Valencia High School hosted presentations from honors nanoscience students Friday, a showcase for experiments and ideas, such as a project mitigating pollution from plastics and a bracelet that can tell people if their drink is spiked.
The event included parents, students, collegiate professionals from UCLA and business professionals from Lockheed Martin, Hitachi and Santa Clarita Environmental Education Consortium, asking the nanoscience presenters questions about their various inventions and experiments.
“Students have been working all semester in research groups, and so topics range to really anything as long as it has a connection to a real-world problem,” said Daniella Duran, the honors nanoscience and chemistry teacher at VHS. “They had to do a small market analysis to see what’s the value of the market… and so it is a science class, but it’s also looking at the connections and how things work in the real world.
Duran added the projects aren’t only reflective of what the students have learned in terms of nanoscience, but also demonstrate their knowledge and development of innovation and business acumen.
“A big part of it is also design, which is why I encouraged kids to use 3D printing, computer science and this year, in particular, we had three or three groups that used 3D printing and then integrated an app into their concept,” said Duran. “They built the app.”
One such experiment, the “Drug Detection Nitinol Bracelets with Nanosensors,” was developed by Valencia High School students Brooke Linow, Madison Linow and Becca Suen. According to their poster, one in five women and one in 71 men will experience sexual assault in their lives, and their bracelet uses a combination of chemical reactions, electronic signals and an app to test and inform people on whether date rape drugs are present in their drink.
Another project, created by Cody Aung, Andre Baghdassarian, Noah Besina and Makayla Vicente, uses a malleable liquid to create a more efficient, thinner cellphone case than current popular brands, such as OtterBox or Lifeproof.
“Nanoscience is understanding how to use materials, and things that happen at the nanoscale, which is 1 to 100 nanometers, to solve problems,” said Duran. “It could be a chemical solution, it could be a physical solution, a design solution; whatever uses science and technology to help push forward the world we live in today.”
In total, 55 VHS junior and senior students participated in the expo, and 18 projects were displayed for viewing and critique.
“Most colleges don’t have a nanoscience class for undergrads, and the reason this class exists is because I do some work with UCLA,” Duran said. “It’s more about learning how to utilize science concepts and they’re not just sitting there with a textbook.”