IN THIS ISSUE
Seniors put their hearts into individualized projects
The Parents Newsletter is published three times a year by the Academy Communications Office. Comments may be addressed to the Principal's Office or to Janice Reiter, editor.
The Star in the Jar & Other Senior Projects
Stephen Dennis investigated sonoluminescence, or the production of light
using sound waves in water,
Director of Studies Stephen Kushner, who coordinates the program, says that senior projects "provide an opportunity for students to design a component of their own education." The project application process is thorough, requiring a detailed proposal (including a timetable for completion), permission of the student's adviser and approval of the faculty. Projects that demand the same kind of preparation, evaluation, support and supervision as the classes they replace--and promise the educational results that traditional instruction provides--are approved by the faculty, he says.
Physics instructor Jim DiCarlo has advised numerous seniors with their projects over the past few years. This winter, he worked with Stephen Dennis to investigate sonoluminescence, or the production of light using sound waves in water. Carrying out the experiment made both student and adviser feel they were doing "real science," says DiCarlo.
Dennis credits his adviser's curiosity and knowledge as the inspiration for the project. "Mr. DiCarlo brought it to me," he says. "I was intrigued and thought I could use what I had learned in physics, especially my electronics course, to learn more about this phenomenon, which scientists have still not adequately explained." Dennis built the circuitry and hardware needed to produce and amplify a tunable sound wave loud enough to resonate and create a glowing bubble of air within a flask of water. While he worked daily in the open lab at Phelps Science Center, DiCarlo was nearby to explain what was going on in the experiment as it was occurring.