YES! I know this was long overdue.
But you know how work suddenly comes up when things approaches towards the end? Well that’s whats been happening ><
Been reading different research papers to answer questions I had for the results of my experiment (for example, why did a leaky gene expression occurred with my E. coli). But every time I think I found the answer to it, more questions were raised, and this cycle was being repeated over and over and over…
Least now I THINK I found my answer, although I’m not 100% sure.
Now I need to present my findings to the head of the Institute for System Dynamics, Prof. Dr.-Ing. O. Sawodny. (Panicking right now!)
So, you might be wondering what have I been up to for the past 3 weeks.
Well, its interesting. Went to the Institute of Aerodynamics and Gas, and saw this:
If memories serves me right, it’s dimension are 4m internal diameter, 25m in length, and weights a couple of tons. What’s the purpose of this? Well, to test objects to see their aerodynamics (Yea Fluid Mechanics!).
To start the whole system, they would pump one side to a couple of bars of pressure, before they quick release the barrier to start the fluid flow. Anything they use to be tested with would have to be made of steel, cause anything else would be destroyed from the first initial shock of the wave. ALSO, apparently this whole things would move a couple of cm on both sides as air flow from one side to the other (scary!). I mean, how would you react if something that weights a couple of tons. Whats funny is that every time the people here have to use the machine, they would have to call the police before hand.
NEXT, went to the University of Stuttgart’s Automotive Testing Facility, where I saw this thing:
A huge scale car testing facility, where yes they can actually fit a full scale car inside the thing. Apparently this was only made 2 years ago, and it’s relatively new.
Well, what I have been up to during the weekends? Nothing actually. Need to save up money for my Italy London trip, and it’s happening in 3 days time! can’t wait for it!
I don’t know what else to talk to you guys about.
Well, how about I show y’all something I things I used for new experiment since I couldn’t conduct my chemostat experiment:
Argh! Such a cool looking machine! Too bad I couldn’t use it this summer. So because of this, I did another experiment, to see what would be the highest growth rate of my E. coli after it reached an evolutionary end point, given a certain environment.
In order to do this, I had to sterilize my standard solutions. This was done by filtrating it in a 2L flask that has been sterilized already.
Afterwards, I grew my E. coli like normal. After a certain period of time, I would take a sample of the medium and grow it on agar plates, to see if what I have in my medium is actually E. coli. It’s pretty interesting how this test works.
Well, that’s it for now!
So, I got a chance to visit one of University of Stuttgart’s highlights, which is high performance computing (HLRS)!
So before that, I would like you to meet Cray:
Cray is a supercomputer. He eats 1MW of electricity every year, and has 7.2 petabyte of memory.
What does Cray do for a living? Well, he just sits around and does computation everyday at very fast speed mostly. On special occasions, he would generate images in the “room”. What is the room? Well, its a super cool virtual reality system!
It was very cool, cause I was visiting the Porsche Museum virtually, the space station orbiting around the earth, driving a car with REAL Porsche parts, and looking into a coal plant and see how molecules in it react, interact, and flow through the whole burner system!
It was very interesting how my body reacted to the things I saw. When I jumped out form the first floor of the museum (NO! I was NOT doing this on purpose), my whole body actually reacted as if I was jumping from the first floor of a building. And it was funny how when I was driving a car and there is a traffic jam, with a push of one button it could make it all go away (why doesn’t this exist real life grrrr).
On an additional note, I visited another institute (Institute of Space Design), where I virtually piloted a real model size of a spacecraft! So cool! (Yes, I safely docked with the other spacecrafts)
Also, I visited Salzburg (Austria) and München (Germany) recently.
Here are pictures of a church in Salzburg (I forgot it’s name):
I was in awe with the amount of detail/artwork on the ceiling of this church. It’s really beautiful!
And hey look! Another Castle! And what’s interesting was that this one is over 900 years old!
Now Now, Research time!
Nothing much to update. right now writing my report and doing more computation with my mathematical module simulation. It’s pretty interesting to learn Mathematica on the spot while doing these computations involving phase plane plot.
Hopefully my supervisor approves it so we can proceed onto the next phase of the experiment, which involves a mini bio-reactor.
Well, that’s it for now!
Well, here is that Plant Pavilion Project I was talking about from my last post, enjoy!
Finally! Part 2 of my Adventures!
Well Civil engineers, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for, time to show you Project “Plant-Tree-Cube Nagold”!
This project was initiated to create “the biggest baubotanical building so far and the first one that is designed specifically for an urban context” (quoting from their website). Suitable trees were examined extensively before they were finally selected for this 20 year growth project.
These specific trees were selected due to two reasons:
It’s pretty cool, although this process itself of merging took 6 months or so. I should come back 20 years to see the fruition of this work. For Civil Engineers, if you are interested in this project, here is the link to it:
(Now, if I were to theoretically shove a metal pole in there as the main supporting column, what would be the force exerted onto the tree? If you don’t know what I mean by “shoving a metal pole in it”, look at the video link after this post!)
Looking at all these trees reminds me of the trip in Black Forest. While hiking there, I saw so many trees toppled over like this:
Oh, here are some more photos of the Freiburg Minster! They are the 3D world picture, so you get a sense as to how big inside is (yes, I’m aware you might be seeing ghost in that picture, but I assure you, they are not ghosts!)
Oh right! Few days ago, I saw a live performance from the German Symphony Orchestra and Swedish Symphony Orchestra! It was pretty amusing, cause 1/2 way during the performance, as part of a live act, the conductor popped open a beer. Why can’t Canada do that grrrr
Well, there isn’t anything much to talk about, other than that my Environmental Consulting Report I had to write for my Environmental Chemistry class became useful!
HPLC, concentration required to detect the compounds, and the amount of time it took to analyze one sample with 200x dilution rate.
This isn’t actually my lab’s HPLC machine, but it’s something similar. I had 18 Samples in total to test, to which each test took 40min. Good thing the machine was automated so I can leave it overnight to run!
Well, that’s it for now!
Time for Part 1.5 of my Adventure!
(Due to time constraints of today, I can’t write as much)
So to continue where I left off with the picture last time, well its a really really big church! (Apparently biggest around this area). Whats weird is that the church’s symbol (below) is also the Chinese symbol for big 大.
It’s really pretty on the outside, with the design and everything. Also, we had an architectural student joining us who was explaining some of the designs of the church (I think there’s some Gothic Revival in it?)
Anyways, here are some pictures of the church itself:
That’s it for today, but stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog!
In the meantime, let me show you a picture for what I would talk about tomorrow! (The Civil engineers would be interested in this!)
Oh, two weeks of adventure packed with excitement and amazement!
Oh right, before I start this will be a 2 part post (expect the next one tomorrow!)
So, where to start…well lets start off with my most recent adventure at Freiburg now shall we!
Spent a weekend there to explore the city (absolutely beautiful) and camped around there. I’m not sure if you ever had Black Forest Cake from the bakery stores (in my case, I had it a lot when I was a child from the Chinese bakery), but after all these years, what I found surprising is that that cake originated from here in Germany!
It tasted so good! Soft, light cream with a hint of rum liquor, with a smooth chocolate cake that is not too sweet. Furthermore, inside the cake is cherry soaked with a bit of liquor. Finally, to top it off, sprinkle a bit of chocolate shavings on top of it and you have one yummy cake!
But one might ask, why is this called the “Black Forest Cake”? Well, around this area where I was camping at is a forest known as the Black Forest. Why is it called the Black Forest? Well, from what I’ve experience thus far while camping/hiking there, the trees in this forest is darker than normal, hence the “Black Forest”.
Furthermore within this area, they built a really tall structure on top a hill that is 30m high.
Why did they do that? From what I’m understanding, this location served as a strategic point in communication to surrounding cities. Amazingly, it was so high that I could see France from here.
Well, I don’t have a picture of France to show you, but how about I share a picture of all of Freiburg with you!
Now, this picture here, I’m saving the story/adventure for the second part of my post!
NOW, RESEARCH INFORMATION TIME!
So, my experiment was a success! And for the first time in my life, a successful experiment never smelled so good and vanilla-like in my life!
So, this is my beakers before my experiment. And NOW, observe what happens 24hrs later:
You see how cloudy the liquid turned? Well, my genetically modified bacteria successfully converted ferulic acid into vanallin!
Being able to experience the success of my experiment first hand was AMAZING and EXCITING!
Well, expect Part 2 of my adventures tomorrow!
I felt fortunate last week because I got a rare chance of seeing how a German Engineering Company is run. In their talk, they mentioned about the structure of their company and their ideology. Furthermore, got a chance at looking into their research and development sector along with their manufacturing line!
The company’s name is BURKERT, and they manufacturer a lot of different kinds of valves and control system to measure and control fluid flow. Ahahahha I want to work for them now!!! Such an interesting company to work for!
How you might ask I got this chance of seeing this company in action?
Well, I had to give a presentation for them regarding my research.
APPARENTLY I would make a good Salesman one day from the feedback I received from the company executives (because throughout my presentation, I made it very amusing). I found this very funny.
After this unique opportunity, I went to Bodensee with the other SUPER students. There was a huge lake there and who could resist the temptation of renting out this baby:
YES!!! ITS A FARRARI! This is a car was designed to travel on water with a top speed of 1m/s. Land Speed Testing hasn’t been conducted yet.
We wanted to rent out the police car, but the rudders didn’t work! But whats funny later is that while paddling on the lake, we found a watermelon floating around on the water. Pretty funny when we saw it there.
Now, updates on my research!
I remember having conversations with master students in UofT where they mentioned “sometimes the experiments work, sometimes they don’t work”. Well, in my case this week, majority of the experiments I’ve conduced that week didn’t work properly grrr…
I guess its back to the drawing boards in repeating this specific experiment…
But I learned how to grow my beautiful E.Coli strain!
Yes I’m burning the metal hook thing till it turns cherry red, such that it becomes sterile (It was very fun doing this, YOU SEE THAT FLAME). Afterwards, I transfer my bacterias from a petri dish into a flask containing “food” for my E.Coli to grow.
That’s it for now everyone!
Nope, this isn’t another castle post, but more information about my research!
As you may know, vanilla can be produced two ways:
Why vanilla you might ask? Well, the Germans really like their bread with vanilla freshness in it!
Although both techniques will lead to the formation of Vanillin (which is what we want), utilizing chemical reactions for the production of this might yield unwanted/harmful chemicals that we do not want.
Hence, this is why the area I’m researching is interesting. This is because by utilizing bacteria in the formation of Vanillin, it is considered as a natural production of vanilla extract. Hopefully, this would reduce the overall cost of natural vanilla extract.
What can I say?
I see a castle here, castle there, I see castles everywhere!
The rich people of Germany in the past really likes their castle built on places that’s hard to get to by foot.
Here you see the Hohenzollern Castle. The place is absolutely fantastic, because this castle is on top of a hill, so you get a great view of the surrounding area.
Although, the walk up there wasn’t fun because the slope of the hill was pretty steep (I would say a 30 degrees incline?).
This castle is in a forest, and broken down into 3 parts. I was taking a ferry to the next location (Heidelberg), where guess what, they had another castle!
What I found interesting about Heidelberg is the history of their University. Back in 1900’s, the cool students went and stayed in a university jail for fun (yes! they had a university jail! the reason was that the university needed to control people who drank too much beer, or needed to punish people who are out of control. I guess it backfired.). I went to that student jail, and took an interesting 3D panning view of what I saw:
Well that’s it for now!
(Update: It appears that Tumblr resized my pictures, therefore I uploaded a Google Drive link of the photos, Enjoy!)
Absolutely wonderful (and interesting)!
The second day I got here, my friend and I got lost in a middle of a major city in search for food. It was really beautiful, with lots of statues attached onto the buildings. I’m not sure if the phone you have has this, but here is a 360 panning of what I saw:
Lets talk about my experiment shall we!
It’s really interesting, cause the purpose of the E.Coli that I am currently handling right now is to mass produce vanilla.
As you can see, due to the nature of the experiment, I have to work in a sterile environment while collecting samples to test.
Well that’s it for now!
My name is Man Wui (Kenny) Wong, a 2nd Year Chemical Engineering Student in University of Toronto participating in summer research abroad in University of Stuttgart, Germany!
For this research, I will be doing evolutionary experiments which involves mutating Escherichia coli. and predicting how that mutation makes it better or worse in certain environmental conditions.