Carissa Liew


I am interested in designing structures and learning what are the different ways to build a stable structure. This project can also helps real problems that are faced in the real world.

I want to know the physics behind the structure of buildings and also to understand how I can apply what I learn in school to actual problems/ projects.

What are the laws and concepts behind constructions and what is the significance of math and science behind this concepts.

I want to have the basic knowledge about construction and learn how to apply it in real life.


My key learning points from each plenary sessions
1. From the first plenary session, the professor talked about his experience in the research in Sumatra.
  • I learnt about how the professor was able understand the earthquake history of a selected location. One of the methods is to study the layers of the soil. When an earthquake near a coastline happens, a tsunami will occur, hence carrying sand onto the land. This sand will have different properties from normal soil, hence the professor will be able to observe when earthquakes happened. Another way is to measuring the uplift and subsidence of oceans. This can be seen when islands slowly submerge in the sea but suddenly the land will rise. The professor also used dead corals to measure the uplift and subsidence. The lowness of the low tide can be seen by the height of the coral. Hence depending of the height of the coral we are able to determine when a earthquake will be coming.
  • There are visible patterns in the earthquakes. (bangbangsilence, bangbangsilence, bangbangsilence, then BANG) The professor studies these earthquake patterns to try to predict when the next earthquake would happen and where it would happen.
  • The professor also emphasized that we will never know what we will be when we grow up so I think we must be more flexible with our life.
2. In the second session, the professor gave a talk on Information Technology. We were introduced to animation and mathematics that can be applied in information technology. 
  • I learnt that in making movies, mathematics plays a big role. In making shapes and different figures, linear algebra and geometry (point, lines, surface and solids) are involved. In creating special effects, calculus helps to light up a scene while the law of physics can help in animating the dynamics of fire, water and fabric movement. Different formulas are used to create different lighting effects.
  • I also learnt from the professor that animation is not an easy process and it takes a lot of time and effort and also it is sometimes very expensive. Animation is currently not established in Singapore and 2D hand drawn animation is not available in Singapore.
3. For the last session, the professor introduced us to Nano-Science and Nano-Technology and the different breakthroughs and highlights of Nano-Science.
  • There are materials with ten times the strength of steel and only a fraction of the weight. Carbon-nano-technology has made that possible. The dream of shrinking all the information housed at the library of congress into the size of a sugar cube is slowly coming true. Micro chips are getting smaller and smaller. Other than these, there are many other achievements of nano-science and technology. 
  • I leant the advancement of nano-technology and science and how it is improving our daily lives and making it more convenient. 
New questions that I have about the topic are...
How accurate are the readings of the earthquakes and how are researches around the world working on making these readings more accurate?
Are we trying too hard to make changes to this world and making some changes that are not meant to be done?


1. Through the project, I understood more about the physics and math (geometrical shapes) behind building different structures. I also learnt that the precision and accuracy of different members of a structure is important to achieve symmetry. Symmetry is important for the structure to be stable and strong.
2. After going through the project, I understand more about bending and buckling. This are the main two failures that may happen to a structure.
3. In ADMT we will be learning about architecture. I will be able to use this extra information while designing new structures. I also learnt more about geometrical shapes, hence now I understand more about shapes like triangles and hexagons.
4. This project has challenged me to be more creative and think out of the box when thinking of solutions. Therefore when I am faced with daily problems or school project works, I will challenge myself to think out of the box.
5. In what way will the process of designing and building a structure be different if the structure was on a bigger scale? 
6. This project gave me an insight of what being an engineer feels like. It has interest me a little and I hope to have more opportunities like this in the future.

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