some
cancer tissues can even produce inappropriate
hormones that di sturb the normal hormonal
balance of the animal. For example, mares with a
type of tumour of the ovary, known as an equine
granulose, are subject to the production of excess
testosterone. This male hormone, normally at very
low levels in mares, leads to stallion-like behavior
and aggression towards other horses. Fortunately,
this particular cancer is usually surgically removable
and the mare can experience full recovery after the
cancerous ovary is removed.
It is estimated that benign forms of the tumour are
found on about 80% of grey horses over the age
of 15 years.
[1]
In 2008, researchers at Uppsala
University, Sweden, identified the genetic mutation
that governs the greying process. The presence of an
identical genetic mutation from a common ancestor
of all grey horses which lived thousands of years ago,
has also been discovered through the study.
“By taking our genetic map and mapping the markers
on DNA collected from a large number of progeny
from a grey stallion, we were able to map where the
grey locus (the position of a particular gene on a
chromosome) was on the horse genome-and found
it’s on horse chromosome 25 in a particular place,”
explains Dr. Matthew Binns, Head of Genetics at The
Animal Health Trust at Newmarket.
[2]
This proves how
humans have specifically chosen attractive mutations
in domestic animals.
The discovery of the gene is particularly significant
to medical researchers as the risk of melanomas is
enhanced by this mutation. Both STX17 (syntaxin-17)
and the neighboring NR4A3 gene are over-expressed in
grey horses with melanomas, and those carrying a loss-
of-function mutation in ASIP (agouti signaling protein)
have a higher incidence of melanoma, implying that
increased melanocortin-1 receptor signalling promotes
melanoma development in grey horses.
Despite their type and nature, both benign and
malignant melanomas can be practical as well as
financial nuisances. As they can preclude saddle,
bridle, and halter application if they obstruct paths for
such items on the horse. The price of most melanoma
treatment (as with most veterinary charges) is far from
low in terms of finance.
Diagnosis of Melanomas
Simple diagnosis of tumours is made by using a
microscope. It is a relatively simple task involving
taking a piece of the mass and identifying the
presence of characteristic dark, black granules of
melanin within the tumour cells [Figure 2], thereby
confirming the disease. Small melanomas within
the guttural pouches and the abdomen of horses
can be found and monitored with the aid of medical
instruments such as laparoscopes/endoscopes.
A more complex examination, such as cytologic
examination, reveals two different melanocytes,
either pleomorphic or atypical. Melanomas are
characterized by sheets, packets and cords of
atypical melanocytes. These lesions most commonly
occur in close association with hair follicles and
epithetical sweat glands. In humans, dogs and cats
melanomas usually form within close contact of the
epidermis and dermoepidermal junction, which differ
from horses. Melanoma identification can be further
confirmed by the positive testing of vimentin.
Treatments of Melanomas
Veterinarians recommend a vigilant approach to
melanomas as operation can ‘activate’ the cells and
increase the chance of tumour growth. Melanomas
should only be operated on if they are causing harm
to the horse. For example, large masses that interfere
with and therefore disallow the horse to be ridden,
Figure 2: Melanoma cells [available from htp://nabuleong.tstory.
com/582]
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 77
and those which prohibit the horse from defecating,
have to be treated.
Treatments that may be useful in dealing with equine
melanomas include environmental management,
wide surgical excision, cryonecrosis, biological
response modifiers, and chemotherapy. A consistently
satisfactory form of treatment still does not exist.
Solution 1 - Surgical Excision and
Cryonecrosis
Melanomas in easily accessible anatomic regions
(tumours which are on the surface of the skin) of a
relatively small size (less than 3 cm in diameter) which
are not numerous (less than 15), can be treated by
wide surgical excision [Figures 3, 4a and 4b]. Wide
surgical excision is the removal of tissue using a
scalpel or other cutting instruments, removing the
entire melanoma and a certain width border of the
surrounding normal-looking skin, depending on the
depth of the melanoma.
Additional tissues, usually skin and fat, are also
removed from under the melanoma. This method
generally refers to melanomas found in the perineal
and perianal areas which may then be clinically
managed by cryonecrosis as primary entity to surgical
excision of cutaneous melanomas. It is also applied
for the treatment of tumours which preclude removal
by surgical excision, although excision is usually used
to reduce tumour recurrence before cryonecrosis.
Risks
The main risk of using surgical excision and the
reason that it is not seen as an ideal treatment solution
is due to the rapid reoccurrence of melanomas from
abnormal melanoblasts near to the surgical field.
In some circumstances, coalescence of multiple
smaller melanomas could lead to the development
of huge undulating sheets of black tumorous tissue.
The remaining cells are then cryonecrized to −20°C
before being allowed to thaw. The cells are then
re-cryonecrized once more.
[3]
It is essential that the
process of cryonecrization takes place faster than
the body’s ability to thaw the treated tissue. Despite
the fact that this type of melanoma is rarely cured,
it can be managed by cryonecrosis once or twice a
year. Cryonecrosis can usually be accomplished in
standing, sedated horses, in some horses; however,
general anesthesia may be required. Particularly in
large horses, the risks of anesthesia should not be
Figure 4a: A tumour pre-operation [available from http://www.
carolinaequineclinicnc.com/casestudy-melanoma.html]
Fi gure 4b: Post- operati on [ avai l abl e f rom http: //www.
carolinaequineclinicnc.com/casestudy-melanoma.html]
Figure 3: A photo showing the wound left after surgical removal
of a tumour [available from htp://www.acvs.org/AnimalOwners/
HealthConditons/LargeAnimalEquineTopics/SkinTumorsInHorses/]
78 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
out ruled as a recent detailed survey concluded that
1 in a 100 horses die due to the anesthesia process.
[4]
Solution 2 - Cimetidine
Medical management of melanomas is the more
traditional approach. The use of Cimetidine as a
beneficial treatment for horse melanomas was first
discovered in 1985. Malignant tumours in both humans
and animals can be effectively treated by Cimetidine,
a recognized biological response modifier. Cimetidine
is a drug usually used to deal with stomach ulcers
in horses and humans. This drug also has a potent
effect on some melanomas and, while not curative,
can effectively reduce the size of melanomas.
Patients who suffer with neoplastic disorders may
have suppressor T-cells that alter the body’s own
antitumour defense mechanism. Histamine activates
suppressor T-cells via H2 histamine receptors.
Cimetidine blocks the activation of these cells,
thereby augmenting cell-mediated and humoral
immune responses. This can be evidently shown in
Figure 5 as Cimetidine is proven to have increased
the survival of colorectal cancer patients with high
levels of sialyl Lewis-X and sialyl Lewis-A epitope
expression on tumour cells.
Comparison of the control group and patients treated
with Cimetidine showed that the cumulative 10-year
survival rate of the Cimetidine group was 84.6%,
whereas that of the control group was 49.8%. This
is an increased cumulative 10-year survival rate of
34.8% due to the effect of Cimetidine, thus identifying
the significance of using the drug as an adequate
and substantial solution to melanoma treatment.
[5]
For melanomas which are actively increasing in both
number and size, Cimetidine is found to provide the
greatest of therapeutic benefits in horses, yet it has
minimal effects on melanomas which have remained
unchanged in size or appearance for many years. The
horses which have responded best to the treatment
were treated every eight hours with a dose of 2.5 mg/kg
three times a day. Though if this administration cannot
be delivered, a dose of 7.5 mg/kg per day will suffice.
[3]

Discontinuation of treatment is advisable if, after a three
month period of treatment, there is no change in the
number or size of melanomas. On the other hand, if
therapy is seemingly successful and the melanomas
appear to have decreased in size and number, then
treatment should cease two to three weeks after
positive response is no longer apparent. After cessation
of Cimetidine administration, the succession of the
disease may be haltered for months to even years.
Benefits
Response to treatment is not predictable, but a good
reaction to treatment is deemed to be a reduction of
50% or more in both melanoma size and number and
no further growth in several years. Changes in the
number or size of melanomas during therapy typically
become clinically discernible after two to seven weeks
of treatment. In some cases, melanoma activity may
be restored after a few years of disease quiescence.
[5]
Cimetidine can also be used in correspondence
with other treatments such as cryonecrosis, surgical
excision, or chemotherapy, as well as to decrease
chance of melanoma reccurrence or to decrease
size or number before surgical intervention. As
far as scientists currently know, no toxic effects of
Cimetidine treatment have been reported in horses.
Therefore, Cimetidine is used with minimal risk in
comparison to the consequences of using of the
newer, more potent H2 antagonists which are not
yet known. Not only this, but Cimetidine can be
used without great expense and does not require
excessively prolonged administration.
Alternative Solution 1 - Systematic
Chemotherapy and Cisplatin
Cisplatin [Figure 6] is a platinum-based chemotherapy
drug used to treat various types of cancers. According
to recent investigations with cisplatin, solitary
cutaneous melanomas may be sufficiently benefited
by intralesional chemotherapy. But surgically
debulking the melanoma, the potential local toxicity
as well as the overall cost is decreased by minimizing
Figure 5: Efect of cimetdine on the survival of patents with colorectal
cancers [available from htp://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v86/n2/
fg_tab/6600048f1.html#fgure-ttle]
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 79
the quantity of drug used.
[3]
This procedure before the
injection of cisplatin, although in smaller melanoma
of a size less than two centimeters of diameter, does
not require the initial debulking that is required before
intralesional treatment.
Four treatments are usually administered at two-week
intervals with a dosage of 1 mg/cm of tumour each
time. Yet leakages of cisplatin from the injection sites
are inevitable with this dosage.The tumours should
be individually injected with a 22- to 25-gauge needle
with its tract filled by cisplatin as it is withdrawn.
The cisplatin absorption ability of tissue is limited
and so the injection tracks should be about 5 to
8 mm apart. The administration of anti-inflammatory
(phenylbutazone) drugs and systematic anti-
microbial (potentiated sulphonamide or penicillin)
reduces post-injection swelling.
Cisplatin should be prepared immediately before it is
injected, using a sesame oil carrier to prolong its effect.
The reconstituted drug is stable at room temperature
for 15 hours.
[3]
With local intralesional therapy, a tissue
concentration that is significantly higher than that
obtained following systemic (intravenous) therapy
can be achieved with essentially no signs of toxicity.
This form of treatment has been used on pregnant
broodmares and breeding stallions without ill effect.
Tumor resistance to cisplatin has not been described.
Less-than-ideal therapeutic outcomes are most likely
the result of inadequate tissue deposition of the drug
secondary to less-than-optimum injection technique.
Recurring melanomas usually become apparent by
approximately eight months after treatment at the
periphery of treated lesions.
Benefits
This is a highly useful drug as recurrent tumours do
not develop resistance to cisplatin and can be treated
a second time using the protocol used during the
initial treatment.
Risks
As with Cimetidine, the risks of use are minimal. The
only risk that is seemingly worth mentioning is that
there is the slight possibility of injection sites providing
entrance sites for infection. Although with the current
day standards of hygiene and sanitation being so
high, this is a relatively small threat, however, it is not
worth completely disregarding.
Alternative Solution 2 - Herbal
Remedies
For melanomas in general, the herbs which are
recommended by Robert McDowell, a trained medical
herbalist, as the combination for a basic support
mix are; Equisetum, comfrey, yarrow, bladderwrack,
ginseng, rose hip, and sage. The Bach Flower
Remedies which are included are honeysuckle, holly,
and Mimulus.
[6]
This amalgamation of these particular
herbs helps to support one another, and addresses the
damage done by the environment in general and the
sun in particular. A 100 ml bottle of the mixture would
be prescribed with dosage instructions of 20 drops,
three times daily in water. This will provide six weeks of
continuous treatment at costs ranging from £50 to £60.
As the ingredients are purely natural, they should not
cause any harmful side effects and are safe to use,
without the added price of vet implication (the herbs
can be given to the horse without the need of a vet).
Therefore, the risks are minimal.
I n addi t i on, Robert McDowel l advi ses t he
administration of Maritime Pine Bark [Figure 7], an
antioxidant, to dramatically stimulate the subject's
immunity and ability to fight the cancer.
Even with the many treatment modalities presently
available for equine melanomas, the disease
may still be difficult to manage clinically. Often, a
successful therapeutic outcome mandates the use
of combination therapy that takes into account the
age of the horse, the time of the year, the number,
Figure 6: A cisplatn molecule [available from htp://www.clinbiochem.
info/studentmagnesium3.html]
80 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
size, and progression of the lesions, and the financial
limitations of the owner.
Social Issues
As with most veterinary procedures, melanoma
treatment can be very expensive. The initial ‘debulking’
of the melanoma using wide surgical excision alone,
usually costs around £500 without any additional
melanoma treatment costs added. On top of that,
the initial diagnosis and examination fees must be
taken into account as well as the cost of the horse
staying overnight in the veterinary surgery as is often
the case depending on the severity of the operation
needed to remove the targeted melanomas. In
addition to this, excision requires a highly trained vet
with complex surgical expertise and extensive surgery
equipment is needed for the procedure itself. Small
veterinary practices may not fulfill such requirements;
therefore, further travel to reach a veterinary surgery
means further expenditure on the owner’s behalf as
well as added stress for the horse. As previously
stated, most melanomas which grow in grey horses
are inactive and rarely metastasize to other parts of
the body, therefore, owners can become negligent of
the melanomas. This is not as an act of cruelty, but
owners think that they can depend on the fact that
melanoma growth will not be harmful to their grey
horse, and so to avoid financial costs, choose not to
treat them. However, if the melanomas are found to be
of a malignant nature, this could lead to horse fatality
or at the very least an increased amount of money
to treat the melanomas at a more advanced stage.
As a result of all of this, when grey horses are pre-
examined by a vet before purchase, the vet is now
obliged to warn purchasers of the increased chance
of melanoma development, and so purchasers may
be put off buying a grey horse. The above reasons
have led to some breeders even going to the extent
of purposefully choosing to breed with the specific
intention of avoiding grey offspring.
Ethical Issues
In compliance with some of the stated reasons
above, such as that a potential purchaser can be put
off buying grey horse due to increased melanoma
development, we can see how selective breeding
has now become increasingly apparent in the
attempt to avoid breeding grey offspring. There are
many issues with this phenotype manipulation of
offspring by selective breeding and the desire to
pass on favorable traits or to eliminate undesired
traits. Selective breeding decreases the variety of
alleles in the gene pool of that particular organism,
therefore decreasing genetic diversity and prohibiting
the natural process of evolution. The selectively bred
species are likely to be more genetically prone to
hereditary diseases as well as being more susceptible
to other diseases as they may not inherit the genes
which provide immunity against such diseases.
It is obvious that this is becoming an increasingly
dominant concern within horse breeding as more
organisms are ending up with similar genomes and
it is clear that horse breeders need to produce more
heterozygous offspring with the grey allele to ensure
the long term welfare of the species and keep the
gene pool as diverse as possible.
There also have been many debates on whether
melanoma removal in grey horses should be allowed
if it is purely for cosmetic reasons or if the horse is
otherwise oblivious to its existence. Furthermore,
members of certain religious communities strongly
believe that horses with melanomas should not be
treated as the natural body should not be altered.
Glossary
Subcutaneously: Below the skin.
Equine: Belonging to the family Equidae, which
comprises horses, zebras, and asses.
Mares: Female horses.
Figure 7: Maritme Pine Bark Extract [available from htp://www.
wellcorps.com/ingredients-benefts-maritme-pine-bark-extract.html ]
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 81
About the Author
Katherine Burden studied for her A Levels at The King's School, Canterbury. Her hobbies include riding.
RCSU Science Challenge - Essay prize
Submitted by cma on Tue, 13/12/2011 - 08:25
Organiser: Royal College of Science Union
Age Limits: 12-20
Start Date: Launch 17 Jan 2012
Finish Date: Not yet announced, but probably Feb 2012
Prize: TBA at launch
Launch event at Imperial College on 17 Jan 2012, featuring Lord Robert Winston, Pallab Ghosh,
Mark Henderson.
4 essay titles will be announced at the launch, plus deadline and prizes.
Final to be held on 22 Mar 2012 at the House of Lords.
All winning entries in the 12-20 age range to be published in YOUNG SCIENTISTS JOURNAL!
Laparoscope/Endoscope: A medical instrument
consisting of a tube that is inserted through an
incision in the abdominal wall to enable a doctor to
examine the internal organs and perform operation.
Cytologic: A branch of biology that deals with the
formation, structure, and function of cells.
Melanocytes: A pigment-producing cell in the skin,
hair, and eye.
Lesions: Infected patch of skin/wound.
Vimentin: A family of proteins that is especially found
in connective tissues.
Scalpel: A sharp (surgical) knife.
Perianal: Around the anus.
Intralesional: Implies injecting a drug directly into the
skin lesion for faster action and better results.
(Amalgamation) Amalgamate: Combine or unite.
References
1. Melanoma, Virgina-Maryland, Regional College of Veterinary
Medicine. Available from: http://www.vetmed.vt.edu/research/
CeCo/melanoma.asp [Last cited on 2010 Nov 18].
2. Briggs H. ‘All the Grey Horses’, BBC News, October 9, 2002.
Available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2296131.
stm [Last cited on 2002 Oct 09].
3. Goetz TE. Melanomas in Horses-Case Study 2 ‘Treatment
of Melanomas in Horses’, The Compendium, April 1993.
Available from: http://www.miravalandalusians.com/garbosa/
melanom2.htm [Last cited on 1993 Apr].
4. Horse Operations- What Actually Happens When a Horse is
Given a General Anaesthetic. Available from: http://www.
horserides.org/horse-operations.html [Last cited on 2010
Nov 18].
5. Matsumoto S, Imaeda Y, Umemoto S, Kobayashi K, Suzuki H,
Okamoto T. ‘Cimetidine increases survival of colorectal cancer
patients with high levels of sialyl Lewis-X and sialyl Lewis-A
epitope expression on tumour cells’. Br J Cancer 2002;86:161-
7, January 21, 2002. Available from: http://www.nature.com/
bjc/journal/v86/n2/fig_tab/6600048f1.html#figure-title[Last
cited on 2002 Jan 21].
6. McDowell, Robert, ‘Melanoma Herbal Support Treatment’
Available from: http://www.cancer-herbal-treatment.com/
herbs_melanoma_cancer.html [Last cited on 2010 Nov 18].
82 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
ABSTRACT
Background
Cervical cancer is a disease that occurs when
abnormal cells in the cervix multiply uncontrollably.
Most cervical cancers are caused by a sexually
transmitted infection called human papillomavirus
(HPV).
[1]
This disease is a growing cause of concern,
particularly among ethnic minorities and medically
deprived individuals. In the United States, Hispanic
and Black women have the highest rates of cervical
cancer. Among the country’s black women, those
who are American born or Haitian born have higher
rates of cervical cancer than those from the English
speaking Caribbean.
[2]
In Miami, Florida, the incidence
and mortality rates of cervical cancer are the highest
among Haitian American women. Between 2000 and
2004, it was reported that about 38 out of 100,000
women were diagnosed with cervical cancer in Little
Haiti. This number is about four times higher than the
number of women diagnosed with cervical cancer in
all of Florida during the same time period.
[3]
Disparities in cervical cancer survival rates among
different ethnic groups are partly due to difficulties
in accessing medical services, including Pap smear
screenings.
[4]
Pap smear screenings check for
abnormal cervical cells, which may lead to cervical
cancer,
[5]
and in doing so, help prevent cervical
cancer through early detection of the disease.
[6]

Nearly 95% of women with cervical cancer have not
had proper screenings before they are diagnosed
with the disease. Immigrants, in particular, may have
less opportunity to get regular Pap smear tests and
therefore are not screened as often as American-born
citizens.
[7]
The data seen for Haitian Americans is in
agreement with these statistics; about one third of
Haitian women in Little Haiti have never had a Pap
test. Among those that have, only 44% have been
screened within the past three years, contrary to the
recommendation given by the national guidelines.
[6]
The area of Li ttl e Hai ti contai ns the hi ghest
concentration of Haitians in the United States. This
community encompasses one of the largest groups
Haitian women in Little Haiti have a higher cervical cancer incidence rate than women
of other ethnic groups in Miami, Florida. In our study, we surveyed 246 women about
their Pap smear screening behavior, as well as their knowledge of human papillomavirus
(HPV) and cervical cancer. Data was collected as part of an ongoing Community-Based
Participatory Research project called ‘Patnè en Aksyon’ (‘Partners in Action’). From our
results, we were able to conclude that study participants have limited knowledge of HPV
and cervical cancer, and they infrequently participate in Pap smear screening. Therefore,
it is vital that Little Haiti’s female population learn more about HPV and cervical cancer in
order to encourage disease prevention and reduce mortality rates.
Paul a-Suzanne Lapc i uc , Nadi a Wi l l y
1
Ransom Everglades School,
1
Miami Northwestern Senior High
E-mail: paulasuzannelapciuc@gmail.com
DOI: 10.4103/0974-6102.92209
Knowledge of HPV and
cervical cancer among
women in Little Haiti
Research Article
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 83
of people living at or below the national poverty
line; the poverty rate, 30%, is almost double that of
Miami-Dade County’s, which is 18%.
[8]
Many of its
inhabitants have limited literacy in English, and many
others have limited proficiency in reading or writing
Creole, their native language; this is another obstacle
Haitian immigrants must overcome to access medical
knowledge and aid. These and other factors may
contribute to the high incidence of cervical cancer
in Little Haiti’s community.
[8]
Our study examined
one such factor: The knowledge of HPV and cervical
cancer.
Some theories suggest that a woman’s decision
to seek health information or participate in Pap
smear screening may depend on her fear of risk
taking, opinions about healthcare, cultural values,
confidence, and any prior knowledge that she may
have.
[4]
The “health belief model” argues that if a
person at risk of developing a certain health condition
learns new information about it, he or she will attempt
to prevent severe illness from occurring by methods
that are necessary for prevention, such as check-ups
and screenings.
[9]
Our study examined knowledge of
cervical cancer and HPV among Haitian women living
in Little Haiti, a predominately Haitian neighbourhood
in Miami, Florida. By understanding this group’s
current level of knowledge about HPV infection and
cervical cancer, we were able to develop community
based interventions to increase awareness about
screening for cervical cancer and early detection of
the disease.
Materials and Methods
The data for our study came from an ongoing
Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR)
project, known as ‘Patnè en Aksyon’ (‘Partners
in Action’), started in 2004 by the University of
Miami and members of civic organizations in
Little Haiti. The overall goal of the project is to
reduce cancer disparities within the South Florida
Haitian community. Community-Based Participatory
Research is a collaborative research method where
trained scientific investigators work together with
local community members to conduct studies that
are pertinent to the district.
[10]
The co-operation of the
scientific and local communities can help minimize
health disparities.
[11]
Patnè en Aksyon supports multiple research projects
to understand the excess burden of cervical cancer
in Little Haiti. One of these projects examined known
risk factors for disease onset and progression.
For our paper, we used data from this project to
examine knowledge of cervical cancer and HPV.
As discussed, we decided to focus on knowledge
because increased awareness about cervical cancer
risk factors and prevention may improve health
outcomes among women in Little Haiti.
Data for the study came from in-depth interviews
with Haitian women living in Little Haiti conducted
by Community Health Workers (CHWs) of Haitian
descent. These CHWs also spoke English and Haitian
Creole fluently. There were two full time CHWs that
were hired and trained to recruit participants and
collect information using a standardised training
manual created by a researcher active in Patnè en
Aksyon. This manual instructed CHWs on how to
recruit participants and how to gather and manage
study data.
The CHWs approached Haitian women in many
different locations who appeared to be 21 years of
age or older and told them about the study. Women
who met study eligibility criteria (21 years of age
or older, no history of cancer, Haitian descent)
and agreed to participate arranged a time to be
interviewed by a CHW. The interviews occurred in
places where the participant felt most comfortable.
In most cases, the interviews took place in the
participant’s home or the home of a friend. The
participants chose whether to have the interview
in English or Haitian Creole.
Between September 2007 and March 2008, the
CHWs approached 362 women. Of the 362 women,
297 decided to participate; 290 were eligible and 250
actually completed the interview. A small percentage
of women (seven percent) who expressed initial
interest in the study refused interview. Most women
who refused, feared that signing the informed consent
documents would somehow affect their own or their
family members’ immigration status. The interview
took approximately one hour to complete and included
questions about Pap smear screening history, risk
factors for HPV infection, cervical cancer, and health
in general. The questionnaire also incorporated HPV
knowledge questions from the Health Information
National Trends Survey, conducted by the National
Cancer Institute twice each year.
All data from the questionnaires was entered into
a statistical software program called Statistical
Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS Statistics).
84 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
SPSS is used by commercial, government, and
academic organizations to solve business and
research problems.
[12]
For our study, we used SPSS to
generate descriptive statistics to test our hypothesis.
Results
Table 1 shows that 67.2% of the respondents in our
study sample had a family income of $15,000 or less
per year. Nearly half (49.2%) of study participants had
not received a high school diploma, and a staggering
44.3% were unemployed. The majority (54.1%) of
inhabitants were recent immigrants, having come to
the United States less than 10 years ago.
Pap smear screening is used to detect abnormal
cells in the cervix which may lead to cervical cancer.
Table 2 clearly indicates that most women in our
sample (78.9%) had undergone Pap smear screening
in their life time. However, only 60.2% of women in our
sample had undergone one in the last three years.
The American Cancer Society recommends that a
woman is screened for cervical cancer every three
years after she becomes sexually active.
[13]
Many
women in our study claimed to have been screened
less frequently than the national average.
[14,15]
Being
screened routinely is the best method to detect early
stages of cervical cancer and prevent mortalities from
the disease.
[1]
Table 3 demonstrates the lack of knowledge
surrounding cervical cancer among Haitian women
in our study sample. A total of 68.7% of the women
believed that being hit in your lower abdomen could
cause cervical cancer. Most of the women (82.5%)
also thought that if they are diagnosed with cervical
cancer, they will die from the disease. Meanwhile,
more than two thirds (72.8%) of the study sample
incorrectly believed that multiple abortions can
cause cervical cancer, and 76.8% of participants
did not know that a high number of sexual partners
increases your risk of this disease. The majority of
the participants (77.6%) were also not aware women
who smoke are more likely to develop cervical cancer
than those who do not.
Among the 246 women from Little Haiti who
participated in the study, more than three quarters
(78%) of respondents had not heard of HPV. As
shown in Table 4, 81.7% of our sample of Haitian
women did not know that HPV could cause cervical
cancer, and 81.3% did not think that HPV is a sexually
transmitted infection. An even greater percentage of
women (83.7%) incorrectly believed that HPV does
not cause abnormal Pap smears.
As shown in Table 5, of the 192 women in our sample
who had not heard of HPV, 98.4% were born in Haiti,
compared with 92.6% of the 54 women who had heard
of HPV. Participants who had heard of the virus had
also lived in the United States longer; about 87% of the
women who had heard of it had been living in the United
States for more than five years, compared with 71.9%
of the women who had not heard of HPV. Furthermore,
most of the women informed of this infection had had
a greater success in education, employment, and
income. There was almost a 30% difference in high
school graduation rates among participants who had
heard of HPV (74.1%) and those who had not (44.3%).
Table 1: Socio-demographic characteristcs of study sample
Characteristc Percentage
Annual family income (n = 183)
$15,000 or less 67.2
More than $15,000 32.8
Educatonal atainment
Less than high school graduate 49.2
High school graduate and above 50.8
Health insurance coverage
No 85.3
Yes 14.7
Employment status
Unemployed 44.3
Employed part or Full tme 55.7
Years in the United States
10 Years or less 54.1
More than 10 years 45.9
Table 2: Pap smear screening
Variable Percentage
Yes No
Have you ever had a Pap smear? 78.9 21.1
Have you had at least one Pap
smear in the last three years?
60.2 39.8
Table 3: Knowledge of cervical cancer
Variable Partcipants who
answered incorrectly (%)
Do you think that being hit in your
lower abdomen can cause cervical
cancer?
68.7
Do you think that most women
diagnosed with cervical cancer die
from the disease?
82.5
Do you think that multple abortons
can cause cervical cancer?
72.8
Do you think that having a high
number of sexual partners increases
your risk of cervical cancer?
76.8
Do you think that women who smoke
are more likely to develop cervical
cancer than non-smokers?
77.6
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 85
A total of 51.1% of the people who responded “yes” to
having known about HPV earned more than $15,000
annually, and only 26.8% of the people who responded
“no” earned more than $15,000, which is well below
Florida’s median family income.
[16]
Many of the women
(47.9%) who did not know about HPV were monolingual
Creole speakers, compared with just 14.8% of the
women who claimed to have heard of HPV. When the
respondents were asked if they had ever had a Pap
smear, almost one quarter (24.0%) of the sample that
was not aware of HPV responded “no”. Only 11.1% of
those, who were aware of HPV, had not had a Pap test.
Out of the women from the study sample who had not
heard of HPV, 56.3% had been tested within the past
three years, compared with 74.1% that had previously
heard of HPV.
Discussion
Haitian American women living in Little Haiti, Miami,
Florida, have an increased risk of developing and
dying of cervical cancer. One reason that may account
for this is the fact that many women living in Little Haiti
may not be screened for cervical cancer as often
as recommended by the national guidelines. The
purpose of this study was to examine the knowledge
of cervical cancer and HPV among Haitian women
residing in Little Haiti. Our results suggest that a
large portion of women who participated in the
study are monolingual Haitian Creole speakers,
have limited formal education, and are economically
disadvantaged. Most of the women in the sample also
falsely believed, perhaps influenced by their cultural
and traditional backgrounds, that physical trauma
may lead to diseases such as cervical cancer. Results
from the study also indicate that many Haitian women
residing in Little Haiti have limited knowledge of Pap
smears, HPV, and cervical cancer. These linguistic,
economic, social, and cultural barriers may make it
more difficult for Haitian women living in Little Haiti to
access or understand health related information about
cervical cancer risk factors and disease prevention.
This research was limited to the area of Little Haiti,
thus the size of the sample was relatively small (246
participants) considering that Little Haiti is home to
the largest population of Haitian immigrants in the
United States. The majority of respondents had never
heard of HPV, so only 22.0% were able to answer the
remainder of questions on the survey concerning
HPV. However, despite these limitations, study results
clearly show that the majority of Haitian women in
our sample had limited or incorrect knowledge about
HPV and cervical cancer. There were also significant
socioeconomic differences among those women who
had not heard of HPV and those that had.
Findings from this study may encourage community-
based interventions to increase knowledge about HPV
and cervical cancer in Little Haiti, and other similar
immigrant communities trying to tackle the problem.
This knowledge may encourage women to take
preventative action, including participating in routine
screenings for cervical cancer, and ultimately reduce
the number of women who die from this disease.
References
1. ‘Cervical Cancer: Prevention and Early Detection’, 2009,
American Cancer Society. Available from: http://www.cancer.
Table 4: Knowledge of human papillomavirus (HPV)
Variable Partcipants who
answered incorrectly (%)
Do you think HPV causes
cervical cancer?
81.7
Do you think that HPV is a
sexually transmited disease?
81.3
Do you think that HPV can
cause abnormal Pap smears?
83.7
Table 5: Diferences among Haitan women who reported having
heard of human papillomavirus (HPV) and those who had not
Heard of HPV Yes (Total 54)
Partcipants (%)
No (Total 192)
Partcipants (%)
Age
18-25
26 and older
9 (16.7)
45 (83.3)
6 (3.1)
186 (96.9)
Born in the United States
No
Yes
50 (92.6)
4 (7.4)
189 (98.4)
3 (1.6)
Years Lived in the United
States
Five years or less
More than fve years
7 (13)
4 (87)
54 (28.1)
138 (71.9)
Educaton
Less than high school
graduate
High school graduate
and above
14 (25.9)
40 (74.1)
107 (55.7)
85 (44.3)
Income
$15,000 or less
More than $15,000
22 (48.9)
23 (51.1)
101 (73.2)
37 (26.8)
Language-Monolingual
Creole speaker
No
Yes
46 (85.2)
8 (14.8)
100 (52.1)
92 (47.9)
Screening ever had a Pap
smear
No
Yes
6 (11.1)
48 (88.9)
46 (24)
146 (76)
Pap smear within the
past three years
No
Yes
14 (25.9)
40 (74.1)
84 (43.8)
108 (56.3)
86 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
org/docroot/PED/content/PED_2_3X_Pap_Test.asp+best+meth
od+for+early+detection+of+cervical+cancer cd=3 and hl=en
and ct=clnk gl=us. [Last cited on 2011 Nov 10].
2. Williams DR. Racial/ethnic variations in women’s health:
The social embeddedness of health. Am J Public Health
2002;92:588-97.
3. Blanco J, Kobetz E, Barbee L, Ashlock B, Jacques M, August PD,
et al. Knowledge about HPV and Cervical Cancer in Little Haiti,
Miami, FL. Poster presented at University of Miami, Institute of
Women’s Health Research Day.
4. Stark A, Gregoire L, Pilarski R, Zarbo A, Gaba A, Lancaster
WD. Human papillomavirus, cervical cancer, and women’s
knowledge. Cancer Detect Prev 2008;32:15-22.
5. Pap Test. Women’s Health. Jan. 2009. US Department of Health
and Human Services. Available from: http://www.womenshealth.
gov/faq/pap-test.cfm. [Last cited on 2011 Nov 10].
6. Kobetz E, Menard J, Barton B, Pierre L, Diem J, Auguste PD. Patnè
en Aksyon: Addressing cancer disparities in Little Haiti through
research and social action. Am J Public Health 2009;99:1163-5.
7. Fruchter RG, Remy JC, Burnett WS, Boyce JG. Cervical cancer in
immigrant Caribbean women. Am J Public Health 1986;76:797-9.
8. Cruz-Taura A, LeVeen Farr J. Miami, FL: The Little Haiti
Neighbourhood. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Available
from: http://www.frbsf.org/cpreport/docs/miami_fl.pdf. [Last
cited on 2011 Nov 10].
9. Glanz K, Rimer BK, Viswanath K. Health Behavior and Health
Education: Theory, Research, and Practice. San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass; 2002.
10. About Community Based Participatory Research, 2009.
Academic Autistic Spectrum Partnership in Research and
Education. Available from: http://aaspireproject.org/about/cbpr.
html. [Last cited on 2011 Nov 10].
11. Community-Based Participatory Research, 2009. Community-
campus Partnerships for Health. Available from: http://depts.
washington.edu/ccph/commbas.html. [Last cited on 2011
Nov 10].
12. SPSS Press Releases, 2009. SPSS Inc. Available from: http://www.
spss.com/press/template_view.cfm?PR_ID = 1048. [Last cited
on 2011 Nov 10].
13. ‘Can Cervical Cancer Be Prevented?’ Cancer Reference
Information, 2009. American Cancer Society. Available from:
http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_2X_Can_
cervical_cancer_be_prevented_8.asp?sitearea=. [Last cited on
2011 Nov 10].
14. Green EH, Freund KM, Posner MA, David MM. Pap smear rates
among Haitian immigrant women in eastern Massachusetts.
Public Health Rep 2005;120:133-9.
15. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health
Promotion: Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System, Atlanta,
GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2008.
16. Median Family Income in the Past 12 Months by Family Size,
2008. U.S. Census Bureau. Available from: http://www.census.
gov/hhes/www/income/medincsizeandstate.html. [Last cited
on 2011 Nov 10].
About the Author
Paula-Suzanne Lapciuc and Nadia Willy attend Ransom Everglades School and Miami Northwestern Senior High
respectively. Both enjoy taking part in their school’s sports teams and actively read around their chosen subjects. In the
summer of 2009, Paula Suzanne and Nadia were interns at the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Miami,
where they conducted research on cervical cancer.
Paula-Suzanne Lapciuc is 19 years old, she was born and raised in Miami, Florida, but currently lives in New York
City and attends Columbia University. Throughout her life, she has had a passion and excitement for learning about
different cultures and exploring public health effects among various communities. At 16, she went to Tanzania and lived
amongst an impoverished community in the outskirts of Arusha. The atrocious health conditions left her with a desire
to help those in distress. The next year she interned in the University of Miami’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute at
the Department of Epidemiology. Under Dr. Erin Kobetz and her team, she studied and observed the effect of cervical
cancer among the Haitian women in the community. These experiences have led her to pursue a major in epidemiology
and human nutrition.
Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10 87
Author Index, 2011
Bak M. A dual nature of light 73
Bonilla G. Noctilucent clouds or polar
mesospheric clouds 13
Burden K. Melanomas and their effect on
the grey horse 75
Clark S. Water as an alternative fuel 30
Dunn K see Goldsmith W et al
Faure J. Can space-based solar power
save the climate? 20
Flores PB. Editorial 1
Flores PB. Editorial 43
Gearing S see Goldsmith W et al
Goldsmith W, Gearing S, Dunn K, Harvey G,
Swire C. Engineers' advice to students 38
Greaves E. From hominids to humans: An
overview of the evolution of man 46
Harvey G see Goldsmith W et al
Hilton N. Climate change: Our choice 7
Jakpor O. Do artificial nails and nail polish
interfere with the accurate measurement of
oxygen saturation by pulse oximetry? 33
Jenkinson F. A review of 10 of the best Origin
of Life books 65
Lapciuc P, Willy N. Knowledge of HPV and
cervical cancer among women in Little Haiti 82
Loyn C. Can nuclear power save the climate? 16
Lui K. Can "terra preta" be used to combat
climate change? 24
Mahapatra A, Nanda R. Bio-diesel and Bio-gas:
Alternatives of the present 4
Martínez LC. Interview with Dr. Gabriela Olmedo 71
Martínez LC. Interview with Dr. Luis Delaye 68
Maybee B. The role of supernovae in the
origins of life 56
Nanda R see Mahapatra A et al
Pavlova A. Are we alone after all? 48
Robertson N. Harnessing the power of
radioactivity 10
Swire C see Goldsmith W et al
Swire C. Editorial 2
Swire C. Editorial 44
Swire C. The Endosymbiotic Theory 61
Swire C. The life-cycle of stars 52
Todd H. Top ten easy-read books on climate
change 28
Willy N see Lapciuc P et al
88 Young Scientists Journal | 2011 | Issue 10
Title Index, 2011
A dual nature of light 73
A review of 10 of the best Origin of Life books 65
Are we alone after all? 48
Bio-diesel and Bio-gas: Alternatives of the
present 4
Can "terra preta" be used to combat climate
change? 24
Can nuclear power save the climate? 16
Can space-based solar power save the
climate? 20
Climate change: Our choice 7
Do artificial nails and nail polish interfere with
the accurate measurement of oxygen
saturation by pulse oximetry? 33
Editorial 1, 2, 43, 44
Engineers' advice to students 38
From hominids to humans: An overview
of the evolution of man 46
Harnessing the power of radioactivity 10
Interview with Dr. Gabriela Olmedo 71
Interview with Dr. Luis Delaye 68
Knowledge of HPV and cervical cancer among
women in Little Haiti 82
Melanomas and their effect on the grey horse 75
Noctilucent clouds or polar mesospheric clouds 13
The Endosymbiotic Theory 61
The life-cycle of stars 52
The role of supernovae in the origins of life 56
Top ten easy-read books on climate change 28
Water as an alternative fuel 30
Young Scientist Journeys
Editors: Paul Soderberg and Christina Astin
This book is the first book of The Butrous foundation’s Journeys Trilogy. Young scientists of the past
talk to today’s young scientists about the future. The authors
were members of the Student Science Society in high school in
Thailand in the 1960s, and now, near their own 60s, they
share the most important things they learned about science
specifically and life generally during their own young scientist
journeys in the years since they published The SSS Bulletin, a
scientific journal for the International School Bangkok.
Reading this first book is a journey, that starts on this page
and ends on the last one, having taken you, Young Scientist, to
hundreds of amazing “places,” like nanotechnology, Song
Dynasty China, machines the length of football fields, and
orchids that detest wasps.
But the best reason to
take the journey through
these pages is that this
book will help you
prepare for all your other journeys. Some of these will be
physical ones, from place to place, such as to scientific
conferences. Others will be professional journeys, like from
Botany to Astrobiology, or from lab intern to assistant to
researcher to lab director. But the main ones, the most exciting
of all your journeys, will be into the Great Unknown. That is
where all the undiscovered elements are, as well as all other
inhabited planets and every new species, plus incredible things
like communication with dolphins in their own language, and
technological innovations that will make today’s cutting-edge
marvels seem like blunt Stone Age implements.
For further information please write to info@butrousfoundation.com
The Butrous Foundation, which is
dedicated to empowering today the
scientists of tomorrow. This
foundation already publishes Young
Scientists Journal, the world’s first and
only scientific journal of, by, and for,
all the world’s youngsters (aged 12-
20) who want to have science careers
or want to use science in other
careers. 100% of proceeds from sales
of The Journeys Trilogy will go to the
Foundation to help it continue to
fulfill its mission to empower
youngsters everywhere.
Book Details:
Title: Young Scientist Journeys
Editors: Paul Soderberg and Christina Astin
Paperback: 332 pages
Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches, Weight: 345 grams
Publisher: The Butrous Foundation (September 26, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0956644007
ISBN-13: 978-0956644008
Website: http://www.ysjourneys.com/
Retailer price: £12.45 / $19.95

The Butrous Foundation Journeys
Trilogy
Thirty-one years ago, Sir Peter Medawar
wrote Advice to a Young Scientist, a
wonderful book directed to university
students. The Butrous Foundation’s
J ourneys Trilogy is particularly for those
aged 12 to 20 who are inspired to have
careers in science or to use the path of
science in other careers. The three volumes
are particularly for those aged 12 to 20 who
are inspired to have careers in science or to
use the path of science in other careers. It is
to “mentor in print” these young people that
we undertook the creation and publication of
this trilogy.
Young Scientist Journeys (Volume 1)
This book
My Science Roadmaps (Volume 2)
The findings of journeys into key science
issues, this volume is a veritable treasure
map of “clues” that lead a young scientist to
a successful and fulfilling career, presented
within the context of the wisdom of the great
gurus and teachers of the past in Asia,
Europe, Africa, and the Americas.
Great Science Journeys (Volume 3)
An elite gathering of well-known scientists
reflect on their own journeys that resulted
not only in personal success but also in the
enrichment of humanity, including Akira
Endo, whose discovery as a young scientist
of statins has saved countless millions of
lives.
Table of Contents:
Introduction: The Journeys Trilogy, Ghazwan Butrous . . . 11
Chapter 1. Science is All Around You, Phil Reeves . . . 17
Chapter 2. The Beauty of Science, and The Young Scientists Journal,
Christina Astin . . . 19
Chapter 3. The Long Journey to This Book, Paul Soderberg . . . 25
Chapter 4. Dare to Imagine and Imagine to Dare, Lee Riley . . . 43
Chapter 5. How the Science Club Helped Me Become a Human Being,
Andy Bernay-Roman . . . 55
Chapter 6. Your Journey and the Future, Paul Soderberg . . . 63
Chapter 7. Engineering as a Ministry, Vince Bennett . . . 83
Chapter 8. Cold Facts, Warm Hearts: Saving Lives With Science,
Dee Woodhull . . . 99
Chapter 9. My Journeys in Search of Freedom, Mike Bennett . . . 107
Chapter 10. Insects and Artworks and Mr. Reeves, Ann Ladd Ferencz . . .
121
Chapter 11. Window to Endless Fascination, Doorway to Experience for
Life:
the Science Club, Kim Pao Yu . . . 129
Chapter 12. Life is Like Butterflies and Stars, Corky Valenti . . . 135
Chapter 13. Tend to Your Root, Walteen Grady Truely . . . 143
Chapter 14. Lessons from Tadpoles and Poinsettias, Susan Norlander . . .
149
Chapter 15. It’s All About Systems—and People, J. Glenn Morris . . . 157
Chapter 16. A Journey of a Thousand Miles, Kwon Ping Ho . . . 165
Chapter 17. The Two Keys to Making a Better World: How-Do and Can-Do,
Tony Grady . . . 185
Chapter 18. Becoming a Scientist Through the Secrets of Plants, Ellen
(Jones) Maxon . . . 195
Chapter 19. The Essence of Excellence in Everything (and the Secret of
Life), Jameela Lanza . . . 203
Chapter 20. The Families of a Scientist, Eva Raphaël . . . 211
Appendix: Lists of Articles by Young Scientists, Past and Present . . . 229
The SSS Bulletin, 1966-1970 . . . 230-237
The Young Scientists Journal, 2008-present . . . 237-241
Acknowledgements . . . 243
The Other Two Titles in the Journeys Trilogy . . . 247
Contents of Volume 2 . . . 249
Excerpt from Volume 3: A Great Scientist . . . 251
Index . . . 273
Editors
Christina Astin and Paul Soderberg

The Butrous Foundation
The foundation aims to motivate young people to pursue scientific
careers by enhancing scientific creativity and communication skills.
It aims to provide a platform for young people all over the world
(ages 12-20 years) to participate in scientific advancements and to
encourage them to express their ideas freely and creatively.
The Butrous Foundation
Butrous Foundation
The Butrous Foundation is a private foundation established in
2006. The current interest of the foundation is to fund activities
that serve its mission.
The Mission
The foundation aims to motivate young people to pursue
scientific careers by enhancing scientific creativity and
communication skills. It aims to provide a platform for young
people all over the world (ages 12-20 years) to participate in
scientific advancements and to encourage them to express their
ideas freely and creatively.
Thematic approaches to achieve the foundation mission:
1. To enhance communication and friendship between young
people all over the world and to help each other with their
scientific interests.
2. To promote the ideals of co-operation and the interchange of
knowledge and ideas.
3. To enhance the application of science and its role in global
society and culture.
4. To help young people make links with scientists in order to
take advantage of global knowledge, and participate in the
advancement of science.
5. To encourage young people to show their creativity, inspire
them to reach their full potential and to be role models for the
next generation.
6. To encourage the discipline of good science where open minds
and respect to other ideas dominate.
7. To help global society to value the contributions of young
people and enable them to reach their full potential.
Visit Young Scientists journal www.ysjournal.com
The Butrous Foundation
The foundation aims to motivate young people to pursue scientifc careers
by enhancing scientifc creativity and communication skills. It aims to pro-
vide a platform for young people all over the world (ages 12-20 years) to
participate in scientifc advancements and to encourage them to express
their ideas freely and creatively.
The Butrous Foundation
The Butrous Foundation is a private foundation established in 2006.
The current interest of the foundation is to fund activities that serve
its mission.
The Mission
The foundation aims to motivate young people to pursue scientifc
careers by enhancing scientifc creativity and communication skills.
It aims to provide a platform for young people all over the world
(ages 12-20 years) to participate in scientifc advancements and to
encourage them to express their ideas freely and creatively.
Thematic approaches to achieve the foundation mission:
1. To enhance communication and friendship between young people
all over the world and to help each other with their scientifc
interests.
2. To promote the ideals of co-operation and the interchange of
knowledge and ideas.
3. To enhance the application of science and its role in global so-
ciety and culture.
4. To help young people make links with scientists in order to take
advantage of global knowledge, and participate in the advance-
ment of science.
5. To encourage young people to show their creativity, inspire them
to reach their full potential and to be role models for the next
generation.
6. To encourage the discipline of good science where open minds
and respect to other ideas dominate.
7. To help global society to value the contributions of young
people and enable them to reach their full potential,
visit Young Scientists journal www.ysjournal.com